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.
We were not really prepared to deal with this virus and everything in its wake when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Mexico earlier this year. Unfortunately, many people in our congregations were left without jobs. Others saw their wages reduced considerably. As shepherds, we have been able to share in the suffering of our congregants, while at the same time we have our own physical needs.
Quite a number of our Latin American Lutheran pastors serve two or three or more congregations at the same time. With the nearest pastor often living several hours away, opportunities for these men to be built up in the Word and to have fellowship time with other pastors are crucial. Luther Academy encourages these opportunities for our pastors.
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.
In 1968, the Lutheran Synod of Mexico (LSM) entered altar and pulpit fellowship with the LCMS; the relationship has only strengthened, particularly since 2013.