Seminary at Laurier appoints principal-dean

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Waterloo Lutheran Seminary has appointed Reverend Mark Harris to the position of principal-dean.

The position of principal-dean was held by Rev. David Pfrimmer for over a decade before he chose to step down earlier this year, leaving the Seminary in search of a candidate to fill the position.

They found it in the form of Mark Harris, an assistant professor with the Seminary, who has more than 27 years of experience as a pastor with the Lutheran Church and is himself a graduate of the seminary.

“I am both humbled and honoured to have been chosen for the position,” said Harris.

Harris will be taking over the position as the Seminary is in the midst of major changes, with planned multi-million dollar renovations and a change in name from Waterloo Lutheran Seminary to Martin Luther University.

“There are major transitions in the life here underway. Not only in terms of our physical planned space, but the change to the name,” said Harris. “While it would not come into effect for a year, year and a half, we are filing the legal documents toward making application for that name change.”

In addition to those changes they’ve begun, the Seminary is in the process of renegotiating its operating agreement with Wilfrid Laurier University.

“Our current operating agreement with the university is getting really old and out-dated now,” Harris explained.

“It’s really time for the university and the seminary to sit down and explore how we can better work together and support one-another, and how we at the Seminary can better integrate our programs and our operations with those at the university.”

Although the Seminary will be undergoing this transitionary period, Harris is certain that he will be able to continue to support Pfrimmer’s vision of a public Seminary, which extended beyond pastoral ordainment.

“This is really a place where people can come and they can integrate not only their academic curiosity and academic studies, but also conversations about the things that they most deeply value,” said Harris.

“We will continue to grow into that reality of what it means to be a public seminary in this community.”

In addition to the work he will be doing with the Seminary, Harris is glad of the opportunity to remain in a city and region that through his years as a pastor and at the university he has grown fond of.

“I have a deep appreciation for not only Waterloo, but the whole Waterloo region; for the diversity, for the innovation, for the character of the community in this place and for the academic institutions that are to be found in the region,” said Harris. “So all of those things together pulled me back to this community, and make it an honour to be a citizen in this region.”

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