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Task force to focus on cost of seminary education

First meeting scheduled for mid-January

Monday, January 5, 2009

First vice-president Nolan Astley is a member of the task force

WINNIPEG - Board of Directors’ chairman, Randy Stefan and Lutheran Church–Canada president, Rev. Robert Bugbee announced the make-up of a task force created to investigate and recommend how to fulfill 2008 LCC Convention Resolution 08.3.04: “To implement a cost efficient seminary program for Lutheran Church–Canada.” The chairman and president appointed Rev. Nolan Astley (first vice-president); Rev. Robert Krestick (third vice-president); Rev. Colin Liske (pastor, St. Paul, Nanaimo, B.C.); Rev. Arron Gust (pastor, Christ, Langenburg, Sask.) and Howard Famme (First St. John, Seebach’s Hill, Ont). Dr. Todd Sands, (First Lutheran, Windsor, Ont.) has agreed to serve as an advisor to the task force.

“The appointments have taken longer than I would have liked,” said President Bugbee, “but I believe we have the people in place to provide an objective consideration of how LCC can undertake pastoral training in Canada within a realistic cost framework.”

The president also noted that the task force will undertake its work with no preconceptions of outcomes. “The convention didn’t want to consider a resolution that concluded there should only be one seminary, that is why delegates chose to focus on overall cost efficiency.”

The two vice-presidents on the task force each serve on the seminaries’ Boards of Regents; Rev. Astley at Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton, and Rev. Krestick, at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines. Rev. Liske, in addition to being a parish pastor, has vast teaching experience at the university level. To bring the voice of a younger pastor to the deliberations, Rev. Arron Gust is a 2001 graduate of Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton. Howard Famme is a respected chartered accountant and former member of LCC’s Board of Directors and past member of the Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary Foundation. As an advisor, Dr. Todd Sands brings his perspective from secular education where he serves as executive director and CIO of the Centre for Smart Community Innovation (CSCI) at the University of Windsor.

In announcing the membership, the chairman and president stressed that the group will undertake extensive consultation with the presidents, faculty and staff serving LCC’s two seminaries. The task force will also seek input from the church-at-large.

“Within the context of the convention resolution, the mandate is essentially one of finances,” the president noted. He said that course content is not part of the discussion. “The curriculum is always under review, but the task force is focusing on delivering the courses in a cost-effective manner.”

The convention resolution also mandates ongoing reporting to the church through The Canadian Lutheran. The bi-weekly e-mail InfoDigest will also report on the task force’s progress.

Resolution 08.3.04 can be found HERE .

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