Community Life

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A theological seminary is more than an educational institution. It is also a community of Christians gathering in the name of Jesus to praise the Lord and to be empowered for mission. Stewardship of seminary education involves seeking the maximum possible involvement in the various dimensions of the seminary experience: academics, worship, ministry in context, community life, and special programs. Spouses and families are a valuable part of the Trinity community. Families are invited and encouraged to participate in daily worship and special events, to use the library and bookstore, and to become involved in support groups and special events.

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Worship stands at the center of the day’s activities with worship services in mid-morning when most students and faculty are on campus. Additional opportunities for morning, noon and early evening worship vary from year to year. Without such daily opportunities for corporate and private worship, the study of God’s truth becomes a hollow enterprise. Faculty and students share in the responsibility of planning and conducting daily worship under the direction of the Worship Life Coordinator. Special worship events are also held to give families an opportunity to worship and enjoy fellowship together. Our heritage invites us to employ traditional forms of the historic liturgy. It also invites us to newness and contemporary expression. Both forms aim at helping to foster a dynamic worship life at Trinity Lutheran Seminary.

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Life Together is the organization of Trinity Lutheran Seminary that has responsibility for the non-academic aspects of seminary life. Life Together draws its membership widely from students, faculty, and staff. Its work is carried out through regular meetings, through an Executive Committee, and through committees created each year in response to community concerns, gifts and interests. The president of the student body serves as president of Life Together, and the Dean of Leadership Formation serves as consultant. Student officers are elected each September: presidents and vice presidents of the student body, of the Junior, Middler, and Senior M.Div. classes, and of M.T.S. and M.A. students. Each president is a member of Life Together and gives leadership to community life at Trinity. The vice presidents and the Dean of Leadership Formation serve as the Special Needs Committee, which designates recipients of offerings from the weekly eucharists.

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Integrative Groups, consisting of a faculty person and his/her advisees, provide a supportive small group for fellowship, nurture, formation, care, worship planning, and academic planning. M.Div., M.T.S., M.A., S.T.M., and other residential students participate in weekly meetings along with the faculty member. All full-time students are expected to participate in I-Group. Part-time students will be assigned to an I-Group and encouraged to attend. Non-degree students may attend I-Group. Each I-Group is expected to develop its own style in response to individual needs and resources of the group, to choose its own pattern of activities and to elect a convener.

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Student Diversity

In fall 2014, full time students made up about 53% of Trinity’s student body.

Of the full time students:
66% were male
34% were female

Using ethnic categories reported to the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics*:
97% were non-Hispanic white
0% were black or African American
0% were Asian
2% were international students
0% were of Hispanic/Latino background
2% were two or more races

Of the part time students:
58% were male
42% were female

Using the same ethnic categories as above:
79% were non-Hispanic white
19% were black or African American
2% were Asian
0% were of Hispanic/Latino background
0% were two or more races
0% were ethnicity unknown

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*Percentages may be more or less than 100% due to rounding

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Part of the experience of seminary is the support of the growth and development of the whole person--body, mind and spirit. Resources are available throughout the community to contribute to that development. They are outlined in the Community Life Handbook, which is distributed each fall. Trinity’s daily worship life, the presence of those who have been trained in spiritual direction, pastoral care by area pastors, interactions with many clergy within the seminary community, workshops, referrals to area social and interpersonal professionals, and community events contribute to strengthening the multiple dimensions of resiliency. Trinity Lutheran Seminary is dedicated to deepening the challenge and hope offered to each person in order to develop disciplines and perspectives that encourage health and wholeness. The Dean of Leadership Formation is available for consultation, pastoral care, conversation, prayer and discussion about personal challenges and resources that would be available through the seminary and community.

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In the interests of good order and Christian charity (see Matthew 18:15-17), complaints should if at all possible be directed first to the person most immediately responsible for the situation that gave rise to the complaint. If the issue cannot be resolved at that point, the complaint may be brought to the officer of the seminary most directly responsible for the area of concern.

He or she will attempt to resolve the matter according to seminary policy, and will advise the complainant on further steps to be taken if that proves necessary.

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Each student is expected to observe standards of conduct consistent with respect for the law, the fulfillment of contractual obligations, consideration for the rights of others, and a high level of personal integrity. The seminary reserves the right to suspend or dismiss at any time, in accordance with established procedures, any student whose conduct is judged unacceptable in the light of the policies published in the Community Life Handbook.

The community is committed to work toward justice and inclusiveness. Language and actions that are inclusive of all races, genders, and physical abilities are expected in worship, classes, assignments and conversation.

Trinity is smoke-free, i.e., smoking is prohibited except in designated areas. Trinity is drug-free, i.e., the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of chemical substances is prohibited.

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It is a policy of Trinity Lutheran Seminary to provide equal opportunity for all qualified persons. The seminary does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, or physical ability in administration of educational policies and financial aid programs. Trinity Lutheran Seminary is an equal opportunity employer and follows an affirmative action policy in the recruitment and hiring of faculty and staff. Policy statements concerning sexual harassment appear in the Faculty Handbook and the Community Life Handbook.

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Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

The seminary’s main building including library, the conference center, and one efficiency apartment building are accessible for wheelchair users. Two efficiency apartments are accessible by elevator and meet ADA requirements for the bathrooms. Each has its own washer and dryer.

Students who intend to request accommodation for a learning disability should submit the medical certification of the learning disability. Trinity currently provides adaptive technologies for computer aided assistance for the visually impaired and those with reading disabilities by converting paper documents into electronic text. The software capabilties include electronic reading with “follow along highlighting," enlarging the text for those with low vision, and changing colors to reduce eye strain. A writing tutor is available to all students. More specialized tutoring can be arranged for students with learning disabilities.

Other appropriate accommodations for physical disabilities or learning disabilities, to the extent that resources permit, can be made as the need arises.

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The Seminary Choir and the Liturgical Choir are open to students, faculty, staff, and their spouses and children. Although the choirs exist primarily to enhance the worship and musical life of the seminary, the Seminary Choir also sings for special events. Other vocal and instrumental groups are organized each year in response to student interest.

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In recent years students have come from Korea, Latvia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Australia. The international community includes both pastors and laypersons, most of whom are completing requirements for the Master of Sacred Theology or Master of Theological Studies degree. These students are a valued part of the seminary community, contributing a continuing witness to the global nature of the Christian Church.

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Career Services

Trinity graduates serve in a variety of roles and positions both within congregations and other settings. Graduates serve as pastors, youth and family ministers, educators, musicians, directors of advocacy, mission developers, college and seminary professors, camp counselors, bishops and other church leadership positions and more.

As a courtesy to the Trinity community, student ministry positions are posted on a regular basis by the Pastor to the Community and the Director of the M.A. in Church Music program. Openings are generally in the areas of Youth Ministry, Church Music, or Christian Education, plus some miscellaneous openings in congregations or service agencies.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America call process for rostered positions within the church includes assignment to regions and synods, as part of the process by which ELCA candidates find a placement. Other students also work with their judicatories.

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  • Community Life Handbook, which contains seminary policies and information about life and resources at Trinity, is revised and distributed to students each fall.
  • For the Living of These Days, a weekly in-house newsletter, includes a calendar and listing of events and announcements.
  • Obserflections, a special newsletter by interns for interns and the seminary community, is published three times each year.
  • Te Deum, an official seminary magazine, is published for graduates and friends, as well as the on-campus seminary community.
  • Trinity Seminary Review serves as a forum for discussing pertinent questions of theology and ministry. It features articles and book reviews written by faculty, alumni, and selected guest authors.
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