In Life Together: Finding Ways to Foster the Growth of Relationships

Members of Life Together, the student body government of Trinity Lutheran Seminary, began the 2012-13 academic year with intentional discernment about its purpose and mission for the seminary community as a whole. Through intentional prayer, conversation, and group study, Life Together developed a new mission statement that it hopes will keep them moving in the right direction: “Life Together exists to acknowledge and participate in the Holy Spirit’s creation of Christian community. Life Together hopes to impact seminary life by fostering an awareness of the need for community rooted in the love of God and all creation. Our role is simply to promote and fund activities that encourage prayer, worship, small group development, challenging and candid conversations, shared meals, and laughter and play.”

The central importance is the group's recognition that Christian community is created by and a gift from God and has little to do with our own desire for it to form. In Dietrich Bonhoeffer's work, Life Together, from which the seminary's group derives its name, he states: “On innumerable occasions a whole Christian community has been shattered because it has lived on the basis of a wishful image… Christian community is not an ideal we have to realize, but rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we participate.” In light of this, the seminary's Life Together group spent the 2012-13 academic year promoting and funding activities that foster the growth of relationships in the midst of work and classes. We believe that through these relationships we are witnessing the development of a Christian community based not on functioning perfectly or on lofty ideals of behavior, but on our (sometimes messy) reality and on unconditional support, fun, and love.

To that end, Life Together provided the opportunity for shared meals and fellowship during holiday times when some students are unable to be with family; helped seminarians to travel to Brooklyn, New York, to participate in mold remediation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy; sponsored intentional interfaith conversations in the wider Columbus area; developed a program of health promotion; and are exploring ways of creating a common space on campus for students, faculty, and staff to meet, gather, relax, converse, or study.

By its very nature, this seminary community will constantly evolve to meet the needs of the dynamic and ever-changing student body. The seminary looks with great excitement toward the future and for what it is training students to be in the world: leaders who know the value of relationships and treasure the Spirit’s gift of community made known through the love of neighbor.

Caring Services

Spiritual Direction

caring services 01Trinity is blessed to have the Spirituality Network, Inc. at our disposal. That organization trains Spiritual Directors through a two-year Well Spring program of courses and retreats. As a result the city is rich with Spiritual Directors prepared to pray and guide your thoughts about God and life. You can be matched with someone by contacting them at (614) 228-8867, The offering for spiritual directors ranges from $25-$65 per session or a donation based on ability to pay. No one is refused direction due to lack of funding. (Note: Trinity has a fund to assist students in paying for direction.)

The staff at the Spirituality Network conduct a Retreat for Busy People on our campus each winter, allowing students to experience spiritual direction during the course of a month. The option remains to continue in direction or to conclude at the end of the retreat. The Spirituality Network also sponsors many one day events, retreats, lectures and seminars in the course of the year.

Worship and Devotionals

Worship is a pivotal activity in the lives of church leaders. Students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to attend worship services, Monday - Thursday at 10:00 a.m. during the academic year. It is there that we hear God's word, praise our Creator, receive forgiveness, affirm our baptism, pray for healing, and support those who preach, lead music, and engage in worship leadership.

For almost 10 years now, all in the seminary community (students, faculty, staff, alumni council members, donors, and samplarians) receive a copy of the Daily Texts, which include Bible verses and prayers for each day of the year. We are encouraged to spend a few minutes each day giving thanks, offering regrets, praying intercessions, and planning actions based on the verses. The scripture passages often have a word to the community in the midst of life in this place.

Emergency Contact Book

Trinity maintains a ready reference book of contact information for faculty, staff, and students in the event that an emergency arises. Forms to provide that information are available at the Orientation Fair and throughout the year.

Volunteering for Community Service

Columbus has many opportunities to make a difference for the less fortunate in our community. Why not consider giving a few hours of time each month at one of the following locations:

Mid-Ohio Food Bank

1625 West Mound Street
Columbus, Ohio 43223
Phone: (614) 274-7770
Volunteer Contract Person: Beverly Thompson
Teams are needed to pack supplemental food boxes for the elderly or to process donated food from grocery stores.

LSS Choice Food Pantry

1460 South Champion Avenue (at the corner of Freebis Avenue)
Columbus, Ohio 43206
Phone: (614) 443-4508
Volunteer Contact Person: Dave Drumm
People are scheduled to stock shelves and assist clients with filling their grocery orders.

