May, 2013 – A Seminarian’s Letters Home

To the membership of Circle of Faith Parish:

Greetings to you all from Pennsylvania! This will be my last article in which I can call myself a student at LTSP. My class and I graduate on May 21, and scatter to the four winds the following day. Many of my classmates will soon receive their first calls to parishes, and will be ordained in the next few months. My path will be somewhat different. Rather than seeking a call immediately, I will be returning home to Circle of Faith for the summer, where I will be working with you all, helping out with pastoral visitation and worship, from the end of May to the middle of August. In the fall, I will be moving to Evanston, IL to begin working on my PhD at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. I’m looking forward to being home and to visiting with many of you over the summer, and helping out with some projects we are doing.

It was three years ago this month that I began writing this article. Think how much has changed for us since that time! Three years ago, we as congregations were all in completely different places. Now we are joined together, working on fulfilling the mission to which God has called us. On my first Sunday with you, I’ll be talking a bit about that. We will also have many opportunities to chat about it in person over the summer months.

As my journey as a seminarian here in Philly comes to an end, I have many memories of where the Holy Spirit was among us all during these four years, as we will soon celebrate on the Feast of Pentecost. The Spirit was there, guiding us on wanderings through city streets, during intense debates in the classroom, and through tough times on our practical learning experiences. It’s comforting to know that, wherever we as a class go next, and wherever we as Circle of Faith go next, the Holy Spirit will be there, and will never lose the way.

Journeying outward to ventures unknown, let us pray for God’s blessing, using these words:

Almighty and ever-living God, you fulfilled the promise of Easter by sending the gift of your Holy Spirit. Look upon your people gathered in prayer, open to receive the Spirit’s flame. May it come to rest in our hearts and heal the divisions of word and tongue, that with one voice and one song we may praise your name in thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. [ELW, Vigil of Pentecost]

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Your fellow member and pilgrim,
Carl P. Rabbe
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia