On February 3rd and 4th First Call pastors, deacons, and ministry partners gathered for our annual First Call Theological Education Retreat in Harrisonburg. First Call Theological Education (FCTE) is a three-year structured program of theological education designed to assist newly called leaders in the transition to rostered ministry. The topic for this year’s retreat was centered on personnel and staffing and was presented by the Rev. Glenn E. Ludwig, Project Director of the Sr. Pastor Training Program at United Lutheran Seminary. The two-day retreat provided wonderful opportunities for conversation, worship, and fellowship.
This year we asked those in attendance for reflections on their time at FCTE and it’s value to those serving in their first call.
The Rev. Suzanne Stierwalt serving St Andrew, Portsmouth shared, “FCTE was set up in a refreshing, new format that allowed space for practical matters, collegiality, and worship. Glenn Ludwig brought a toolbox full of staffing procedures that many of us will implement in our own contexts. I appreciated his insight as to why it is so important to have these practices in place.
A big thank you to Jeniffer Tilman and Alex Zuber for leading us in worship and to the Bishop, Kelly, and staff for putting our program together and for supporting all of us “newbies”.”
The Rev. Chuck Miller from Wheatland Lutheran, Buchanan shared, “Thankful, this was my overwhelming refection for the FCR that I attended this week. I am thankful to God that inspires the synod to have this opportunity for us to gather and learn. I am furthermore thankful to get to know my peers even better, to spend time with each of them learning, worshiping and practicing self-care (free time) with them. As a second-year first call pastor, I cherish this organized timeframe for us to come together and am thankful.”