Faith Mission

315 East Long Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: (614) 224-6617 ext. 2171
Volunteer Contact Person: Julian Simmons
Groups can prepare and/or serve meals 365 days a year for homeless men and women. Other jobs are also available at the shelter in the computer center and supply room.

Habitat for Humanity

3140 Westerville Road
Columbus, Ohio 43224
Phone: (614) 414-0427
Volunteer Contact Person: Deb Light

Thrivent Builds

Volunteer Contact Person: Bonnie Reilly
Phone: (614) 396-4130
Volunteers are needed in the resale store to organize donated items. Volunteers are also needed at the construction sites for the houses being built jointly by Habitat and Thrivent Financial.

Other Resources

The Bible Society has published The Poverty and Justice Bible in the contemporary English version. Some 2,100 verses are highlighted that deal with hunger, poverty, and justice issues; CEV Poverty and Justice Paperback ISBN 9780564094530.


Why We Worship

God is Worthy

We worship because God is worthy of worship. We worship because Word, Sacrament, and the Gathering are the places where Jesus has explicitly promised to be with us … so while Jesus is free to be present in other places (sleeping, reading, studying in the library, etc.) there is wisdom in this idea: “If we want to be with Jesus, it makes sense to show up in the places where Jesus has promised to be!” Worship is one of those.


Worship is also part of formation for leadership. In worship we learn how to lead and to follow. Most important, worship in this community teaches us that we are truly and fully worshiping even when we are leading! We come to “check out” how colleagues, visitors, pastors, bishops, and other guests exercise leadership and give public expression. Because liturgy at Trinity involves all members of the community, everyone gains practical experience and has the chance to experiment with a range of worship forms and styles.


Worship is the most reliable time and place to see each other. Faculty, students, and staff are all invited and expected and most are regular in their attendance. So in the pure face-to-face sense, worship is a community event. Worship also forms community in this way: it is here that we nurture one another in our vocations. Even acknowledging the inevitable presence of critical ears and eyes, we rejoice to see and support colleagues and friends who are preaching, playing music, leading, etc.

An Interesting Character

Worshiping in a roomful of “leaders” has an interesting character. A seminary is a community of individuals who are discerning their call to leadership in the church; but only a half dozen or so are ever “leading” worship at a time. That means that here you’ve got “leaders” playing the role of “followers”; “talkers” playing the role of “listeners”; “producers” playing the role of “consumers.” The down side of that is that inevitably such thoughts as, “I could do that better than she’s doing it,” creep into our heads.

WorshipThe up side is that seminary chapel is a surprisingly invigorating place to lead worship. We get all the jokes and we know enough about the nerves and stresses of leading worship that we give each other an appropriate amount of slack.

In the typical parish setting, the same core group of leaders (pastors, assisting ministers, lectors, and musicians) are in place week after week; so even as forms change, there is continuity of voice and underlying style. At seminary, leadership changes all the time. This means we are always adjusting to new voices, and styles. The gift of that is that we are great sight-readers. The seminary community in worship is quick up on the uptake and can stay with you even when you’re doing something new.

Principles Guiding Our Worship

  1. Doxological … the first thing about worship is this: We worship because God is worthy of praise
  2. Trinitarian
  3. Evangelical
  4. Biblical
  5. Celebrative
  6. Reverent
  7. Liturgical (day by day worship follows traditional patterns more often than not; season by season we follow the lectionary and the liturgical year)
  8. Reflective of the worship life in our constituent church bodies
  9. Owned by all members of the community
  10. Formational

NOTE: We recognize that these priorities will, at times, be in conflict and when that happens we rely on God’s dialogical and reconciling Spirit.

Trinity Lutheran Seminary Worship


The Trinity Lutheran Seminary community gathers for worship at 10:00 a.m. each Monday through Thursday when classes are in session, usually in Schenk Chapel or the Gloria Dei Worship Center. The Wednesday 10:00 a.m. service is a 55-minute Eucharist (Lord’s Supper). The Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 10:00 a.m. services are normally 20-25 minutes in length. On these days, the worship may be a service of Morning Prayer, a Service of the Word with preaching, or a contemplative service such as Taizé. All are welcome. We also celebrate the opportunities through Embrace Ministries and the Kerns Religious Life Center of Capital University: Every Monday at 12:30, students, faculty, and staff gather together for thirty minutes of Mindfulness and Meditation in Stegemoeller Lounge. Every Thursday at 9:09PM, Embrace hosts Candleight Worship, a band-led event centered around praise, prayer, peaching, and conversation. All are welcome at these University-sponsored meetings.

schenk worship 2013

*Please note that schedules are updated on a weekly basis.

