This year, LVC is partnering with Luther Seminary to offer Volunteers, alumni and other Lutheran service year programs two classes and seminary credit at full scholarship! All online courses, our community is delving into Vocational Formation with Dr. Michael Chan and Serving in Context with Dr. Gary Simpson. Read more from Dr. Michael Chan on the content of the classes and current Omaha Volunteer, Deborah Metcalf, on the impact of taking classes during her LVC year!
Dr. Michael Chan: The class I teach is titled, Vocational Formation. Vocation is not exclusively about a career, a job, or a title– it is about life, all of life. Vocation refers to the various places in our lives where responsibility, suffering, joy, and passion converge and demand our attention. At any and every point in our lives, vocation is both withering and flourishing. It is found in embrace, and in differentiation, in longing, and fulfillment. This class was designed to create a learning community in which students can explore their own sense of vocation, and cultivate a set of reflective practices that allow one to listen deeply to the voice of vocation.
LVC: What is the value to LVC of offering your class to LVC’rs? What is the value to Luther Seminary to offer your class to LVC’rs?
Dr. Chan: These two questions must be taken together. Vocational Formation represents a partnership in vocational discovery, for Luther Seminary, LVC, and all involved. In this class, I don’t see myself in the role of “professor,” but rather of “host.” I set the table, provide the raw ingredients, but the creativity is in how both professor and student, host and guest, create a meal out of what is placed before us. Unlike most hosts, I want the students in the kitchen along with me. We’re making a meal together. We’re helping one another discern the voice of vocation.
Dr. Michael J. Chan (pictured above, right) is Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary.
LVC: What is the value for you of taking the Luther Seminary classes during your LVC year?
Deborah Metcalf: Taking these classes really helps me put my year of service into context for my life, and put deep and thoughtful meaning into what I am doing and why. Vocational Formation, especially is helping to shape my idea of vocation and how I am living it out right here, right now. It helps me be more present because I know what I am doing now is making a difference. One thing I’ve learned is that vocation is a path, you don’t stumble across your vocation and start living it one day, or maybe you do, but everything you do can be a part of it as it leads you forward in your service towards others.
I am so glad I am taking these classes during my year of service. I think it supplements the rest of the LVC’s program material nicely. In addition to JIC discussion nights, spirituality nights, and living in intentional community, I also get a group of people wanting to take their education one step further, and really explore what it means to be doing a year of service from the standpoint of vocation and serving in context. Having great readings from many different theologians that we can incorporate into our thoughts about a year of service really adds to the depth of the program.
It has helped to have people in my house in the class with me and not entirely online. We can bring up what we’re learning in the classes and have discussions around the dinner table.
Deborah Metcalf (pictured below, left) is a 2015-2016 Volunteer in Omaha, serving at Hospice House
This story originally written for the October 2015 Leader Letter.