Welcome home, welcome back, welcome everyone, to the start of a new academic year at Warburg Theological Seminary. I am so delighted to welcome all the members of this year’s teaching and learning community, whom God has gathered through the power of the Holy Spirit to constitute this particular iteration of the body of Christ in this time and place. Thank you for saying yes to God’s call, and for bringing your gifts to this community. We need each other to grow together, this year and beyond.
This year in particular, I am especially excited to share with you Wartburg Seminary’s new Strategic Plan, which will guide our missional activity in the next three years, as we faithfully participate in God’s mission in the world. Please click here to link to the entire Strategic Plan, and let me lift out just a few highlights.
The title of the Plan is “Rooted and Renewing,” and point to the reality that Wartburg is both rooted in our longstanding historical commitments, and also constantly renewing the strong theological formation that happens here. The Plan has three overarching directions, which shape the commitments and goals that follow from them: diversity, care, and communication.
By diversity, we mean cultivating an inclusive sense of belonging for all of God’s children. Rooted in our historic commitments to the global church, cross-cultural engagement, and open questions, we are forming leaders who can develop Christian communities and congregations that are places of reconciliation and bridge-building in society. And today, Wartburg Seminary is reaching: continually renewing our RIC, Anti-Racist and Indigenous-affirming commitments, educating the next generation of public ministers who can invite congregations to live in the grey and create more purple, forging unusual friendships and fostering challenging conversations.
By care, we mean intentionally tending to our most valuable resources: first and foremost, our students, staff, and faculty; and secondly, the physical campus we call home. We are investing in our community now for the sake of the future needs of the church. Finally, by communication we are pointing to our plans to strengthen the connective tissue that binds us all together as church around the world, deepening historic partnerships and forging new ones, and sharing with clarity and joy our own identity—our mission, vision and values that guide our work. Rooted in our longstanding relationships with both ELCA synods, offices, and congregations and also LWF partner churches and communities, we are reaching out to new communities to listen actively and learn about them, their cultures, and our own participation in systems of oppression.
I look forward to the ways that together, we will live into the ambitious vision of this new Strategic Plan in coming year. May God bless our work, for the sake of the flourishing of the gospel in the world God loves so much.
Kristin Johnston Largen
President, Wartburg Theological Seminary