For any questions about Trinity Lutheran Seminary worship, contact Pastor Drew Tucker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Community Life

Luther Bowl small


A theological seminary is more than an educational institution. It is also a community of Christians gathering in the name of Jesus to praise the Lord and to be empowered for mission. Stewardship of seminary education involves seeking the maximum possible involvement in the various dimensions of the seminary experience: academics, worship, ministry in context, community life, and special programs. Spouses and families are a valuable part of the Trinity community. Families are invited and encouraged to participate in daily worship and special events, to use the library and bookstore, and to become involved in support groups and special events.

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Worship stands at the center of the day’s activities with worship services in mid-morning when most students and faculty are on campus. Additional opportunities for morning, noon and early evening worship vary from year to year. Without such daily opportunities for corporate and private worship, the study of God’s truth becomes a hollow enterprise. Faculty and students share in the responsibility of planning and conducting daily worship under the direction of the Worship Life Coordinator. Special worship events are also held to give families an opportunity to worship and enjoy fellowship together. Our heritage invites us to employ traditional forms of the historic liturgy. It also invites us to newness and contemporary expression. Both forms aim at helping to foster a dynamic worship life at Trinity Lutheran Seminary.

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Life Together is the organization of Trinity Lutheran Seminary that has responsibility for the non-academic aspects of seminary life. Life Together draws its membership widely from students, faculty, and staff. Its work is carried out through regular meetings, through an Executive Committee, and through committees created each year in response to community concerns, gifts and interests. The president of the student body serves as president of Life Together, and the Dean of Leadership Formation serves as consultant. Student officers are elected each September: presidents and vice presidents of the student body, of the Junior, Middler, and Senior M.Div. classes, and of M.T.S. and M.A. students. Each president is a member of Life Together and gives leadership to community life at Trinity. The vice presidents and the Dean of Leadership Formation serve as the Special Needs Committee, which designates recipients of offerings from the weekly eucharists.

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Integrative Groups, consisting of a faculty person and his/her advisees, provide a supportive small group for fellowship, nurture, formation, care, worship planning, and academic planning. M.Div., M.T.S., M.A., S.T.M., and other residential students participate in weekly meetings along with the faculty member. All full-time students are expected to participate in I-Group. Part-time students will be assigned to an I-Group and encouraged to attend. Non-degree students may attend I-Group. Each I-Group is expected to develop its own style in response to individual needs and resources of the group, to choose its own pattern of activities and to elect a convener.

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Student Diversity

In fall 2014, full time students made up about 53% of Trinity’s student body.

Of the full time students:
66% were male
34% were female

Using ethnic categories reported to the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics*:
97% were non-Hispanic white
0% were black or African American
0% were Asian
2% were international students
0% were of Hispanic/Latino background
2% were two or more races

Of the part time students:
58% were male
42% were female

Using the same ethnic categories as above:
79% were non-Hispanic white
19% were black or African American
2% were Asian
0% were of Hispanic/Latino background
0% were two or more races
0% were ethnicity unknown

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*Percentages may be more or less than 100% due to rounding

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Part of the experience of seminary is the support of the growth and development of the whole person--body, mind and spirit. Resources are available throughout the community to contribute to that development. They are outlined in the Community Life Handbook, which is distributed each fall. Trinity’s daily worship life, the presence of those who have been trained in spiritual direction, pastoral care by area pastors, interactions with many clergy within the seminary community, workshops, referrals to area social and interpersonal professionals, and community events contribute to strengthening the multiple dimensions of resiliency. Trinity Lutheran Seminary is dedicated to deepening the challenge and hope offered to each person in order to develop disciplines and perspectives that encourage health and wholeness. The Dean of Leadership Formation is available for consultation, pastoral care, conversation, prayer and discussion about personal challenges and resources that would be available through the seminary and community.

