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Meet Seminarian Scott Schul: Contemporary Tax Collector Goes to Seminary
Scott Schul, a native of western Pennsylvania, was baptized and confirmed at Tabor Lutheran Church, in Kane, PA. Transplanted to New England, Scott was working as Director of the Tax Policy Division at Maine Revenue Services when he discerned that coming to Gettysburg Seminary was the right move for him. Not surprisingly, Scott finds with a great deal of meaning in Mark 2:14: “As Jesus was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus at the tax both, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And Levi followed him.”

During his first year, in addition to a full course load, along with other first year seminarians (also called “Juniors”), Scott spent Sundays at a “teaching parish,” In his case this was Trindle Springs Lutheran Church in Mechanicsburg, PA. During that year, Scott began speak often about “all the help I get putting on my collar.” By “help”, of course, means his wife, Linda, and his children, Annika and Emilio, but also countless others who have supported him in pursuing his call. During Scott’s second year (also called the “Middler” year) on top of studying he also preached weekly as a “stated supply” at Lazarus Lutheran Church in Lineboro, MD. Now, having completed the first two years of the four-year Master of Divinity degree required for ordination in the ELCA, plus an 11 week summer unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, Scott begins the third leg of the journey: his Internship Year at Trinity Lutheran Church in Butler, PA, working under the supervision of Pastor Tom Pierotti. In July, the whole Schul family moved to Butler. In the midst of this latest move, Scott reflected:

“The moving process seems to strike a nerve with most people. You would not believe the number of folks who have said to me, “I could never endure seminary because of all the moving that’s involved!” Of course, moving is just one aspect of the work. There are late nights spent crafting term papers, hours and hours of study, hundreds of pages of reading each week and of course the exams. Many of us also give up careers to undertake this work. Seminary can seem like quite a daunting experience. And so, not surprisingly, folks regularly say to me, “it must have been such a hard decision to come to seminary!”

The truth, however, is that it was the easiest decision I have ever made in my life. It’s not because there’s anything special about me. And it’s not because the term papers magically write themselves, correct answer suddenly appear on the exams or the moving boxes pack themselves. Quite the contrary. But when you know that Jesus is calling you to this work, then, like Levi the tax collector, you simply get up and you follow Him. And so my family and I will pack and unpack boxes once again. We’ll change our address and our phone number and learn our way around a new town. We’ll join a new church family. I will serve them, I will proclaim God’s Word to them and I will learn from them. The work will be hard, but the decision to go is very easy…because Jesus is calling. And when Jesus calls, you simply get up and you follow Him.”

For more ways to learn with us, check out these resources:
  • For a resource on implementing the ELCA Social Statement on Sufficient Sustainable, Livelihood for All, check out Scott Schul’s article in The Journal of Christian Ethics
  • And look for the reflection by Scott in the September, 2009, issue of The Lutheran, page 3: www.thelutheran.org