Meet the Pals/Meet the Family!
We want to get to know the REAL you! While we are online this year, we want to get to know the faces (and love) of this group, so we are having this section of the Lowdown showcase our Lutheran Group family!!
If you did not get me a bio & picture in time, that's ok! Just send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get you in for the next week's Lowdown! CAN'T WAIT!!
(for pete's sake you all are famous)
The Returning Family:
"I am an MDiv Senior from the great state of Minnesota, which means my latest covid related grief is missing out on the best state fair in the land these past few weeks, and that I tried to make a deep-friend snickers bar to "have the state farm experience" yesterday... On an unrelated note my kitchen is a disaster. Pre-seminary I was a YAGM volunteer in Cambodia for a year and a middle school youth director, so if you love fish sauce or singing songs around a campfire, you are not alone. I love the WI Badgers, hiking, traveling, sourdough baking (I did this before covid made it cool, I promise), and eating spicy food. The pup in my pic is Jordy, she is perfect in every way but unfortunately I'm told she's "technically" my parent's dog because they "pay for her life" so she lives in Minnesota, at least for now."
"Hey everyone! I’m Missy, an MDiv senior and the VP of TLG at PTS. I am seeking ordination in the ELCA Metropolitan Chicago Synod, but I call many places “home,” including Nashville, Milwaukee, Brazil, Argentina, and Puerto Rico. I enjoy listening to podcasts, speaking Spanish and Portuguese, amassing more books than I could ever possibly read, discussing Christology and the Doctrine of God with Arminians, and dancing in front of my mirror to Africa by Toto. I can’t wait to get to know all of you!!"
"Hi all, I am Wing, a second-year Mdiv/MACEF student. I grew up in a Lutheran church in Hong Kong. I am an ambivert. Loves fine food and wine. Reading a book with a cup of hand-drip coffee (indie music at the back) is my go-to rainy day. This year, I am also the treasurer of the Asian Association at PTS. Last but not least, as you can see from the photo, I love anime."
Hi, everyone! My name is Taylor King and I am from Cedar Falls, Iowa. I am a second year dual degree student on the teaching track. I am affiliated with the Northeastern Iowa Synod. I look forward to meeting you all when I return to campus and seeing you on any video calls until then.
Hey guys, I'm Becca, and I'll be serving as Treasurer of the Lutheran Group this year. I'm a third-year in the MDiv/MACEF program, and I'm originally from Milwaukee, WI. I hope to meet you all in person soon!
Jeremy (they/them) is in the MDiv/MACEF program and is an ELCA pastoral candidate. They have a love for teaching, ministry & justice. A direct quote from Jeremy was, “Wengert made me Lutheran”.
Similar to gender neutral pronouns, they prefer gender neutral descriptors rather than gendered descriptors. An example of this would be Mx instead of Mr. and Zhr instead of Sir!
My name is Yelebephee (Yale for short) Alice Wilberforce, PTS infamous Class of 2020, Th.M. Sunday School Teacher & Adjunct faculty at ECWA Seminary pre-PTS.
I am from Taraba State, Northeast Nigeria. I love laughing and LOVE the Lord with everything He's blessed me with. The terrorist group, Boko Haram, taught me one crucial lesson: how life can be snipped in a second. So, I developed a mantra: live today like it's your last and while at it, recognize and uphold the dignity of persons by acknowledging their presences, treating them with respect, kindness, sympathy, empathy, understanding, and more. These are the values that guide and remind me to be gracious knowing that ". . . but for the grace of God!"
I am the face behind the Lowdown! I am a huge extrovert (borderline extreme) and I love running and hiking and being with people. I LOVE camp ministry and my two fave bible stories (if we’re allowed to have favorites?) is Jesus & Peter walking on water, as well as the story of the Samaritan woman at the well! I am from North Dakota but have also called South Dakota & Virginia home! My favorite foods are ice cream, macaroni & cheese, and french fries. My favorite color is blue and I am a chronic overstayer but I also love inviting people into my space and hoping they overstay as well so we can talk about everything in the whole world!! I love reading but would rather watch and quote the same movies over & over. My picture is a collage that gives a pretty good representation of me; normal on my favorite hike, or not normal and pretending to be Dwight from the Office.
Our New Family:
"I’m Victoria Callahan Giger. I also go by Tori. I’m a first year in the M.Div program seeking ordination in the ELCA. I have been a lifelong Lutheran!! I am so excited to meet everyone! I have worked in Lutheran Outdoor ministry for the past five summers at Camp Mount Luther in central PA. I love hiking, camping and hammocking!
This is me and my husband Kaleb at Camp Mount Luther where we were married on August 22, 2020!"
-St. Olaf College Class of 2016 (Psych and Exercise Science)
-Princeton Theological Seminary M.Div. Class of 2019
-Princeton Theological Seminary incoming Ph.D. student in Pastoral Theology
-Seeking approval status as Minister of Word in Service in ELCA
-Avid runner, choir singer, and jokester
"This is me at one of my favorite places in the world... somewhere in the middle of Madagascar. It’s quiet and strikingly beautiful. It’s a place to swim, to hike, to process all that life has dealt you and to dwell in the presence of God and your community. All of my favorite and most restorative things happened here once a year over the last five. I did not leave this graceful place with dry eyes."
