Participants in the installation. Back row, l-r: Rev. Thomas Zimmerman, Rev. Douglas Punke (Pastor, Zion Lutheran Church), Rev. Richard Lammert, Rev. George Lange, Rev. James Kollie (Libera, Africa) , and Rev. Dr. James Voelz. Front row, l-r: Rev. Art Litke, Rev. Dr. David Scaer, Rev. Peter Brock (4th V.P. of Indiana District – Installer), Rev. Dr. Steven Schumacher, Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill (ILC General Secretary – Preacher), Rev. Gema Ballah (Liberia, Africa), Rev. Dr. John Pless, and Rev. Dr. Roland Ziegler (ILC Seminary Committee).

USA – Rev. Dr. Steven R. Schumacher was installed as Chief Accreditation Officer (CAO) of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) during a service at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana on February 13, 2022.

In this role, Dr. Schumacher will lead the International Lutheran Council Accreditation Agency (ILCAA). This new agency was created in response to increasing requests from Lutheran church bodies worldwide for assistance in pastoral training and theological education. The ILCAA will provide a basis for an internationally recognized confessional Lutheran theological education, while ensuring institutional excellence in such areas as faculty, spiritual formation, student evaluation, library resources, long-term planning, administration, financial stability, and accountability. As CAO, Dr. Schumacher is responsible for the development, coordination, evaluation, and ongoing oversight of the ILCAA.

“Dr. Schumacher brings a depth of knowledge and experience from both the parish and seminary,” noted Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, General Secretary of the ILC. In particular, Dr. Quill highlighted Dr. Schumacher’s previous work on accreditation in an African context as an asset to his new work as Chief Accreditation Officer. Dr. Schumacher’s doctoral thesis was entitled “Positioning an International Partner Lutheran Church Seminary for Accreditation,” and focused on the accreditation process undertaken by the seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana (ELCG).

Dr. Schumacher and Dr. Quill

“Dr. Schumacher understands that Lutheran seminaries are built on Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions—which is to say, on the doctrine of justification by grace though faith alone in Jesus Christ,” Dr. Quill continued. “The presence of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament is the heart and centre of theological education. This requires serious academic discipline—but, as it is often said, ‘Some things can only be understood by praying them.’ Dr. Schumacher  recognizes that the chapel and daily liturgical life is essential to pastoral formation, and that its place in the curriculum and seminary life is an indispensable part of assessment and accreditation.”

Dr. Schumacher and his wife Cynthia previously served as missionaries for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) in Ghana, West Africa, where he taught courses in Lutheran theology and served as dean of academics and student activities at the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary Ghana in Accra. He also assisted the ELCG with their deaf ministry efforts.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Missouri, and earned both his M.Div. and doctorate from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He previously served as pastor to five different congregations in the LCMS, as well as serving as the North Wisconsin District’s missionary to the deaf, Director of Deaf Ministry for Lutheran Friends of the Deaf, and as an adjunct professor teaching Deaf Ministry at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.

The ILC officially announced the formation of International Lutheran Council Accreditation in April 2021. Additional information on the program, including the application process, will be made available at a later date.

You can support confessional Lutheran theological education and the work of the International Lutheran Council Accreditation Agency through online giving (select “International Seminary Accreditation Program”). You may also send a cheque by mail to:

International Lutheran Council
PO Box 10149
Fort Wayne, IN  46850