Concordia the Reformer Seminary welcomed distance-learning Formación Pastoral Hispano (FPH) students and pastoral mentors from several Latin American countries to a week-long symposium in January. The FPH program is similar to the SMP program at our LCMS seminaries in the United States. This program consists of sixteen courses with the students taking four courses a year, with pastoral mentors assigned to them. The focus of the FPH program is on the pastoral acts.
Missionary Pastor Andrew Schlund, his wife, Kelsey, and their two little daughters, Charlotte and Margaret are on their way back to the United States. They have faithfully served as LCMS missionaries since June of 2015. Rev. Schlund worked tirelessly as Pastor of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Mexico City, and as an adjunct professor for Concordia the Reformer Seminary in the Dominican Republic.
The 2020 graduating class had their formal graduation ceremony postponed until May 2021, due to the pandemic. These outstanding men have completed all coursework and requirements for graduation, so even though they must wait a bit longer to don their caps and gowns, they are being ordained and installed as pastors in various countries across Latin America.
Isaac Neftali García Guevara, a graduate of Concordia the Reformer Seminary in the Dominican Republic, was ordained and installed as Pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mexico City this past Sunday. Neftali is a native of Rio Bravo and the son of Rev. Isaac García, President of the Lutheran Synod of Mexico.
The Latin American and Caribbean field celebrates Pastor David and Shelee Warner and their six and a half years of dedicated missionary service in Spain. Though their departure is bittersweet, we are eager to see how the Lord will use them next.
Our Dominican seminary’s fourth academic year is well underway with its fall classes. Pandemic restrictions are still in place, so classes are being taught via Zoom. With 11 residential students and 24 online students representing 12 countries, the enrollment for pastoral formation is holding steady.
Concordia the Reformer Seminary in the Dominican Republic hosts an annual symposium drawing an increasingly large crowd each year. The draw is two-fold: It is currently the only Lutheran theological symposium in Spanish, and the quality of the presenters and presentations is top-notch. It was the overflowing crowd at last year’s conference that prompted the organizers to reluctantly establish the by-invitation-only rule for the 2020 symposium scheduled to take place next week.
No rest for the weary! Our seminarians finished up finals week on Friday and immediately dove into a two-week intensive course. Latin American pastors and deaconesses were invited to join our seminarians for this online class on the theology of mercy, taught by Pastor Ted Krey, Regional Director for the Latin America and Caribbean region.
During this time of uncertainty due to the global pandemic, many are in various states of quarantine or isolation from social activity. Our seminary and her students and staff are no different. Seminary Director, Rev. Joel Fritsche, shares some of the ways in which the work continues, and the Gospel goes out even in the midst of this storm. Thanks be to God.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Spain (IELE) is seeing growth in the number of men serving as pastors. Two new pastors were installed in Spain Sunday, October 13th. Felipe Lobo from Spain was ordained during the service, joining the newly ordained Missionary Pastor Isaac Machado as the fifth and sixth Lutheran pastors in the country.