News Archive 2008

News Shorts (24/12/08)

        Advent Lessons and Carols 2008

  • The sounds of Advent lessons and carols filled the air, and lifted the hearts and spirits of the 114 participants in the Martin Luther Chapel, Sunday evening, 7 December. Members of the Seminary choir, the Resurrection Lutheran Church Choir, instrumentalists, readers from all levels of the Seminary community, and guests from throughout the area joined together to hear, sing, and proclaim the coming and arrival of Jesus Christ, the Advent King.
  • Christmas QuintetStudents hosted an Advent/Christmas social for faculty and staff at Grace Lutheran Church on Friday, 5 December. The Seminary Guild provided the ham and presented gift certificates to each student. John Rapp served as MC and organized a quintet of musically gifted and trained students and wives. The children received gifts from the Concordia Seminary Students' Association.
  • Residents at Shaver Hospital, across the street from the Seminary, received poinsettias and best wishes from the students on Tuesday, 9 December, as they used their longer lunch hour that day to carol and bring holiday greetings to patients at this long-term care facility.
  • Eager students, desiring to demonstrate how much they have learned, receive the opportunity to write final exams in most courses. This will be the last exam Dr John Stephenson gives for a while; he will be on sabbatical, 1 January to 30 June 2009 to catch up on writing projects and teach a session at Westfield House in Cambridge, England.
  • Concordia's bookstore continues to offer bargain prices on a large selection of theological and children's books, plus other gift ideas. Contact Christel Haeck,, for more information, or drop in for a chat.
  • Plans are underway by students, staff and faculty to enjoy a shut-down over the holiday season, to coincide with Brock's campus closure from noon on 24 December. The seminary officially reopens with the start of our short-term classes on Monday, 5 January 2009.
  • Concordia has recently benefited from bequests and endowments. We thank God for the generosity of our donors. Please contact us, or Al Feth, our financial planer, for our brochure or more information on "Gifts that Last."
  • The Board of Regents will be giving consideration to long-term goals for Concordia at the upcoming joint regents meeting in Edmonton. One proposal is to purchase an apartment building with the aid of CEF funds to provide housing under one roof for our students. The lack of a residence is a reason frequently heard by the Admissions Committee for students not enrolling.
  • We invite you to keep in the giving mood in anticipation of a Valentine's Day weekend event, "Lucky in Love" (human and divine) on Friday, 13 February 2009, featuring Tara Lynn Hart (a former Juno nominee and CMA winner, currently a Sem wife) as she provides the entertainment at a dinner theatre. More details in the new year-just mark the date for now.

"Faithfulness Celebrated" - Opening Service 2008 (07/09/08)

Conferral of Emeritus Crucis, Rev. Larry EifertWhat better place to talk about God's faithfulness, to honour God's faithfulness in the ministry of one of His servants and, of course, to praise God for His faithfulness, than at a seminary opening service? On Sunday, September 7, following an initial week including a faculty forum, orientation of six new students, registration for all who will be attending classes, and a two-day retreat at Mount Carmel Spiritual Retreat Centre overlooking Niagara Falls, 67 students, faculty, staff and friends of Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario gathered around the Word to focus on this year's theme verse, "Great is your faithfulness," (Lamentations 3:23).

The preacher for the occasion was Dr. Thomas Winger, Acting President and Academic Dean, who preached on II Timothy 2:8-13, highlighting the role of both faithfulness and suffering in the pastor's life. The other participants in the service were students from various levels.

Rev. Lawrence Eifert, a retired pastor, received the Emeritus Crucis award for his faithful service in the ministry. A native of Leduc, Alberta, Rev. Eifert served parishes in Ontario and British Columbia, retiring from Christ Risen in Kanata, ON in 2000. He has also been active as Circuit Counsellor, Pastoral Advisor to youth and the LWML, a member of the LCC departments of Stewardship and Parish Education, vacancy pastor and part of the On-Call Team at Queensway Carleton Hospital.

