Dear St. Luke Family,
I want to take the opportunity to thank you for your continued and very generous support during my pastoral formation at Concordia Seminary St. Louis. Your support–both spiritual and financial–continues to be a huge blessing! We could not dream of being here without the care of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ like you. We are constantly humbled at the generosity and providence that God blesses us with through you and others.
I continue to study and learn here at the seminary, and I grow more and more eager to enter the ministry each day. As I learn, I also have more and more respect for those already in the ministry. My thoughts go back to the pastors, church workers, and godly members at St. Luke that I was so blessed to be impacted by and served by as I grew up!
St. Luke will always have a special place in my heart and it will always be home. I am eternally indebted to St. Luke for my upbringing in the faith. We have an awesome God who uses our family in Christ to bring us up and grow us in faith! We are so blessed to have such a wonderful church family in St. Luke!
I have begun to preach and help lead worship at my fieldwork church here in St. Louis, and I am very excited to acquire more skills in practical ministry before my vicarage starts next summer. As I finish classes for the fall quarter, I continually find myself in awe of our God.
If I were to identify the biggest thing I’ve learned at seminary so far, it is that everything leads back to his grace. The grace of Christ is radical. The deeper I dig into theology as I take classes, the more I am humbled to learn how gracious, loving, and intimate God is toward us.
Yet, if I had gone to seminary thinking I was going to learn deeply complicated theological concepts and truths, I have also been humbled to realize how profound the simple Christian truths are that I learned growing up in church. I often find myself walking out of class appreciating and reminiscing about growing up and learning about Jesus at St. Luke. Church family is something to be cherished. Nowhere else is there a more significant bond built upon radical grace, fantastic hope, and unconditional love than that among brothers and sisters in Christ.
As I reflect upon spiritual family, Christa and I are also thrilled to be expanding our family as brand-new parents. Our daughter, Charis Susanna Petzold, was born at 5:36 a.m. on Monday, October 21st at a whopping 6 lbs., 1 oz. and 18½ inches. She is an absolute joy, likes to sleep by day and party at night, and looks exactly like I would as a baby girl.
As we were ready to start a family, Charis is an answer to our prayers and a constant reminder of God’s abundant love and gift of undeserved grace–hence the name. Charis is Greek for “grace,” which is something I am eager to tell her all about as she grows up. We cannot wait to have her baptized at ULC on November 24th.
Your support has blessed us profoundly during our time at the seminary. God has used your help, support, and love to enable our family to pursue this calling. It is amazing to see the love of God in such generous ways through all that you have done for us! May the Lord bless you as you have blessed us, and may God be glorified and the love of Christ proclaimed above all else!
Thank you so very much for your love and generosity to us and to the Lord.
as a fellow member in Christ and of St. Luke.