The Life of Concordia Seminary


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

George Was Here

After I handed my movie ticket to the attendant, and as I fumbled through the aisles with a giant tub of over-buttered popcorn and a cumbersome soda, I finally settled into a coveted seat amongst one of the comfy leather couches at the Moolah Theatre in St. Louis ( I could not be happier; I was just about to watch the movie I had been anticipating for almost one full year. In March of 2009, word spread rapidly around St. Louis that George Clooney was in town, shooting his newest film, "Up in the Air." The news of where exactly Clooney was filming each day spread like wildfire, thanks to various media outlets. A fellow Seminary co-worker and I even took a few lunch break trips to go "Clooney-spotting." Unfortunately, we didn't ever catch a glimpse of George out on the streets of St. Louis. But I didn't care now because today I was going to finally see the completed film on the big screen!

2 hours later...

A-MAZE-ING. The movie could not have been better; totally worth the $7 admission price. In my opinion, the best parts of the movie were, of course, the scenes filmed in St. Louis. Many of the locations were very recognizable to a native St. Louisan; Affton High School, Cheshire Inn, Lafayette Square, Mansion House, Maplewood United Methodist Church, Renaissance Grand Hotel, and the most obvious, Lambert Airport.

Many people assumed the Gateway Arch would not be depicted in the movie, considering "Up in the Air" is supposed to be set in Omaha, Nebraska. Nonetheless, I did catch a glimpse of the unmistakable 630 foot tall monument out one of the windows during a scene which was actually set in St. Louis.

Lately I have heard some Oscar-buzz surounding the release of this movie. And while I totally agree with all the hype and good reviews of "Up in the Air," I will be the first St. Louisan to admit that I would've liked this movie no matter what, solely based on the fact it was filmed in St. Louis.

"Up in the Air" opens nationwide on Christmas Day 2009. However, if you're like me and live in St. Louis, you've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to see this movie since early December!

So...when is Johnny Depp filming his next blockbuster here???

Friday, December 18, 2009

Who Am I Dealing With?

Many of you call in to the Admissions Office with questions about coming to Concordia Seminary. Hopefully, you find that the voice on the other side offers you the answers (and encouragement) you need. Some of you, however, do not know us beyond the voice. We thought we would take care of that. Today, you will find posted on our website,, a new picture of the Admissions staff at Concordia Seminary here to help you. This staff includes 1 office manager, 2 counselors, and 5 student workers all armed and dangerous with helpful information.

Now when you call in you will know exactly what you're in for :)

Kyle Castens

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Out with the Old, In with the New

I have finally vacated the office I had for the last 6 and a half years, and I must say the space has never looked so good! What was my office has now become "The Jefferson Room" named after South Jefferson Avenue where the Seminary resided for years. The purpose of the room is to give us a place to meet with our guests, and to have a space available for other meetings and functions.

So, those who are interested in coming to seminary can now join us for conversation over a cup of coffee sitting at a historic dining hall table. The room also offers sketches of the original plans for the seminary chapel to be built in the 1920's. The other wall offers two historic photographs. The first is of the student body of 1913 standing in front of the Jefferson campus. The second is the first faculty to step foot on the Clayton campus.

So, the next time you are at the Sem, please make sure you stop by our office and we will treat you to that good conversation and cup of coffee in the Jefferson.

Kyle Castens

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Done!!!

I know some of you have made recent visits to the Seminary campus, but had to take a scenic route to get here. I-64/40 has not been fully operational for the last two years. However, for those of you tired of the long and winding routes to the Sem, I have good news.

Now, the highway is done and it is a beautiful project. If you are planning to visit us, you can exit the highway just a few blocks from the Seminary.
If you are coming from the east, simply exit on the Clayton Rd exit. If you are coming from the west, exit on the Bellevue exit.

As always if you need more detailed directions, please give me a call at 1-800-822-9545.

