DUBUQUE, IA – September 4, 2014 –Wartburg Theological Seminary publicly launched a $22 million fundraising campaign on September 4, 2014. The Engaging God’s Future Campaign will strengthen the church through the formation of servant leaders for God’s mission at Wartburg Theological Seminary. Graduates of Wartburg are valued for their strong faith, theological depth, practical wisdom, collegial spirit, and love for people. These leaders emerge from Wartburg Seminary, called to serve Christ’s church, enlivening faith, and engaging God’s future in the hearts and lives of God’s people.
“The Engaging God’s Future Campaign gives me the opportunity to talk to people about Wartburg’s unique story in mission. It also challenges me to support what WTS is and does: forming faith leaders for God’s future. It is a privilege to give back in these ways for the many gifts Wartburg has given to me, and the church,” said Campaign Co-Chair, Rev. Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl.
The Engaging God’s Future Campaign is an invitation to invest in God’s mission and in the formation of leaders at Wartburg Theological Seminary through gifts to sustain mission, enhance innovation in learning, increase scholarships for students, and strengthen the future of the church through theological education.
“Campaigns represent transformational moments for institutions. This Engaging God’s Future Campaign comes at a transformational moment for Wartburg. Much hard work and the partnerships of many have contributed to a strong financial turnaround for Wartburg Seminary. The launch of the public phase of this campaign is an opportunity to continue building on this success,” said Dr. Stanley N. Olson, President of Wartburg Theological Seminary.
Chair of the Board of Directors and Campaign Co-Chair, Rev. Stephen Cornils, said, “Wartburg is in a very good place after finishing its fifth consecutive year in the black. This is a result of careful spending and generous giving and now we have great momentum for building toward Wartburg’s preferred future through the Engaging God’s Future Campaign.”
The Engaging God’s Future Campaign emphasizes building a base of foundational support for the core mission of the seminary through gifts to the Wartburg Seminary Fund. Consistency and growth in annual support is the top priority of this campaign, because these gifts provide necessary operating support for the seminary’s ongoing mission each year. “
A seminary simply cannot be sustained without a strong base of donors who are committed to giving each and every year. More than 30% of Wartburg Seminary’s operating budget comes from annual gifts. This is an essential aspect of how theological education is supported in the ELCA and it’s essential in Engaging God’s Future. Through this campaign, we want to engage the people of the church who care about the future of the church and recognize the value of strong servant leadership,” said Olson.
Engaging God’s Future also seeks to enhance leadership formation through program innovation. As the church changes and new leadership skills are needed, a balance of continuity and readiness to adapt will best prepare leaders for the challenges of the church of the 21st Century. Through program innovation, Wartburg holds close its distinctive worship-centered community of learning, while also adapting to changing needs of the church. For example, Wartburg is launching a new Learning for Life program that uses online courses and intensive times on campus to make excellent theological education available to people everywhere.
And, finally, Engaging God’s Future will build the Wartburg Seminary Endowment through current and future gifts for scholarships and general endowment, thereby addressing student debt concerns and strengthening the foundation that comes with a generous endowment.
President Olson concluded, “Engaging God’s Future is an invitation to all who care about the future of Christ’s church—congregation and community members from the areas Wartburg serves, all our own graduates, and others. Wartburg is beginning its 161st year of service, and we are beginning with effective and efficient programs, with sustainable financial strength and with the church’s growing need for new servant leaders. I invite all to be part of the mission opportunities God is providing.”
Wartburg Theological Seminary is one of eight theological schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Wartburg was established in Dubuque, Iowa in 1854 and is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and educates women and men to serve the church’s mission as ordained and lay leaders.