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Concordia Seminary Receives Renewal Grant for Exploring Church Careers Event

Concordia Seminary has been selected to receive a renewal grant of $75,000 from Lilly Endowment. The grant originates from Lilly’s “Theological Programs for High School Youth” initiative and supplements the $150,000 grant Concordia Seminary received in 1998 to assist in the process of identifying, informing and encouraging high school youth toward service in church work careers.

The grant will be used by Concordia Seminary to continue its Exploring Church Careers Event (ECCE), a high school retreat held each August on the Seminary’s campus. The four-day ECCE includes Bible study and on-site visitation opportunities featuring a wide variety of church career professionals. Three ECCEs have been held to date, and a total of 312 high school youth have participated.

“We are pleased to be selected by Lilly Endowment to receive a renewal grant for the ECCE,” commented Rev. Glen D. Thomas, vice president for seminary relations at Concordia Seminary. “We continue to look for additional sources of funding as we seek to maintain this program for many years to come. We are delighted with the vote of confidence Lilly Endowment has given us with this generous grant.”

A $40 registration fee is the only charge youth pay, in addition to travel costs, to attend the ECCE. All activities, meals and on-campus lodging are provided at no cost to participants. Travel scholarships also are available to ensure that travel costs do not prevent youth from attending.

Concordia Seminary worked with Rev. Terry Dittmer, director of the department of youth ministry of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) in designing the overall effort. Admission counselors from the Concordia University System schools and Valparaiso University also participate. “We have been blessed by the participation of representatives from nine Concordia University System schools and Valparaiso University in each of the previous ECCEs,” commented Thomas. “Their participation not only informed youth of the preparation needed to serve in these church vocations, but these representatives also served as small group leaders for Bible study sessions and formed meaningful relationships with participants.”

The 2002 ECCE is scheduled for Aug. 3-6. Nomination forms will be sent in late January to all LCMS congregations, high school principals, guidance counselors and youth directors. Nomination forms will be received beginning March 1. Additional information is available on the Seminary’s Web site (

For more information, contact Seminary Relations, Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Ave., St. Louis, MO 63105; 314.505.7370;