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In the interests of good order and Christian charity (see Matthew 18:15-17), complaints should if at all possible be directed first to the person most immediately responsible for the situation that gave rise to the complaint. If the issue cannot be resolved at that point, the complaint may be brought to the officer of the seminary most directly responsible for the area of concern.

He or she will attempt to resolve the matter according to seminary policy, and will advise the complainant on further steps to be taken if that proves necessary.

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Each student is expected to observe standards of conduct consistent with respect for the law, the fulfillment of contractual obligations, consideration for the rights of others, and a high level of personal integrity. The seminary reserves the right to suspend or dismiss at any time, in accordance with established procedures, any student whose conduct is judged unacceptable in the light of the policies published in the Community Life Handbook.

The community is committed to work toward justice and inclusiveness. Language and actions that are inclusive of all races, genders, and physical abilities are expected in worship, classes, assignments and conversation.

Trinity is smoke-free, i.e., smoking is prohibited except in designated areas. Trinity is drug-free, i.e., the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of chemical substances is prohibited.

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It is a policy of Trinity Lutheran Seminary to provide equal opportunity for all qualified persons. The seminary does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, or physical ability in administration of educational policies and financial aid programs. Trinity Lutheran Seminary is an equal opportunity employer and follows an affirmative action policy in the recruitment and hiring of faculty and staff. Policy statements concerning sexual harassment appear in the Faculty Handbook and the Community Life Handbook.

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Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

The seminary’s main building including library, the conference center, and one efficiency apartment building are accessible for wheelchair users. Two efficiency apartments are accessible by elevator and meet ADA requirements for the bathrooms. Each has its own washer and dryer.

Students who intend to request accommodation for a learning disability should submit the medical certification of the learning disability. Trinity currently provides adaptive technologies for computer aided assistance for the visually impaired and those with reading disabilities by converting paper documents into electronic text. The software capabilties include electronic reading with “follow along highlighting," enlarging the text for those with low vision, and changing colors to reduce eye strain. A writing tutor is available to all students. More specialized tutoring can be arranged for students with learning disabilities.

Other appropriate accommodations for physical disabilities or learning disabilities, to the extent that resources permit, can be made as the need arises.

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The Seminary Choir and the Liturgical Choir are open to students, faculty, staff, and their spouses and children. Although the choirs exist primarily to enhance the worship and musical life of the seminary, the Seminary Choir also sings for special events. Other vocal and instrumental groups are organized each year in response to student interest.

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In recent years students have come from Korea, Latvia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Australia. The international community includes both pastors and laypersons, most of whom are completing requirements for the Master of Sacred Theology or Master of Theological Studies degree. These students are a valued part of the seminary community, contributing a continuing witness to the global nature of the Christian Church.

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Career Services

Trinity graduates serve in a variety of roles and positions both within congregations and other settings. Graduates serve as pastors, youth and family ministers, educators, musicians, directors of advocacy, mission developers, college and seminary professors, camp counselors, bishops and other church leadership positions and more.

As a courtesy to the Trinity community, student ministry positions are posted on a regular basis by the Pastor to the Community and the Director of the M.A. in Church Music program. Openings are generally in the areas of Youth Ministry, Church Music, or Christian Education, plus some miscellaneous openings in congregations or service agencies.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America call process for rostered positions within the church includes assignment to regions and synods, as part of the process by which ELCA candidates find a placement. Other students also work with their judicatories.

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  • Community Life Handbook, which contains seminary policies and information about life and resources at Trinity, is revised and distributed to students each fall.
  • For the Living of These Days, a weekly in-house newsletter, includes a calendar and listing of events and announcements.
  • Obserflections, a special newsletter by interns for interns and the seminary community, is published three times each year.
  • Te Deum, an official seminary magazine, is published for graduates and friends, as well as the on-campus seminary community.
  • Trinity Seminary Review serves as a forum for discussing pertinent questions of theology and ministry. It features articles and book reviews written by faculty, alumni, and selected guest authors.
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 500 Years of the Reformation

2017 marks five hundred years since Martin Luther posted the Ninety-five Theses in Wittenberg, Germany. As we await this celebration in the church, we prepare for the milestone that 500 years is. In the coming months, we will feature different resources and publications here. We hope to engage you, in conjunction with Hamma Library, in celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation! For now, these two websites offer additional information about preparing for the anniversary and about the Reformation's history. 

        elca500        lutheranworld