Trinity's New Beginnings                                                                                                    January 10, 2018


New Wineskins

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”  (Mark 2.22)

This week I am at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree, Arizona, for a meeting of the ELCA seminary leaders. Trinity friends, alumni, and supporters are well aware of the changes and challenges that our seminary has been facing in recent years.  It’s helpful for us to remember that such changes and challenges are not unique to Trinity. As I begin my work as Dean of Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University, I look forward to thoughtful conversation with the leaders of our sister institutions.

When the ELCA came into being in 1988, it had eight independent seminaries. Today there are seven ELCA seminaries. Three, including Trinity, have been incorporated into ELCA universities. Another, United Lutheran Seminary, is the result of the merger of two formerly independent seminaries. Three other seminaries remain freestanding. But institutional structures tell only one part of the story. The heart of theological education is not about the number of seminaries or the number of church leaders needed and trained. Rather, the heart of theological education is forming wise and faithful leaders to witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ in word and action.

I am currently reading the book, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory, by Tod Bolsinger. The author uses the Lewis and Clark expedition as a metaphor for leadership. Lewis and Clark set out as river explorers, expecting familiar terrain along their route. When they reached the Rocky Mountains, the knowledge and skills they had been using up to that point in their journey were no longer adequate for the task. Their goal remained the same, but they had to improvise and adapt to new and unanticipated circumstances.

I trust you see the parallels. Trinity Lutheran Seminary and its predecessor institutions have been forming leaders for Christ's church at work in the world for almost 200 years, but the terrain in 2018 looks very different from the terrain of 1830 or 1988 or even 2001. Carrying out our mission faithfully requires adaptive change on our part. Forming effective leaders requires instilling in our students the ability to read and respond to the landscape as it changes. As we journey together into uncharted territory, we will need to craft fresh wineskins to carry the sweet and abundant wine of the Gospel.

The Rev. Kathryn A. Kleinhans, Ph.D.


Upcoming Events
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Learning - January 15, 2018
Save the date for MLK Day of Learning at Capital University on Monday, January 15, 2018
Capital University is pleased to announce its MLK Day of Learning Speaker will be coach Herman Boone, whose story was captured by the monumentally popular Disney film "Remember the Titans." 

In 1971, racial tensions ran high in Alexandria, Virginia, as three schools were integrated to form T.C. Williams High School. Herman Boone—portrayed by Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, faced the challenge of a lifetime in uniting black and white players from previously rival schools in the newly-created Titan football team.
More information on this event as well as the schedule can be found at
Nelson W. Trout Lecture - April 26-27, 2018
Proudly celebrating the legacy and the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
These lectures bring God's message to life through the rich history and influence of African American Christianity.
Featured Speaker and Preacher: The Rev. Dr. Eboni Marshall Truman. Author, theologian and assistant professor of Theology and African American Religion at Yale University Divinity School. 

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