By Ross Engel –
It took a while, but I have finally thawed out from the trip to Ft. Wayne and the Concordia Theological Seminary’s Symposia. It is always such a blessing to spend a week in the frigid cold, in fellowship with brother pastors and friends, to take the opportunity to meet professors, reconnect with old classmates, and meet the future pastors of our Synod.
I was unable to enjoy the fun at the Concordia Seminary St. Louis Symposia this past September. My wife might not have appreciated me enjoying theology and fellowship with the guys while she stayed at home with our (at that time) 4 day old son. Since I was not in attendance, I didn’t get the opportunity to select a St. Louis “Bell Ringer” this year. But, don’t worry St. Louis! I’ll be there this year and look forward to choosing a new representative from your campus! Be prepared!
In the midst of the ridiculously cold temperatures in Ft. Wayne, I had the great pleasure of meeting some great young men who are preparing for the Pastoral Office. With so many worthy candidates for the coveted title “Bell Ringer,” this year’s selection had to take into consideration the opinions of previous “Bell Ringer” recipients Rev. James Hopkins,
and 4th year seminarian Greg Bauch.
As you may recall, thanks to the Jagged Word and you, our industrious readers, each of our Bell Ringers have received around $300 cash to enjoy a cold beverage with their friends and to purchase a few books that will help them prepare for the Pastoral Office.
Recently, our lone St. Louis “Bell Ringer,” Vicar Rob Bailey, wrote to us and shared his own reflections on the importance of the preaching task and his desire to never let that task fall by the wayside. He expressed significant thankfulness for the support he has received through the Bell Ringer fund.
It’s now time to add another gentleman to the list of distinguished Jagged Word Bell Ringers. This year’s Bell Ringer is a 4th year seminarian named Michael Daniels.
I have yet to determine whether he is of any relation to a Mr. Jack Daniels from Tennessee, but what I can tell you about Michael is this: He is from Taylorsville, NC and graduated from Concordia Nebraska with a major in History and a minor in Philosophy. He is a well-dressed fellow who regularly sports a bow-tie and who wore a seersucker suit for his wedding. He is newly married to Emily a deaconess student who has always kindly put up with conversations with Paul and I as we yearly invade the Ft. Wayne Deaconess reception during Symposia. She may have been relieved that we talked her husband’s ear off instead of hers this year!
This past fall, Michael finished up his vicarage at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Terre Haute, IN. During his vicarage he was quite involved in campus ministry at both Indiana University and Rose Hulman. Both he and Emily have a great passion for campus ministry and enjoy working with young people and educating them about our Lutheran faith and heritage. He knows his theology quite well and is anxious to receive his first call this Spring and begin serving in the church wherever the Lord has need.
A member of the King’s Men, CTSFW’s basketball team, he also enjoys baseball, cigars, golf, single malt scotch, and, at least as far as we could tell, is a well-liked fella. When told that we had chosen him to be our Bell Ringer, he admits that he thought we were going to make him ring a bell on campus. He was a bit nervous as to what we were getting him involved in. Rest assured Michael, this won’t be too painful for you!
For those of you who might need a refresher, here is a quick snapshot of what the Jagged Word’s Bell Ringer Fund is:
Upon accepting this distinction we entrust to you the following guidelines
1) Do not write us a thank-you card! You have better things to do! However if you can send a pic of you buying a neighbor a drink we would appreciate it.
2) This money cannot be spent for bills or loans
3) This money must be used for the following 2 things:
a) Drinks with your friends
b) A book (or books) that will be beneficial to your pastoral formation
4) Spread the word about The Jagged Word and find us next year.
5) Know that you are not alone. Be faithful unto death!
This is your chance to help us adopt a seminarian. You have a chance to help us mentor them and support them as they prepare for the parish. This program is perfect if you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Gee whiz, I wish I could buy a seminarian a book and a beer.”
So, let’s once again open the donation button, show our generosity to this future pastor, and help him ring the bell with his friends!