Kramer Honours RecipientsCommended for a faithful pursuit of their studies were this year's recipients of the President and Mrs. Kramer Honours Endowment Fund Awards for academic excellence: Mark Smith, Matthew Sorenson and Wayne Zhang. Both the Zondervan Greek and Hebrew Awards went to Seungwoo Choi.

The evening ended with a reception hosted by Concordia's Seminary Guild.

17th Annual Golf Tournament (02/06/08)

The first Monday in June each year marks the seminary's annual golf tournament at Sawmill Golf Course in Fenwick, Ontario. This year, 111 golfers from Ontario (St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Burlington, Kitchener/Waterloo, Stratford, Kingsville, Elmira, Tilsonburg, New Hamburg, Port Colborne, and Barrie) and New York State (Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and North Tonawanda) enjoyed good weather and great food as they met new friends and were reunited with regular participants, some of whom have returned annually since the first tournament 17 years ago.

The day began with lunch and the putting competition, won by Jack Becht. Then golfers were off to their designated first holes for a shot-gun start. Competitions at various holes included "closest to the keg" (men), "closest to the 150-yard mark" (women), and "closest to the pin" (men and women marked separately). Winners were Jonathan Marshall (closest to the keg), Les Fuerch (closest to the pin) and Karen Gaul (closest to the 150-yard mark and closest to the pin). Thanks to Nuernberger & Scott Insurance for sponsoring a $5,000 "Hole-in-one" prize. Unfortunately, there were no winners this year.

Play continued throughout a sunny afternoon on this beautifully landscaped course dotted with gardens full of irises, lavender, and ornamental grasses.

L to R: Karen Gaul, Heather Keller, Jamie Gaul, Rev. Jim Keller

L to R: John Couch, Jacqueline Couch, Annette Hamp, Rev. Warren Hamp

Following the tournament, a delicious chicken/rib dinner, courtesy of our major sponsor, FaithLife Financial, was served in the clubhouse. Special thanks go to our outstanding hosts, Gail and George Julie and their staff.

Tournament winners were (shown below) Doug Ropp, Darryl Ropp (Doug's grandson), Steve Ropp (Doug's son), and Owen Smith, all of Barrie, Ontario. Each was presented with a prize that was hand carved by Duncan Anderson of Kitchener.

All tournament participants received table prizes that were generously donated for the event. Shown below is an afghan made by Mrs. Kathie Becht (held by Eva Becht and Karen Goebel).

The tournament committee, consisting of Eva Becht, Karen and Gerry Goebel, and Doreen Korcok, wishes to thank all of this year's sponsors and prize donors, listed below. Their generosity and support greatly contributed to the tournament's success.

Our 2008 Hole Sponsors

D. A. Kurt Insurance Brokers Ltd. - Don Kurt
Ernst & Young Chartered Accountants - Ray Taylor
FaithLife Financial - Hugh Weltz
Faith Lutheran Ladies Guild, Kitchener
Garfinkle, Biderman, LLP
Ladies of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Waterloo
Lutheran Foundation Canada - Al Feth
Lutherwood - John Collangeli
Martin Sheppard Fraser LLP - Gary Enskat
Royale LePage - Jonathan Fast
Andrew, James, & Robert Krestick, Peter McCallum

Our 2008 Prize Contributors

Augsburg Fortress
Beauty Unlimited - Eva Becht
Brentwood Livery - Leo Tobi
Chateau des Charmes Winery
Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary
Duncan Anderson
Electro-Fab Contractors - Brian Wardle
Erich Knebel
FaithLife Financial
FedEx - Paul Goebel
Franklin Templeton Investments
Gary Stockie Motors - Bryan Moore
George Hartung
Gerry and Karen Goebel
Golf North
Golf Without Limits - Dave Hardy
Gord Schomphe
Highway Sterling Western Star - John Becht
Jeff Brum
John and Jacqueline Couch
Joseph's Estate Wines
Kathie Becht
Lailey Vineyard
Larry Margetts
Lutheran Foundation Canada - Al Feth
Martin Bender
Meridian Credit Union
Nissan - Enid Rogers
Nuernberger & Scott - Jeff Scott
Palatine Hills Estate Winery
Promotional Elements - Steve Wingham
Reif Estate Winery
Sleeman Breweries - Sue Keuhl
Slo-Pitch National UIC - Peter McCallum
Stanley Park Mall - MaryLou Lang
Strewn Winery
TD Waterhouse - Vic Abradjian
Wayne Weiberg
Don Wolfe

Please join the "Friends of St. Catharines Seminary" for their annual golf outing on 20 September at Hyde Park Golf Course in Niagara Falls, NY. See details below.

