The Commencement Service for Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary, which included both the assignment of calls and graduation of students, occurred on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Trinity Chapel. Prof. Adolph Harstad served as preacher, Pres. Gaylin Schmeling served as liturgist, the Rev. Herbert Huhnerkoch represented the Board of Regents, and Mr. John Baumann was the organist. The sermon was based on Romans 10:5–15 with the theme “It’s Better than Rocket Science and Brain Surgery, But Much Less Complicated.” Prof. Harstad explained from the words of Paul and Moses that both the Law and the Gospel are very clear and accessible to everyone. No one has to search above, below, or across the oceans to find either of them and learn what they mean. They are as close as our mouths and hearts when we speak and believe them. But Law and Gospel are also completely different from each other. Only one of them can bring God’s own righteousness to sinners condemned by the Law of Moses. The Ministry of the Gospel is not complicated. It consists of four things: God’s clear message of righteousness freely given through Jesus, a messenger with “beautiful feet” to deliver the message, an audience to hear it, and a “call” to proclaim it publicly. That’s not rocket science or brain surgery. It’s better and less complicated. The four men being assigned have the privilege of carrying out this wonderful work. They have “beautiful feet” as they run with God’s Gospel.
In this service, Professor Adolph Harstad was recognized for 26 years of faithful service to the seminary upon his retirement. He has led our seminary Old Testament studies and has distinguished himself as an author of several excellent commentaries.
Graduates from the seminary with a Master of Divinity degree were Aaron Ferkenstad and Kurtis Freimuth. Aaron Ferkenstad was assigned as pastor of King of Grace Lutheran Church (Golden Valley, Minesota) and Kurtis Freimuth was assigned as pastor of Peace Lutheran Church (Kissimmee, Florida). Noah Thompson was assigned as vicar of St. John’s Lutheran Church (Frankenmuth, Michigan) and Christian Walz was assigned as vicar of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Indianola, Iowa).
Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary held its annual Commencement Service on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. This annual service features both the Graduation of the students who have completed the seminary program, and the Assignment of Calls for pastoral candidates and vicars. This year two men graduated with M.Div. degrees: Aaron Ferkenstad and Kurtis Freimuth.
The assignments were as follows:
- Aaron Ferkenstad—King of Grace Lutheran Church, Golden Valley, Minnesota
- Kurtis Freimuth—Peace Lutheran Church, Kissimmee, Florida
- Noah Thompson—St. John’s Lutheran Church Frankenmuth, Michigan (under Rev. Jeff Luplow)
- Christian Walz—Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Indianola, Iowa (under Rev. Robert Harting)
We pray for God’s blessings on these men as they preach the Gospel to His flocks.
The seminary commencement service will be held on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. in Trinity Chapel. The Rev. Adolph Harstad will be the preacher, President Gaylin Schmeling will serve as liturgist, and the Rev. Herbert Huhnerkoch will represent the Board of Regents. The following will graduate from the seminary with a Master of Divinity degree: Aaron Ferkenstad and Kurtis Freimuth.
Following the commencement service, there will be a reception in Honsey Hall honoring the graduates and Prof. Adolph Harstad for his 26 years of faithful service at Bethany Seminary on his retirement.
Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. Timothy R. Schmeling has accepted the divine call to serve as Professor of Old Testament, Symbolics, and Church History. He will assume his new role at the seminary in Fall 2017.
He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Theology and History at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota. Prior to that he was a parish pastor in Sebastian, Florida and served his vicarage in Ukiah, California. He holds a Ph.D. from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri; an M.Div. from Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary; and a B.A. from Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minnesota. He and his wife, Annette, live in Mankato with their two children. God bless his work among us teaching the next generation of pastors for the ELS.