Archive for July, 2010

Starting point

July 30, 2010

The upcoming blog posts on African-American church worker decline in the LCMS is steamed from real life experience and a reminder from this article…

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/RELIG-LUTHERANS_2772490/RELIG-LUTHERANS_2772490/

Specifically, at the end of the article. We’ve learned in our Biblical Hermeneutics class that most narratives emphasize a point at the beginning and/or the ending in Scripture. I have to wonder to myself if that is the case with this article. It really seems out of place for the flow of the article. Read the whole article first.  I keep coming back to this section…

“In a meeting with the Rev. Frazier Odom, executive director of the church’s board for black ministry services, Kieschnick asked why the numbers of young African-American men recruited to Lutheran seminaries was so low.

“They see the suffering and what older black pastors have been through,”

Odom said. “They think basketball is the way out of poverty, and I don’t think the ministry even crosses their mind.”

“They don’t have too many black pastoral heroes these days, I guess,” Kieschnick said. “What can I do to help?”

“Direct your attention to them, especially,” Odom said. “Assure them that God understands their concerns, too. That God provides. You’re in the position to be a model to them. This is not a black-white thing.

“Maybe one of them will grow up to be the president of the synod.””

(c) 2010, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Visit the Post-Dispatch on the World Wide Web at http://www.stltoday.com/

It is my hope to gain some insight from those before me and compare it to the current structure and issues faced.

Resolution 4-17 To Address Student Indebtedness from LCMS Convention2010

July 30, 2010

http://www.lcms.org/includes/convention/resolutions/todbiz.pdf#437

Page 124

Resolution 4-17: To Address Student Indebtedness

Overtures 4-05 (CW, p.180)

WHEREAS, THE LCMS colleges, universities, and seminaries have taken significant and responsible steps to reduce operating costs to maintain fiscal viability; and

WHEREAS, 74 percent (the average between the two seminaries) of the pastoral ministry students who graduated from the LCMS seminaries in May 2009 and 75 percent of the Concordia University System students who graduated in May 2009, did so with educational debt; and

WHEREAS, Carrying large amounts of educational debt while receiving a modest salary results in stress for the church worker, which negatively impacts his/her family, health, and service; therefor be it

RESOLVED, That individuals, groups, and congregations in the LCMS  be encouraged to increase their support for our Synod’s colleges, universities, and seminaries with prayers, referrals of prospective students, and financial gifts; and be it further

RESOLVED, The Concordia University System schools and the seminaries require all students enrolled in church work programs to receive instruction in biblical stewardship designed to increase their ability to manage their personal finances wisely.

———————————

What does this mean for future and current seminarians? Easy answer is that you are now required to attend that optional stewardship class both seminaries offered last year. Same goes for anyone enrolled in the Concordia University System. This isn’t a bad thing, but it is not realistic. The resolution already mentioned the numbers of coming out of the CUS and couple that with enrolling into seminary your debt only grows. So, for current seminarians you will be subjected to learn how to manage money that 1. you don’t have and 2. you won’t have any time soon… unless you play the lotto. Now, if this program is geared to seminarians where they are at NOW, this could be helpful. Minus loop holes, I see students from all of the above raising issue with this mandate. However, it isn’t up for discussion it is now mandatory.

As I continue looking through resolutions and how they were voted on… I hope to see one that mentions increased support for church workers attending the above mentioned institutions. Correction: I hope to see some sort of follow through with this and one of those groups needs to be the LCMS. Take the lead and others will follow from the example from above. This a subtle hint to Synod: The idea and its application are wonderful. Will it fix the overall problem? No

I recall hearing someone has some ideas on how to improve this situation. I’ve heard “Its Time”.

Upcoming Blog Posts

July 30, 2010

Thoughts on the future of the LCMS

Projects planning the back of my mind

Head of the household: getting back to teaching Catechism at home first.

Experiences from Seminary

Lessons Learned

Why is there such a decline of African Americans as church workers? How do we go about fixing the issue?

One Year

July 28, 2010

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of our departure to Concordia Seminary. What has changed in the past year? I’ll see if I can do a quick run down.

Friends: Well, I haven’t lost any friends over the year, but I will see I have come into contact with quite a few new friends at work, campus, ministry, church, and throughout the LCMS.

Positions: Since I moved seamlessly from Vice-Chair of our home congregation to First Year Married rep for Student Association to Vice President for Student Association.

Work: On the verge of completing my 10th year of employment with Verizon, the group of guys from Michigan and other states were moved over to a joint venture between two telcom companies. So, now I officially work for Frontier Communications. The initial migration was painful to say the least. This new change happened mid-quarter (painful) and came with all the responsibilities of a server administrator. Previously, my job had been pretty dedicated to server uptime. Now, it entails just about everything. I guess i can’t complain too much, I do still have a job and it provides me the ability to afford school supplies and pay off debt at the same time.

Family: Everyone is a year older, smarter, and taller (well except for Linda and I). The three oldest (Hannah, Jonathan, and Hailey) can all read. Keeping in mind Hailey just finished Kindergarten this past year. So, she is reading going into the 1st grade. We just received a letter from the school telling Jonathan tested high for his grade and they would like to test him to see how smart he is… Right now, he qualifies for special classes. Yup, that is daddy pride come out right now. Hannah is excelling in all she does. She still has her hands in just about everything. Jocelyn has now become the self-titled boss of the family. She keeps us all in order. Linda is just as busy as ever on campus. She now has her schedule open to get back into singing in church.

Education: By the end of the next Friday, I would have taken 56 credits worth of classes. Formation continues… Stay tuned.

Location: Well, that is obvious Livonia, MI to Saint Louis, MO

We continue to be blessed by the Lord in all our endeavors regardless of location. We are grateful for every experience in life whether it joyful or painful.  Things that looked to be far off in the distance seem closer now day by day. What the next year holds for the Ekong family only God knows, but I am guessing it has something to do with Formation and the Great Commission.

Prediction on the LCMS Presidential Election

July 11, 2010

Someone will win the election. He will be a man. He will be Lutheran. He will have a vision for the church. He will no doubt be opposed by one side of the church. He is a sinful being. Since he is a sinful being, he will make mistakes. I predict in three years we will do it all over again. Those are my predictions. I am pretty sure all of which will play out on Tuesday and over the next three years.

Off in the distance there is man watching all of this and God is preparing him for the future.

The Republic – Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod to take up possible radical change in its structure

July 10, 2010

The Republic – Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod to take up possible radical change in its structure.


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