When Emily Stelling first saw Luther Seminary as a 12-year-old, she thought, “Wow, a Hogwarts for theology?!” Emily’s pastor drove her from Wisconsin to see Luther Seminary and it sparked her imagination.
Emily came into the Lutheran church through her stepfather, David, whom she said is like a real father to her. When he married her mother, he introduced Emily to the Lutheran tradition. “Grace is what captured me. It’s like he said, ‘Here’s a community for you—and I thank him for that.’” Emily was baptized, confirmed and received her first Bible within a year. “I felt like a pop star at my church!”
As a junior in high school, Emily was disappointed when she attended a college fair in Wisconsin, she was told by a Lutheran college representative (one that does not ordain women) that she was welcome to attend their institution, but not to plan on becoming a pastor. He did offer to give her a free pencil, however.
Since then, she’s heard others voice the same opinion. The young theologian doesn’t agree.
Emily was grateful for her education at St. Olaf College where her religion professor, L. DeAne Lagerquist was supportive and encouraging. And while she is enjoying her first year in seminary, she is looking forward to the day when she can live fully into her vocation as an ordained leader. “I want to live into this calling that God has for me. The same God who called Martin Luther is calling me. And that has to mean something.”
Photos from above left: Emily with Dr. Mary Jane Haemig at the August Hermann Francke Foundation, Halle, Germany. Center: Emily in Halle. Above right: Emily with Lutheran Sister in Wittenberg, Germany. Below: Lucas Cranach altar oil painting at the Town Church in Wittenberg, where Luther preached more than 2000 times. Luther pointed to Christ as the source of the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.