Format: Scramble
First tee off: 11:00 a.m.
Cost: $75 (US) includes golf, cart, beverages, steak dinner, and prizes
Contacts: John Rogers (716-692-6418), Steve Puscheck (716-692-8505), Bruce Sutherland (716-998-0225), and Les Fuerch (716-628-1031)

All profits go to benefit the seminarians through the "Friends of St. Catharines Seminary" fund.

LTR, Vol. XIX, Published (13/05/08)

Volume XIX of the Lutheran Theological Review has been mailed! We provide free copies of the LTR to LCC pastors, Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary graduates serving outside Canada, and various libraries and seminaries on an exchange basis. All others are on a subscription basis. If you did not receive your copy, please let us know by e-mailing or calling 905-688-2362.

If you wish to subscribe to our journal, please send $10 if you are in Canada or $15 (Canadian funds) if you are outside Canada. You can also view the LTR on line by clicking on the link at the left.

CLTS Board of Regents Addresses Finances, Appoints Acting President (09/05/08)

In the days leading up to the great celebration of the seminary's annual Call Service, the Regents of Concordia, St. Catharines, met to conduct the business that makes it possible.

As reported to synod in the Convention Workbook, the seminary faces a large accumulated debt and current deficit. The Board has prepared a careful plan to address this.

Firstly, they have scrutinized the budget line by line, and proposed a reduction from $1.1 million ('07-08) to $792,200 for 2008-09. Secondly, they have adopted a plan to consolidate the debt and deficit into a single loan, with plans to pay off some principal in each year's budget.

In other news: The Board has chosen to delay the search for a new president, and has appointed Dr Thomas Winger as Acting President on an indefinite basis. A sabbatical for Dr John Stephenson was approved for January to June 2009.

The Board resolved to close Christ Academy North, while retaining materials and courses already prepared for alternate use in the future, and thanked Rev. James Keller and his associates for their work. Rev. Keller has been extended a one year contract as a seminary instructor.

Finally, the Board approved in principle a faculty proposal to offer a diploma route to certification for students entering without an undergraduate degree. This proposal will still need the approval of the synod's Board of Directors.


New Direct Debit Giving Plan

Unlike your local congregation, the seminary can't rely on a weekly offering. If you're at all annoyed that you receive a request for money two or three times a year form the seminary, consider that some 37% of our budgeted income needs to come from such gifts. We count on your gifts, and need to be confident that they will regularly arrive.

To address this concern, we have extablished a system for monthly direct debit giving through the East District. Just as direct debit gives you stability in your household finances by spreading out your utility payments, so it will allow you to budget your giving to us in small monthly amounts. If enough people donate in this way, we may even be able to save the high cost of one of our annual postal appeals.

Next month we will be launching a campaign to attract church members to this new way of giving. Just think: if 1000 people pledged just $20 per month, we would nearly meet our need for unrestricted gifts! (Compare this to what you spend on cable TV or Tim Horton's coffee!) The campaign will target gifts to our general operating expenses, but you are free to designate your direct debit to other seminary needs, if you wish.

But you don't need to wait for the campaign publicity to arrive. Right now you can download the application form by clicking on "Support Us" at the left of the screen. All you have to do is attach a voided cheque and send the completed form to the District Office. Of course, you will receive the expected charitable receipt at the end of the year.

Finally, we must remind ourselves that, despite our temporary trials and our struggles to overcome them, the church is the Lord's and the mission is His. We give as an exercise of our faith, trusting that God will use us and the resources of which we are only stewards for His purposes. Though we thank you always, we give praise only to Him.

