2010 - New Beginnings at Our Seminary
After many delays, the new home of Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary was dedicated to the Lord's service on Saturday, August 21, 2010. It is located in Usatovo, a northwestern suburb of Odessa. Odessa is a city of over 1 million residents on the Black Sea in southern Ukraine. Nearly 200 worshipers sat outdoors on the plaza in front of the seminary's main entrance for a morning service of dedication. Lutheran ChurchCanada President Robert Bugbee and LCC missionary Pastor Alexey Navrotsky served as preachers for the occasion. At the close of the service, personal greetings were brought also by representatives of mission societies in Sweden and Norway, who assist the Ukrainian church by supplying humanitarian aid for distribution to the needy.
Members of congregations from across the "Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches of Ukraine" (SELCU) came from near and far to attend the dedication. After the morning service, people gathered around picnic tables on the seminary grounds to enjoy dinner and fellowship time. At 5:00 p.m., a second service began to formally open the seminary's third session of pastoral training classes. The Rev. Dr. Norman Threinen, a retired professor of Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta, was formally installed as the Rector (President) of the Ukraine seminary. He and SELCU Bishop Viktor Grafenstein preached in the evening service. Later, Dr. Threinen asked the eight young men who will form the incoming class to come forward. By Word and prayer their promises to study and serve in the ministry were commended to God, and Dr. Threinen announced that classes would begin on the morning of September 1.
Letters of greeting were read from LCC President Emeritus Dr. Edwin Lehman, and also from Terry Goerz, Chairman of the Concordia Lutheran Mission Society (CLMS) of Canada. CLMS was instrumental in providing the support to bring the construction project to completion.
Dr. Threinen has been working to line up the theological teachers who will provide instruction throughout the seminary's first year in Usatovo. Among those who will help are The Rev. Albert Schmidt of Edmonton, a longtime friend of the Ukrainian church who taught many courses in the past, and who may return in the spring to teach once more; and The Rev. Oleg Schewtschenko, newly-installed pastor of the SELCU congregation in Odessa, who will provide translating services. Pastor Schewtschenko spent three years at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario, under the auspices of LCC's "foreign student mission program."
For a synod numbering just 13 congregations, the enrollment of 8 first-year seminary students is remarkable. Please hold Dr. Threinen, all his co-workers, and the future Ukrainian pastors in your prayers. How grateful Lutheran ChurchCanada can be for this wonderful partnership!