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May 21, 2014

It's Over

I can't believe it.  Yes, I have a few class meetings left, but for all intents and purposes my second year at the seminary is over.  No summer school in my future, so all I have is work and packing before Marie and I go visit her family in Florida.  Then Molly's wedding in Alabama.  Then off to Texas!  I can't believe it's almost here.  It's so exciting yet so weird to think about at the same time.  In just over two years I will be Reverend Timothy Roth, and I will have a Masters degree.  In two years I will be getting ready to head off to who knows where.  Maybe back to Texas.  Maybe to Wisconsin.  Maybe to Florida or Washington or New York.  We will see what the future brings us.

I am just ready for vicarage.  I am ready to get my hands dirty in the ministry.  Sometimes I can't believe that God has called me to this task.  Sometimes I can'r believe that He has chosen me, a poor, miserable, broken sinner, to do His work on the earth.  It just blows my mind.  I just pray that when I stand before Him face to face, He will tell me that I've done well and made Him proud.

Heavenly Father, please be with me.  Encourage me and strengthen me.  Help me to serve you and be faithful to you.  In your Holy Name I pray, Amen.

May 13, 2014

End of Year Two

Wow, I can't believe it has been two years already.  So much has happened.  When I first started classes at the seminary, Marie and I had only been married for five months and living together for a couple of weeks.  Summer Greek brought with it my first friends at the seminary.  It also brought with it lots of homework and studying.  Marie was trying to get acclimated to a new city and find employment.  That was a record summer for St. Louis.  Hot, humid, temps over a 100 for a month straight with humidity about 90%.  We were in a small, one bedroom apartment, with one tiny wall air conditioning unit and one window.  It was miserable, but we were happy together.

As that year moved on, I moved into Hebrew, then into introductory classes like Lutheran Mind, Intro to Historical Theology, Pastoral Ministry, Worship, and the like.  I really enjoyed when we started getting into the heavier stuff.  As we advanced, it became evident that I am a practical and systematic guy.  History and exegesis is just not my thing.  My favorite classes have definitely been the ones that I have taken with Dr. Hartung (Marriage and Family Care, Pastoral Care in the Human Experience, Congregational Dynamics) and Dr. Bierman (Systems I, Systems II, Systems III).  I also really enjoyed my Worship class with Professor Johnson.

In fieldwork, I was able to see a congregation transform before my eyes.  From an intentional interim to a full time pastor.  From hurting and frustrated to loving and healing.  It has been great to walk alongside Pastor Sell as he has hung on during a wild ride.  He has also challenged me and pushed me and has helped me gain more confidence in my ability to lead a worship service.  Julie, the music director, has also been great.  I still remember her first day there.  I went up to her to introduce myself and make sure she felt welcomed.  There are several other friends that we have made in the congregation that have made us feel at home there.  While I am excited to leave for vicarage, but it will be hard leaving Our Savior and the wonderful people there.

And then there is Levi.  Marie and I had no intention of even thinking about kids until after the seminary.  When we found out Marie was pregnant we were shocked and scared.  We had no idea what we were doing or how we were going to afford this.  Fear quickly subsided to joy, however.  We began looking for a new apartment, and learning about medicaid, and going to birthing and parenting classes.  When the final month came, I was so excited every time I looked at Marie I would just shout "BABY! BABY! BABY!"  Then came the day.  I'm glad we did not know his gender or pick out names before hand.  It was such an amazing day as we met our baby I'm sure I remember much more than Marie.  It was one of the most beautiful, amazing things I have ever seen.  I still get emotional when I remember it.  That was almost nine months ago.  Where has time gone?  Levi is no longer the newborn I held in my arms that day.  We are so proud of Levi.  He is such a happy baby and we love him so much.

I can't wait to see what the next year brings!