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Strategic Partners

Get caught in our web! The very title “Project Connect” accurately describes our efforts to strengthen and support the long standing collaboration between ELCA institutions on the East Coast. The fact that three seminaries (Gettysburg, Philadelphia, and Southern) are responsible for implementing the grant indicates our commitment and ability to work collegially.
The Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries serves as the hub of this network, working with institutional and congregational partners affiliated with the twenty-one synods across Regions 7, 8, and 9. The Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries includes:

SeminarySeminary at PhiladelphiaSeminary at GettysburgLtss


Specifically, they include, but are not limited to:

Campus Ministry:Many prospective students attend private and state colleges and universities and are under the pastoral care of ELCA Campus Ministers during that time. Discernment Advocates will partner with Campus Ministers to provide opportunities for theologically sound vocational discernment. We also look to having a presence at regional and national Lutheran Student Movement gatherings to support and encourage the work of these partners.

Congregations and Pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA): 90 Parish Pastors (15-20 in each of the next 5 years) will be contracted as “Discernment Advocates” to implement much of the programming for grant events and will also serve as mentors to prospective ministerial candidates. Several congregations will serve as essential contexts for congregational immersion and mini-grant awards.

ELCA Church Colleges and Universities: ELCA colleges will be developing and implementing a college course on Vocation. Our hope is all ELCA schools in the East will offer the piloted model in years to come.

ELCA Outdoor Ministries: As a part of their annual training for summer staff, outdoor ministry sites will implement sessions on Lutheran Theology and understanding of vocation, using a resource already developed as part of Project Connect. Several camps will have current seminarians serving on their summer staff, aided by Project Connect scholarship funds. Discernment Advocates will partner with outdoor ministry sites to provide on-going mentoring for camp staff who may be discerning a call to public ministry.

Lutheran Services in America (LSA): Lutheran Services in America creates opportunities for people in thousands of communities throughout the United States and the Caribbean as an alliance of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the nearly 300 Lutheran health and human service organizations that offer healing and hope to one in every 50 Americans through services such as health care, housing, adoptions, disability, and aging support neighbor to neighbor.  Explore possibilities for summer or part-time employment, volunteer opportunities or other ways to experience the work of Lutheran social ministry organizations by contacting the Project Connect office.

Lutheran Volunteer Corps: Discernment Advocates will serve as liaisons to the six houses in the East providing support and mentoring to volunteers who are discerning a call to public ministry.

Regional and Synod staff: Regional Coordinators and synod staff have much contact with prospective students, particularly through the ELCA candidacy process. We will look to support their efforts and increase these connections. In particular, Discernment Advocates will serve as liaisons to Synod Youth Ministry Coordinators, with an emphasis on having a presence at synodical youth events.

Project Connect is an initiative of the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries. Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Funded by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc.

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