Kyle Castens

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Light Displays

Christmas is a magical time in St. Louis. The city comes alive with lights, carolers, and all kinds of events and activities throughout December. For many families, going to see local holiday light displays is a favorite yearly tradition. It's a great way to jump-start your holidays! So bundle up, jump in the car and spend an evening taking in some of these great holiday light displays.

Wild Lights at the Zoo
Hours: 5:30pm - 8:30pm
Admission: $4 for Zoo members and $5 for non-members. Children under 2 get in free.
Dates: December 4-6, 11-13, 18-23 & 26-30
Location: St. Louis Zoo

Way of Lights
Hours: 5pm - 10pm
Admission to view the lights is free, but there is a small charge for the laser light show, camel rides and other attractions. Donations are accepted.
Dates: November 20 - January 3
Location: Our Lady of the Snows Shrine, Belleville, IL

Santa's Magical Kingdom
Hours: 5:30pm - 10:30pm (Sun - Thurs) & 5:30pm - 11pm (Fri & Sat)
Admission: $18/car or $12 for wagon rides
Dates: November 20 - January 3
Location: Jellystone Park, Eureka, MO

Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park
Hours: 5:30pm - 9:30pm
Admission: $9/car
Dates: November 25 - January 3
Location: Tilles Park, St. Louis County

Christmas Wonderland in Alton
Hours: 6pm - 9pm (Mon - Fri) & 5pm - 9pm (Sat & Sun)
Admission: $7/car
Dates: November 27 - December 27
Location: Rock Spring Park, Alton, IL

Celebration of Lights
Hours: 6:30pm - 9pm (Sun, Tues - Thurs) & 6:30pm - 10pm (Fri & Sat)
Admission: $9/car, $15/large van (Tuesday is discount night - $7)
Dates: November 27 - December 30
Location: Fort Zumwalt Park, O'Fallon, MO

Anheuser-Busch Holiday Lights
Hours: On December 4, 11, & 18, the tour center will extend their hours until 9pm for special evening tours, sampling, and shopping in the gift shop
Admission: Free
Dates: November 27 - January 3
Location: Anheuser-Busch Tour Center at Lynch & 12th Streets, St. Louis

For those of you who enjoy driving around the city, searching for the best individual homeowner holiday light displays, there certainly are plenty of these miraculous displays in & around St. Louis! Some of my favorites include:

Lavernell Lights
6429 Lavernell Ct.
St. Louis, MO 63116
Hours: 4:30pm - 11pm (Sun - Thurs) & 4:30pm - 12am (Fri & Sat)
Radio station: 107.1 FM
They are collecting canned goods for St. Vincent DePaul.

My Winter Wonderland
730 Avondale Dr.
St. Peters, MO 63376
Hours: 5pm - 9:30pm (Sun - Sat)
Radio station: 107.1 FM
They are collecting canned goods for FISH of St. Charles.

Never Enough Lights
601 Calamar Ct.
O'Fallon, MO 63368
Hours: 5pm - 10pm (Sun - Thurs) & 5pm - 11pm (Fri & Sat)
Radio station: 107.1 FM
All donations will go to the Hope Ministries Food Pantry.

Lights for Christ
610 Saint Jovite St.
St. Charles, MO 63304
Hours: 5:30pm - 10:30pm (Sun - Thurs) & 5:30pm - 11:30pm (Fri & Sat)
Radio station: 106.1 FM

Geoff's Christmas Lights
1337 Mckinley Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119
Hours: 5pm - 10pm (Sun - Thurs) & 5pm - 12am (fri & Sat)
Radio station: 89.5 FM
They are collecting canned goods and donations for Backstoppers.

Whitehirst Light Show
Whitehirst Ct. E
St. Charles, MO 63304
Hours: 5:30pm - 10:30pm (Nov 25 - Dec 31)
Radio station: 107.1 FM
All donations will go to FISH of St. Charles (canned goods or monetary donations).