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Intensive study for future pastors

September 20, 2011 No Comment

PAT students with instructors and mentors are currently meeting in Winnipeg.

For the first time, students enrolled in Lutheran Church–Canada’s Pastors with Alternate Training (PAT) program have gathered for one week of intensive study in Winnipeg. Fifteen students, mentors and instructors began meeting Friday, September 16 and will conclude Thursday, September 22. By the end of the ten sessions, the eight students will have spent more than 20 instructional hours studying Christian ethics; Church and politics; the Lutheran position on Natural Law and how it shapes ethics; and practical aspects of Lutheran witness and mission.

“In addition to the formal instruction the students have ongoing reading assignments; they meet with their pastor-mentors and engage in small discussion groups,” explained Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, PAT program coordinator. He also noted that the students received material to read before arriving in Winnipeg.

The PAT program, established in 2002, prepares pastors for culture-specific or site-specific pastoral ministry in Lutheran Church–Canada. Each PAT student is assigned a pastor who acts as a mentor. Current PAT students are part of congregations with cultural roots inAfrica, the Middle East and Central America. Dr. Neitzel noted that many of the students came to Canada from countries where they suffered oppression or persecution for their faith. “We are impressed with the students’ wide understanding and experience in cross-cultural mission as they have a large experience in witnessing to their Lutheran faith under difficult circumstances,” he said.

Instructors for the sessions held at Canadian Mennonite University include Rev. Richard Beinert (adjunct professor, Concordia Lutheran Seminary,Edmonton); Rev. Larry Gajdos (East District mission executive); Rev. James Keller (instructor, Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary,St. Catharines, Ont.) and Rev. Dr. Glenn Schaeffer (ABC District mission executive).

On Sunday, September 18, those attending the PAT conference dispersed throughout Winnipeg to attend Divine Service at congregations in the city. During the afternoon, Rev. Dr. Neitzel spent time discussing LCC’s mission program, strategic plan and the future of the PAT program.

“These men are preparing to serve specific Lutheran faith communities where their cultural background and language skills allow them to build strong relationships,” said Dr. Neitzel. “We thank God for their commitment to the PAT program, to their congregations and most especially to their Lord.”

Concordia Lutheran Mission Society provided funding assistance for the conference.

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