When seminarians Darla DeFrance, Mark Williamson and Pete Warmanen were asked to build a float for the community parade, the task seemed to have little to do with ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church, Moorhead, Minn.
But looking back, the assignment wasn't so silly, says Warmanen, who attends the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. "We had to contact so many people that it was a great way to meet church members and each other," he reflects. "Now we tell everyone that our job is to preach, teach and build floats."
For nearly two years, the three students have honed their pastoral skills under the wings of staff at Trinity, the only Lutheran congregation of 15 selected for a training program that helps seminarians build confidence as they enter parish life. To float the program, Trinity received a $750,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., an Indianapolis-based foundation that helps strengthen church life.
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