The Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod at its 1981 convention, authorized Lutheran ChurchCanada, at that time a federation of LCMS districts, to determine how it desired to handle its seminary education. The Board of Directors of LCC determined that there was a need for two seminaries, and appointed a Board of Regents for a seminary to be located in Edmonton. That founding board first met in September 1983, and called W. Th. Janzow to be the organizing and founding president. The Seminary is legally chartered under the laws of the province of Alberta, and received royal assent to this charter on 31 May 1984. The opening service of the first academic year, held at Grace Lutheran Church, Edmonton on 8 September 1984, saw the installation of Norman Threinen (historical theology) and Ronald Vahl (exegetical theology) to the faculty. The first day of classes (10 September 1984, designated Founders Day) welcomed ten students to campus, six in Year 1 and four in Year 2. The Seminary also took over the supervision of three vicars. One of those vicars, Wolfgang Vieweg, became the first person to receive a theological diploma from the Seminary, and another, Daryl Solie, became the first to receive the Master of Divinity degree.
In 1987 the Seminary moved to the next stage of its development with the inauguration of Dr. Milton Rudnick as Seminary president, the addition of Edward Kettner (systematic theology) to the faculty, and the arrival of John Daniels as the Director of Development. These additions demonstrated the viability of the Seminary, leading to a campaign to build a permanent new Seminary building and to apply for associate membership in the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Classes had been held since the Seminary’s founding in a house rented from Concordia College, which had served as a professor’s home and then as a women’s residence. After the conclusion of the academic year in 1990, the Seminary moved into temporary quarters at Grace Lutheran Church for the 1990-1991 academic year, and received the good news that it had been granted associate membership in ATS in June of 1990. On 2 September 1991 the Seminary dedicated its permanent facility at 7040 Ada Boulevard. That weekend also saw the installation of Dr. Steven Harold as the fifth professor (practical theology) at the Seminary.
The opening of the new building and the addition of the fifth faculty member brought about several years of stability to the Seminary which allowed it to become firmly established. With the retirement of Dr. Rudnick in December 1992, the Seminary moved to call a new president, and L. Dean Hempelmann was inaugurated as the Seminary’s third president in November 1993. Under his leadership and the continuing leadership of Dr. Ronald Vahl as academic dean, the Seminary engaged in a self-study which culminated in full ATS accreditation in May 1998. Also during the 1997-1998 academic year, the Seminary established its Missionary Study Centre as concrete evidence of the Seminary’s commitment to the spreading of the Gospel throughout the world. In August 1998 Dr. Edwin Lehman was installed as the first director of the centre.
In recent years, there have been numerous changes in personnel at the Seminary. In May 1999 Dr. Vahl passed away, and in October 1999 Dr. Hempelmann moved on to a call in the Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod. This led to the call of Dr. Arthur (Andy) Bacon as the fourth President of the Seminary, who was installed in August 2000. Dr. Vernon Raaflaub joined the faculty in January 2001 as professor (exegetical theology). In October 2001 Steven Harold resigned from the faculty, and in June 2002 Dr. Threinen retired. In August 2002 Stephen Chambers joined the faculty as professor (exegetical theology), and with the retirement of Dr. Raaflaub in June 2006 the Seminary called Jonathan Kraemer as professor (exegetical theology). In June 2005 Dr. Bacon was called to service as a chaplain in the U.S. army, and resigned his position as Seminary President. In March 2007 the Seminary installed Dr. Manfred Zeuch as the Seminary’s fifth President.
There have been changes in personnel on the staff level, as well. Carol Farrar, who had served as library technician since the Seminary’s founding, retired in 2004, and the position was then filled by Jane Huber. Corinne Nowoczin, who had served at the Seminary since 1993 and had been the Seminary’s Registrar and Director of Admissions and Recruitment since July 2003, retired in September 2006. In October 2006 Jeffrey Nachtigall was appointed to that position. Ken Frederick served as the Director of Development beginning in June 1999, and upon his retirement in June 2006, Rev. Daniel Deyell was brought on board in that position in March 2007.
In 2007, CLS began work on updating the image of the institution. That included designing a new logo and website. Work on the new logo included many considerations; what needed to change? What needed to remain?
In his autobiography, “Servant for Jesus’ Sake”, Ted Janzow writes about the origin of the seminary’s logo. “At an early meeting the Board of Regents asked me to design a logo that could be used on seminary printed materials, on lapel buttons, and on other promotional materials. The logo that resulted included the following…”
- A cross: to show our rootedness in Jesus Christ.
- A maple leaf: to symbolize our commitment to preparing church workers for the church in Canada.
- The letters CLS: the abbreviation of our seminary’s name.
- A square frame: representing our seminary’s solid commitment to Scripture and the Confessions.
The new logo keeps and expands upon the four-fold meaning of the original logo.
- A cross: not only are we rooted in Christ, but we are lost without His sacrifice and redemption. The pronounced and natural cross comes alive where the thinly drawn and symmetrical cross once stood. It suggests a Saviour who became man, and recalls the mark of the cross applied on the forehead on Ash Wednesday, or the sign of the cross received at baptism, both upon the forehead and upon the heart, to mark us as those redeemed by Christ the crucified.
- A maple leaf: not only are we committed to preparing church workers for the church in Canada, we are now a truly Canadian institution – with Canadian faculty even. The leaf design is now organic; it has been created from a photograph of a real leaf. A real leaf grows; a real leaf changes.
- The letters CLS have been expanded to Concordia Lutheran Seminary, our full name: in many environments – website, letterhead, postcards, newsletters – CLS is not enough, the full name must be included as well. Its vertical stacking also helps to ground the image of the leaf.
- A square frame becomes a solid line visually supported by our name: we have a solid commitment to the Scriptures and the Confessions, under which we stand firm. The line also suggests continuity: our message has been passed on from the time of the apostles, and we carry it forward, pressing on toward the goal. The line also serves as a reminder that our education and formation are not closed to all but an elite few, but open to all who wish to learn, grow, and serve with us along this path.
Through all of these changes, the Seminary has continued its mission of preparing servants for Jesus’ sake. In 2004 the ATS renewed the Seminary’s Master of Divinity program for ten years, and so the Seminary looks forward to continuing its mission for many years to come.
Come to Concordia Lutheran Seminary to learn.
Come to Concordia Lutheran Seminary to grow.
Come to Concordia Lutheran Seminary to serve.