Calls accepted and another call extended

On October 7, Pastor Jonathan Bare accepted the call to succeed Prof. E. Allen Sorum as Director of the Pastoral Studies Institute (PSI) and to serve as a member of the seminary faculty. Originally called in 2016 to serve as International Recruitment Director for PSI, Prof. Bare now officially serves as the administrative leader of the PSI team. During the past five years, the PSI team, working in conjunction with WELS missions, has assisted with the training of pastors in mission fields throughout the world.

On October 17, Prof. David Bivens accepted the call to join the PSI team, to replace Prof. Brad Wordell, who agreed to serve as the director of Grow in Grace, the seminary’s institute for continuing education. Half of Prof. Bivens’s time will be dedicated to the work of the PSI team and half to service as a professor of New Testament and homiletics. Professor Bivens joined the faculty in 2020. His experience with world missions will be a blessing to the work of the PSI team. He served as a missionary in Brazil (2003–2009) and is currently serving WELS world missions as the chairman of the Africa Administrative Committee.

On October 28, the seminary’s governing board issued a call to Pastor Paul Waldschmidt to teach Christian education and Old Testament. This call was necessitated by Prof. Kock’s decision to return to parish ministry at Atonement, Milwaukee, WI. A 1999 graduate who also earned an STM in Christian education from the seminary in 2020, he currently serves as pastor at Peace, Hartford, WI. He is also a circuit pastor and member of the nominating committee for the Southeastern Wisconsin District. In addition, he is serving as editor of the “Teach the Word” newsletter published jointly by Northwestern Publishing House, WELS Discipleship, and the seminary.

On November 7, Pastor Joel Russow announced that he had decided to accept the call to serve as professor of practical theology (counseling) and systematic theology. A 2010 seminary graduate, he has served as pastor at Faith, Tallahassee, FL, since his assignment from the seminary. Pastor Russow is also currently serving the South Atlantic District as coordinator for the Commission on Discipleship, member of the Board of Appeals, and circuit pastor.

“We thank God for providing this answer to our prayers,” President Treptow said. “I know that Pastor Russow loves the parish ministry and hates to leave it, but he’s convinced that we need men who love serving as pastors preparing men for service as pastors. The Lord will make him a blessing to many in his service as a professor.”

Please pray for Pastor Russow and God’s people at Faith, Tallahassee, during this time of transition. Please also pray for the Waldschmidts and the congregation he serves while Pastor Waldschmidt prayerfully deliberates where he will serve with the gifts the Lord has given him.