Back in 1978, at what was then Luther-Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., some young, idealistic seminarians and their spouses made a pact: “We will stay in contact to maintain the friendships that formed while training for ministry.” Having made this promise before in our colleges and high schools, we knew we needed to take intentional steps to assure it.
|Graduates of Luther Seminary (St. Paul, Minn.) class of '78 and their families intentionally keep in touch, creating a bond that has lasted 29 years.|
The first year six families (12 adults and three young children) gathered for $110 a week to share close quarters in a fishing resort near Alexandria, Minn. The digs were rustic—with curtains for doors, sinks designed for fish-cleaning and shared bathroom facilities. There were discussions among the group about whose turn it was for child care, communal meal plans, cooking rotations, what activities we could afford and whose turn it was for the bathroom. On the last night we held a communion service where the body and blood of Jesus was shared—and the Spirit began to form a bond in this group that has sustained us for 29 years.
Over the next few years we became seven families. As movement up the synod salary guidelines occurred, we also took up more luxurious quarters. We eventually landed in a family resort in Okoboji, Iowa, leading to the group lovingly being dubbed the “Okoboji Clan.”
Children were born, then children were married and now grandchildren have come along, resulting in a grand total of 41: 14 “original Okobojians,” 25 second generation and two third generation (with two more on the way).
A mass of this magnitude needs structure. Without that, precious vacation time is spent in the parking lot deciding what to do next. So we set schedules for communal meals, men’s and women’s night out, family night, group pictures and communion in the park—all somewhat resembling a cruise ship itinerary.
Over the years we have come to be family, complete with lively arguments (sometimes heated) and differences in politics, child-rearing approaches and ministerial styles. It hasn’t been utopia. But there has always been a deep sharing of our lives, building strong ties that have been a precious support, seeing us through all the difficulties encountered in family life and ministry.
The common element that binds us together has been very clear—a deep and abiding love of Jesus Christ and faith in the promises of our baptism and the sacrament of communion.This week's front page features:This week on our blog:
Andrea Pohlmann writes about Thanksgivoween.
Amber Leberman writes about things that are a-changing.
Kathleen Kastilahn blogs about comments about race attributed to pioneering geneticist James Watson.
Julie Sevig writes about being more than your photo — and being a child of God.
Sonia Solomonson (right) ponders to what we're in bondage.Check out our blog > > >
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