Summer Seminary Sampler in Review: Session 1, Week 1

Trinity Lutheran Seminary’s Summer Seminary Sampler program brings high school youth to the seminary for three weeks during the summer and immerses them in service, introduces them to theological education, and connects them with mentors in the community.

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Photo by Mike Hanck.

VBS at First English Lutheran Church: The Samplarians helped run the Athens VBS from Group Publishing. The first day brought in 20 kids, the second day, 40. By the end of the week, they were juggling 60 kids! Some helped them build tambourines, sand paper art, and even catapults. Some taught songs and dances, getting up in front of the kids and showing their moves. Others participated in exciting dramas and led fun games, like Splish Splish Splash. Each day brought new challenges, but also new opportunities for relationships. They ended the week tired, but missing the faces and daily laughter of the kids they met.

Class with Dr. Diane Hymans: Dr. Hymans introduced the Samplarians to their first academic seminary experience. They tackled the question, “What is faith?” and explored new and different ways to experience their faith. The highlight of the class must have been the discovery of a new ghost on the third floor who apparently flips tables when left out of games (they were experimenting with “play” as a faith practice).

Alcoholics Anonymous: Tackling a tough subject, the Samplarians viewed the film My Name is Bill W., a film about the life of the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. The following evening, after an introduction by the faculty advisor of Trinity Lutheran Seminary’s Addiction Awareness Group, Dr. Cheryl Peterson, they attended an open AA meeting for young persons. The Samplarians listened to their stories and stayed after the meeting to ask questions, learning more about addiction and how people find healing and wholeness in community.

Ordination Though not all Samplarians are considering futures in ministry, all are interested in strengthening their faith. The counselors decided early on to give them a special treat and bring them to the ordination of a recent TLS grad. The Samplarians heard and saw Bishop Cal Holloway ordain Lorne Hlad to the ministry of Word and Sacrament, took Communion from the new Pastor, and shared a meal in fellowship with community and seminary members. Though the service followed a somewhat “creative” order, the experience was still powerful!

Fun Times!: The first week of Summer Seminary Sampler ended with a day of rest, but also a day of fun. Some Samplarians enjoyed visits from family members, others attended the Juneteenth Festival at Franklin Park, and others took a hike in the beautiful Hocking Hills country. The evening held a visit to the Bexley pool and finished with a movie.

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Author: Pastor Ken

Ken Ranos serves as the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Three Lakes, WI, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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