On May 24, 2019, 26 men graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary (WLS), Mequon, Wis. 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.
The Pastoral Studies Institute, a partnership between WLS and WELS Joint Missions, guides and assists non-traditional students through their pre-seminary and seminary training so they can become pastors. This includes second-career students as well as cross-cultural students.
For more information, visit wls.wels.net.
New seminary president
Prof. Earle Treptow (pictured) was installed as the new president of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary on Aug. 26, 2019. “President Treptow brings a wealth of solid Lutheran parish experience to the work,” says Rev. Paul Prange, administrator of WELS Board for Ministerial Education. “His ability to see both small details and the big picture is remarkable, and his keen insight allows him to preach and teach the gospel in ways that should positively influence both students and colleagues.”
Prof. Paul Wendland, the seminary’s former president, transitioned back into a full-time teaching role on the seminary’s faculty. “Teaching is my first love,” says Wendland, “It’s what energizes me.”
When asked about his responsibilities as seminary president, Treptow notes, “I think of the president as having the responsibility of keeping the main thing the main thing. The seminary’s main thing is having pastors train men to be pastors. Clearly there are academic requirements in the program—men who will serve as pastors need to know the Scriptures and how to apply the Word to people in preaching, teaching, and counseling. But there is more to being a pastor than mastering a set of facts and skills; it’s about knowing himself as a beggar in desperate need of God’s grace, who revels in the Lord’s goodness and wants to bring others to the one who takes away all shame and fear and guilt.”
Second-generation Hmong student
Samuel Lor is in his first year at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. His father, Rev. Bounkeo Lor, graduated from the seminary’s Pastoral Studies Institute and currently serves as coordinator of Hmong Asia Ministry. Bounkeo believes that Sam will be able to reach the second generation of Hmong Americans, many of whom are not attending worship. Sam says, “I want to share my appreciation for faith alone, Scripture alone, and grace alone. As a people, we are rebuilding our traditions. A Christian identity and our WELS heritage will help that rebuilding.”
Spanish Immersion Trip
Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary offers educational opportunities outside the classroom during its Winterim semester. In January 2019 this group visited Colombia for the annual SPICE trip—Spanish Immersion Cultural Experience. The trip has a dual purpose—improve Spanish language skills and provide students real-life experience with another culture.
Prof. Thomas Kock of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary organized an archaeology tour of Israel that took place June 1-12, 2019. Twenty people—including four seminary students—participated in the tour, which included an archaeological dig a few miles north of Jericho. “Ultimately, there’s just nothing like being there to help a person to ‘get’ certain things,” says Kock. “Students gain a far better understanding of the geography and culture of the land of Israel, which can help them to gain a more clear, full understanding of some of the events recorded in the Bible. Additionally, they get the opportunity to discover in a real way both the blessings that archaeology can bring to the Bible student and its limitations.”
Did you know?
On March 18, 2019, Evan Arrowsmith became the first-ever inductee into the WLS-MLC chapter of Eta Beta Rho, an honor society that recognizes excellence in Hebrew and is operated by the National Association of Professors of Hebrew. Prof. Kenneth Cherney presented Arrowsmith, a junior, with the award in chapel.