Pictured above: “Here am I, send me!” On May 27, 2022, 26 men graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS), Mequon, Wis., and began their pastoral ministries.
WLS prepares men to begin pastoral ministry by providing them with spiritual, theological, and professional training. Students attend classes for two years, serve as full-time vicars during their third year, and then attend classes and write a thesis in their fourth year. Throughout their time at the seminary, students receive opportunities to serve in a variety of ministries and to experience other cultures to help prepare them for their future calls.
The seminary also provides pastors with opportunities for continued growth in all their callings through its institute, Grow in Grace. Grow in Grace offers continuing education courses, a mentoring initiative for new graduates, a clearinghouse of resources for pastors, and an annual retreat for pastors who are celebrating milestones in their ministries.
For more information, visit wls.wels.net.
Vicaring in Toronto
Jeremiah Wallander spent his vicar year serving Hope, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Here he’s pictured with a student at Hope’s summer music camp. Each seminary student spends an internship year as a “vicar,” learning and serving under experienced pastors in mission-minded congregations. In 2022–23, 28 students were assigned as vicars.
Studying in San Diego
When Mark Jiang (pictured middle) first came to Reformation, San Diego, Calif., he was interested in the congregation’s school. But soon, he joined the congregation and thought about becoming a pastor himself. That’s when he met David Choi, an Evangelical Lutheran Synod seminary student who served as a vicar at Reformation. Choi, who also grew up in China, encouraged Mark to pursue the public ministry.
Mark began taking courses in 2020 through WELS’ Pastoral Studies Institute, which provides seminary training to students from a variety of countries and cultures. He and Choi studied together throughout the year.
“It was a very good chance for me to learn with Vicar Choi,” says Mark. “He helped teach me the Foundations 101 class in Mandarin, then we went through again and reviewed it in English. It was good for us to look into the English verse or Greek verse and use different languages to help us gather the meaning of the Bible.”
Mark appreciates that he is able to complete some of his seminary training in person with the pastors at Reformation, in addition to taking courses with Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary professors via Zoom.
“It is a pleasure for me to learn God’s Word,” Mark says. “I am very thankful to my teachers for giving me the right teaching from God, and I am happy I can put what I learn into practice and share the good news with other brothers and sisters. I hope to have many chances to serve and help people, and I hope God gives me the strength to do this.”
Also pictured are (left) Neil Birkholz, WELS’ North American Asian ministry consultant; and David Choi.
What is the Pastoral Studies Institute?
The Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI) guides and assists spiritual leaders around the world through preseminary and seminary training. Team members spend much of their time visiting and teaching PSI students. Harland Goetzinger accepted the call to be the director of the PSI in fall 2022.
Nathaniel Wranovsky, a second-year student at WLS, is helping teach catechism at Crown of Life, Hubertus, Wis. Students participate in a number of hands-on ministry experiences throughout their time at the seminary.