Hello! I'm from Roanoke, Virginia and I have been a Lutheran all my life. I'm an MDiv junior in the process with the Virginia Synod. When I'm not studying I enjoy the outdoors, playing flute, and reading.
"I was a financial analyst near St. Paul, MN, for a year after graduating from St. Olaf College before sensing a call to ministry. I decided to leave the finance world to seek ordination in the ELCA. I'm passionate about helping people to grow in their faith and pursue Christ more than anything else, especially in a world where faith no longer seems relevant and many have been hurt or rejected by church. Besides this, I love playing tennis, mountain biking, and reading."
"I'm attaching a picture of myself and my cat, Theo, in our 2020 moods. Mine is pretty self-evident, and his is mostly excitement about me being home more with nothing to do but pay attention to him. I was torn, because I like to think I'm actually a pretty happy, excitable person, which is definitely not reflected in this picture, but it's recent and relevant and you get a cute cat out of the deal! I'm excited to meet everyone, in whatever form it takes!"
Our Deferred (but still valid!) Family!
"I was supposed to be studying at PTS this year, but decided, due to the pandemic, to defer my enrollment and complete my “Lutheran Year” this year at Wartburg Theological Seminary. Alas, I shall start my studies at PTS next fall. I recently graduated from the ELCA affiliated Wartburg College, where I studied religion. I am a candidate for ordination in the Northeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA. I currently reside in my parent’s basement and am really “living into” the persona of the “college graduate living in their parent’s basement.”
I love learning, especially about biblical and theological studies. I hope to pursue doctoral work after my Mdiv and become a New Testament Scholar. I really like church, and I really like community. While I am not present physically or academically for this year, I would still love to be a part of this community as much as possible for this year. This picture (which was taken during my visit to PTS this past February) shows a few fun things about myself. 1. I love pizza. 2. I like flannels. 3. I have gone bungee jumping (I got my shirt for free when I did it in New Zealand). 4. I think I am pretty fun and a little weird. I can’t wait to meet you all."
Our Alumni Family!
Hi, everyone. I am Hephzibah Penumaka, a PTS Alum, who graduated with a Master of Divinity in 2019. I am currently doing my internship at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in McLean, VA and is endorsed by Metro NY Synod. I am also an affiliate student at United Lutheran Seminary where I hope to complete my STM in a year or two. I have been missing PTS and all of you, especially those of you who were incoming Juniors when I was a Senior. I really loved being in the Lutheran Group and have fond memories of my time all my friends and Lutheran Professors, especially Dr. Rorem and Dr. Olson. I am sad to hear you can't do a lot of these wonderful activities in person, so I hope you get this experience before you graduate.
Enjoy your time at PTS and make the most of it - Asks questions, keep molding your theology, take difficult classes even if it is challenging, laugh at situations where things just don't make sense and make friends with those you might not agree with. It's how I met my best friend Veronica Gould, another PTS Lutheran Alum. We often had different perspectives on different Lutheran doctrines, ELCA theology, and our relationship with God. However, those conversations have really shaped both of me and we continue to create time in our schedules to talk with each other about our faith and time at PTS. Also take the time to read the whole Bible, even the parts you might want to skip over. This has helped me a lot in my faith formation and my sermon writing. This November will be my 5th time reading the whole Bible and I have learned something new each time. Overall, I wish you all the best with this academic year and your time at PTS. God bless and feel free to reach out to me through my email at HPenumaka@gmail.com.
Our Professor Family!
“I am Hanna Reichel (they/them), I am originally from Martin Luther’s own country and now teach (and learn!) Reformed Theology in these strange lands. But since Reformation has to do with allowing oneself to be reformed again and again by God’s grace and word, I guess that’s fine. Hot takes: IPA is not real beer, Karl Barth and Marcella Althaus-Reid go together quite well, and Mark (without the fake ending) is the best gospel.”
"The middle masked man here is me, Paul Rorem, faculty for medieval church history. It does not show you what I look like, but tells you some things about me. It was taken last spring at the exact hour of the commencement ceremony that could not occur (COVID, plus the pouring rain that morning), as I gave graduation presents to Miles Hopgood (PhD grad) and Zach Wright (past president of the Lutheran Group).
It tells you 1) that I go to church, although not there (Abiding Presence in Ewing where Miles is now pastor). I attend Prince of Peace, where his wife Kayla Peck Hopgood is now doing her internship and Becca Laabs is doing field education. (Come at 8:30 for the weekly outdoor communion service, and good preaching by Pastor Froehlke.)
It also tells you 2) that I like to give away Lutheran stuff to Lutheran students, whether brochures or journals (Lutheran Quarterly!) or books. Since we cannot have our monthly lunches, when I have often plopped give-away stuff on the table, I hope that somehow some of you can visit my Tennent office and take your pick as I downsize for the move to a home office upon retirement in June.
Welcome especially to the new Lutheran students!"