This is “Call Week” for the LCMS. This is the week when Vicarage placements, Deaconess assignments, and first Calls for seminarians are issued. The services started Monday night and continue through the week. You can view them in real time or check out the lists after the fact — here and here.
For anyone unfamiliar with the gravity of this week, here’s a bit of background.
Most of the pastors and deaconesses in our Synod, after completing their bachelor’s degree, are trained at one of two seminaries — Ft. Wayne and St. Louis. This involves uprooting the family and moving. That’s move number one.
After their second year of study, seminarians are usually placed on vicarage, a year-long placement somewhere in the USA (or the world — anywhere really), where they learn under an experienced pastor (or pastors). This is an incredibly valuable part of their pastoral formation, but it does mean moving the whole family again. Deaconesses are assigned a year-long internship, where they, too, will move their family. Move number two.
Once vicarage or internship is complete, move number three takes them and their families back to the seminary to finish out their fourth year of study.
And then Call Night.
The Call service is when pastors find out where God has Called them to pastor and when deaconesses learn where they are to serve the church for the long term. Families may offer some input to the seminaries regarding call preference — but there are never any guarantees.
This time is so exciting for families and for congregations. The church is getting a new pastor or deaconess. Yet it is also a time full of unknowns, but for the church and for these new church workers and their families. The churches and congregations wonder what their newly called church worker will be like. The church workers and their families wonder where their journey takes them next and what their new home will be like. All involved wonder if the transition will go smoothly.
Friends, wherever you sit on this — whether you are a soon-to-be deaconess, a soon-to-be vicar or pastor’s wife, or if you are a laywoman in the parish expecting a new church worker — our prayers are with you. There are a lot of big changes and transitions ahead, but you are not alone! To all others who may not be touched directly by this week, please consider praying for the men and women, their families, and the neighbors they will soon serve.