Recently a Lancaster Seminary student told me she came to seminary because she took to heart the story of the rich young ruler who encountered Jesus. “What else do I need to do?” he asked. Jesus replied, “Sell all that you have and give it to the poor.” This student had a beautiful home that she’d just finished renovating herself. She hated to leave it, but she did. She rented it out and came to seminary so she could follow Jesus’ call.
Okay, maybe she didn’t sell all that she had, but I believe she responded to the high calling to follow. And the house was just one tiny piece of what she’d left behind. It was also her church, her family, her friends, and her previous job. She is one of many I have met here on campus that have made the same kind of sacrifice to follow Christ into a new life. I believe God honors that kind of risk-taking faith that gives all because God gave us all.
At Lancaster Seminary you meet students, faculty, and staff who are seeking to follow their calling, and you can see this in the vibrancy of their lives on campus. Students at Lancaster Seminary come to learn in a way that changes them. They are shaping themselves for service and leadership within their faith communities. They are practicing equipping the saints for ministry. They are prepared to go out to proclaim the good news of God’s grace, to be prophets of the justice God desires for personal relationships and social systems, and to exhibit the love and mercy that they know already from God.
The faculty at Lancaster Seminary are not just internationally recognized scholars in their disciplines. They are teachers who are answering their calling to engage in a teaching and learning enterprise that opens students to new ways of believing, serving, and stewarding their gifts and talents. They have crafted a classic and contemporary curriculum of biblical studies, theology, church history, worship and preaching, and the arts of ministry that aims to mature the whole person for their next place of service. They challenge students to achieve some mastery of religious knowledge and practice so that they become seekers and witnesses to truth for the rest of their lives.
When staff at Lancaster Seminary talk about students, sometimes tears come to their eyes. Most of them will say it’s not just a job they do at the seminary in admissions or in the business office or in maintaining the buildings and grounds. They view it as a ministry. What they love most about working at the seminary is interacting with the students.
I invite students, faculty, and staff to join whole-heartedly in this community of faith and learning. Perhaps you are new to Lancaster Seminary like me—let’s enjoy our discovery of this cherished community together.
I invite alumnae and alumni in the region and around the world to keep your ties strong to each other and to the seminary. Come back to campus for renewal through continuing education, events, and reunions. Support the seminary with your gifts. Shoulder-tap persons who may have a call to prepare for a ministry vocation and send them to us. Is it time for you to do a DMin at Lancaster Seminary?
I invite friends of the seminary and other newly interested people to engage in the public events, lectures, performances and educational programs that Lancaster Seminary sponsors, to visit the campus for a tour, and discern whether you are called to be associated with our mission and community.
What else do we need to do? Jesus calls us to take the next step toward him, even a leap of faith. Sell all you have for this calling. It may seem risky, but God has already reached toward us and assured us of the newness of life that awaits us.
In God's Peace,
President Carol Lytch