Call Service 2008 (03/05/08)

L to R Front Row: Vicar Cameron Schnarr, Deaconess Alice Kuo, Candidate Howard Warner, Candidate Galen Purpura, Deaconess Rebecca Klages, Vicar Ernie Green
L to R Back Row: Dr. J. Stephenson, Rev. R. Krestick, Rev. J. Keller, Pres. R. Mayan, Dr. T. Winger (Photo by Thies Bogner of Bogner Photography)

At the annual Certification and Call Service, held this year at Grace Lutheran Church, St. Catharines, the following candidates, vicars, and diaconal candidates received their placements:


  • Galen Purpura: St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Depew, NY
  • Joshua Reynolds: Faith Lutheran Church, Coronach, SK
  • Howard Warner: St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Smithville, ON; and Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Beamsville, ON



  • Ernie Green: St. Paul Lutheran Church, North Tonawanda, NY
  • Cameron Schnarr: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Saskatoon, SK



  • Rebecca Klages: St. Luke Lutheran Church, Surrey, BC
  • Alice Kuo: Placement Pending

The Evening Prayer service began with the hymn “Thy Strong Word”, during which the crucifer (student, Joseph Allen), banner bearer (student, Oscar Castillo), marshal (Dr John Stephenson), vicars, diaconal candidates, pastoral candidates, faculty, Delta Chi Medal recipient (Mr Stan Diehl), Board of Regents, synodical president (Rev. Ralph Mayan), preacher (Rev. John Brunner, President, Eastern District, LCMS), and officiant (Dr Thomas Winger, Acting President) processed into the sanctuary. Student Wayne Zhang carried in the Christ Candle, preceding liturgist, Rev. James Keller, in the Service of Light.

The seminary choir, under the direction of Dr Thomas Winger, sang a setting of the Phos Hilaron (Hymn of Light) by Paul Grime, and “God the Lord, a King Remaineth” (text: J. Keble, music: W. Owen) as a choral response between the readings which were taken from II Timothy 1:5-14 and John 15:26-16:4. The seminary's Administrative Assistant, Doreen Korcok, was organist for the service.

The Nadine and Kent Schappert Family Fund Award for Pastoral Care was presented to pastoral candidate, Galen Pupura.

L to R: Mr. Kent Schappert, Candidate Galen Purpura, Dr. T. Winger (Photot by Thies Bogner of Bogner Photography)

Mr Stan Diehl was this year’s recipient of the Delta Chi medal, which is the seminary’s highest and most distinguished honour, presented to an individual, either clergy or lay, whose life exemplifies service to Christ in his/her everyday living and vocation.

L to R: Rev. J. Keller, Mrs. and Mr. Stan Diehl, Dr. T. Winger (Photo by Thies Bogner of Bogner Photography)

After the service, refreshments, sponsored by FaithLife Financial, were served by the Seminary Guild, and Mr Jim McDermott presented each of the pastoral candidates with a private Communion set on behalf of FaithLife Financial.

Field Report 2008 (19/03/08)

Our latest newsletter is at the printers and should be on the way to congregations across Canada soon. But you can beat the queue and read it online here.

New Website (14/03/08)

If you are here, you've found the redesigned and relocated website! We are grateful to Brock University for designing and hosting the new site, which returns to the address we used until a few years ago. We hope to keep the unique address active, but it will redirect you to this site. Although our seminary is a part of Lutheran Church-Canada, it has had a very close relationship to Brock University since it moved onto the Brock campus in 1984. Our two degrees (M.Div. and M.T.S.) are given by Brock, and our students avail themselves of most university services. The new website reflects this long relationship.

President Resigns (05/02/08)

The president of Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr Harald Tomesch, announced his resignation effective Tuesday, 5 February. In his letter to the Board of Regents read after the chapel service, Dr Tomesch cited his desire to return to day-to-day teaching and said he felt his ministry at the seminary was completed. Dr Tomesch assumed presidency of Lutheran Church-Canada's eastern seminary in 2005.

The Academic Dean, Rev. Dr Thomas Winger, has been appointed interim Acting President.