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January 05, 2022

By The Rev. Kathryn A. Kleinhans, Ph.D., Dean of Trinity Lutheran Seminary

Sounds of Change

“Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” (Mark 4:23)

Have you ever listened to the sound of a frozen lake? Underneath even the thickest layers of ice, there is water moving. In parts of the upper Midwest, ice fishing is popular because anglers know that water is flowing and fish are swimming even when the surface of the lake is frozen solid.

When it’s quiet out, you can hear the sound of change beneath the ice: a light but sharp cracking sound as the ice shifts ever so slightly. When the sun is out, or if it warms just a few degrees, those little cracking sounds begin to come faster and faster — crack, crack, crack, almost like a string of tiny firecrackers. On the frozen surface of the lake, nothing looks different, but that quiet crackling bears witness that change is happening and that even bigger change is on the way.

My family spent Christmas vacation on a lake in Wisconsin, and the daily experience of crackling interrupting the stillness has shaped my attitude toward the new year and the new semester. So what are some of the sounds of change at Trinity as 2022 begins?

Today is the first day of classes in Spring Term, and we have fifteen new students joining us! Five are M.Div. students (four full-time, one part-time), four are MTS students (two full-time, two part-time), and another six students are not (yet) in degree programs. This is very strong for a mid-year entering cohort!

Students who began their studies last fall are beginning their field work placements now. Whether you know field work at Trinity as “Leadership in Context,” “Learning in Context,” or “Ministry in Context,” the point is the same: the opportunity to apply one’s classroom learning in a particular ministry context.

Second-year MDiv students will soon receive their internship placements. This will be the seventh year that we have sent students out into Trinity’s two-year internship program. Four classes now have graduated in this curriculum, and we continue to rejoice in how their learning, their ministry, and their sense of pastoral identity have been deepened by an extended internship placement.

This year marks the move of the annual Nelson W. Trout Lectures from April to January. The dates are January 20-21. Begin the week honoring Dr. King and his legacy, and end the week learning from this year’s Trout speaker, ELCA Metropolitan Chicago Synod Bishop Yehiel Curry. There’s still time to register.

Here at Trinity, January 2022 is full of anticipation! May it be so for you as well! Be still for a moment, and listen for the sounds of God at work below the surface!

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

Trinity Lutheran Seminary forms leaders for Christ’s church at work in the world.