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Seminarians from eight different schools came together to play flag football and assemble School Kits at the Lutherbowl, held on October 29 at Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary.
By Chandler Carriker
Football on a snow-covered field is usually a tradition reserved for later in the winter in places like Green Bay, not Gettysburg, Pa., in October.
But a snowy field is exactly what greeted seminarians from across the country when they came together on a blustery October morning at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg for the Lutherbowl, an annual flag football tournament.
Alongside the games, the crowds also came together to assemble LWR School Kits to go to communities around the world coping with poverty and disaster.
The Lutherbowl is an annual tradition going back for generations of Lutheran pastors. This year, seminarians from Chicago, Gettysburg, Philadelphia, Southern, and Trinity from the ELCA gathered along with Trinity Episcopal (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Union Presbyterian (Richmond, Va.), and Virginia Theological Seminary (Alexandria, Va.) for a day full of hard competition and delivering lasting promise to students around the world.
“Adding a School Kit assembly to Lutherbowl allowed for the event to become something larger than just a flag football tournament,” says Nicole Welke, the Gettysburg student who worked to set up the Kit assembly. “It was a great way to connect us to something larger and to give back.” For a group of people whose lives are centered on learning about God, sharing God’s love with students through School Kits was especially meaningful.
Each school put out the call to its students and faculty to collect one item to contribute to the School Kits. “It was a great way to allow more people to be involved in this great fellowship event” says Nicole. “Those who couldn't come or play still were able to have a role in this new addition to Lutherbowl.”
A seminarian from Trinity School for Ministry in Pittsburgh helps assemble School Kits as a part of the Lutherbowl festivities.
Gettysburg Seminary held a competition between their classes to see which could bring together 200 notebooks, 500 boxes of crayons and 2,500 pencils the fastest. It was an opportunity for the entire student body to come together as a team to help win the day for people in need.
When game day finally arrived the seminarians were greeted with muddy, snow-covered fields, but that didn’t deter the players or kit-makers! The School Kits were moved into Gettysburg’s refectory so that athletes and fans had a warm, dry place to work. While escaping the snow they worked to share the gift of education with children around the world.
Gettysburg students took an early lead in Kit assembly, putting together 40 Kits before the first round of games was even over. Virginia Theological’s Friars made a charge late in the day assembling 108 School Kits, but the home field advantage was just too much and Gettysburg Seminary finished with 120 School Kits assembled. But it is the students around the world, who will receive Kits to help them learn and work toward better lives, who truly won the day. All in all, the seminarians came together to assemble 280 School Kits.
“Service is so integrated into ministry now, especially with youth and young adults. Seminary is a great place for that to continue to happen and be a bridge into what we may be experiencing once we leave,” says seminarian Nicole Welke who participated in the Kit assembly.
With future leaders like those that gathered at Lutherbowl, the church and its mission to serve the poor and marginalized is in good hands.
Would you like to incorporate an LWR Kit service project into your next big event? We can show you how! Visit our website or give us a call at 800.597.5972 to learn more.
Chandler Carriker is LWR’s Congregational Resources Specialist.