A few short weeks ago, we celebrated the graduation of six of our North American Lutheran Seminary students. These men and women completed the theological, biblical, and spiritual formation that was placed before them, and they did so with humility and quiet confidence. Two NALS students—among the entire group of seminarians at the NALS and Trinity School for Ministry—received awards for Excellence in Theology, Greek Exegesis, and Liturgical Excellence. While we are saddened to see these men and women move away from the NALS, we are filled with hope when we think of them serving at their internship sites or in their day-to-day jobs as leaders in the church. See below for updates from a few of our graduates—now alumni!
Ryan Henkel is currently at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Flatville, Illinois, serving as vicar to the congregation. Looking back at his time in seminary, Henkel deeply appreciates the formation that came from the rhythm of morning and evening prayer services. His own love of liturgy grew through the Daily Office and through classes with the Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin. To those among the North American Lutheran Church—whether pastor, layperson, or small group—who are interested in getting to know the NALS community and participating with us in worship, Henkel says, “Come visit us. Call us. We would love to share our stories with you.”
Brittany Jones is in the process of moving to Charleston, South Carolina, where she will be working in a chaplain residency program. Of her time at the NALS, Jones says, “I’ve seen myself grow in articulating the faith we have received and confess. I’ve learned how good, and also [how] challenging, it is to take time to really consider and reckon with how the reality that Jesus is Lord bears upon every aspect of life. It is truly such Good News!” She, too, commented on how “good and sweet and necessary” it is to gather together as the Body of Christ, to listen to his Word, and to come to his Table.
Jason Contangelo will be pursuing a Master’s of Fine Arts in Visual Art from the University of Buffalo starting this fall. His love of photography has been with him throughout his time at the NALS, and we are overjoyed that the Lord is leading him to follow that passion. “It was truly a gift to be able to study at the NALS,” Contangelo says, “and I hope that NALC members know how grateful we, the seminarians, are for their support and prayers.” Those prayers have helped Contangelo discern the direction in which the Lord has asked him to go, and Contangelo is thankful for that. “The call to [lay-ministry] isn’t always what one expects going into seminary, but the gracious support and prayers of the NALC have been wonderful in allowing us the time for study and contemplation that is necessary to discover where the Lord is calling us to be.”
On behalf of all of our alumni, students, faculty, and staff, we would like to say thank you to each and every one of you who have prayed for and encouraged us. It is only with your support that we are able to do the work God has called us to do: raise up the next generation of leaders within his church.