A Divided Decision Blessed by the Lord: The Impact of the Amalgamation on the WELS Pre-Seminary Program
For 130 years, the pre-seminary training for prospective WELS pastoral candidates took place at Northwestern College in Watertown, WI. In 1995, the pre-seminary program moved to New Ulm, MN, as Northwestern College amalgamated with Dr. Martin Luther College—the WELS training college for the teaching ministry—and became Martin Luther College. The decision to amalgamate these two ministerial education colleges was highly debated, and the disputes centered on the impact which such a merger might have upon the pre-seminary program and its students, the synod’s future pastors. This paper seeks to begin an open and amicable discussion of the amalgamation by exploring the historical discussions of the potential positive and negative impacts of the amalgamation on the pastor track and assessing whether, to what extent, and why they have or have not transpired over the past twenty-five years.