Members of the Campus Council, the Luther Center's Board of Directors, and the students involved in the ministry host this event each year to raise funds for the Luther Center's operating budget. The Luther Center is a ministry of the South Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which provides much of its funding, although more than one-third of the Luther Center's annual budget must be raised locally.
The Jan. 26 benefit dinner will feature the homespun hospitality of the Buffalo Run Resort located on the scenic bluffs overlooking the Missouri River Valley. The meal will feature homemade spaghetti, salad, and baguettes, along with a choice of beverage. The meal is topped off with a heavenly cheesecake prepared by Ilene Lerseth, family and consumer science teacher at Vermillion High School and member of the Campus Council. All of the proceeds benefit the ministry of the Luther Center.
A strong turnout is expected as tickets were mailed to all Vermillion and local ELCA and churches throughout the surrounding communities. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children, and are available by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 605-624-2834.
Lutheran Campus Ministry in America began in 1907 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, when the Rev. Howard Gold was called as the campus pastor to serve the students, faculty and staff. Under the guidance of Trinity Lutheran Church, Vermillion, Lutheran Campus Ministry began at USD in the 1940s with a wing of the church dedicated to it in the early 1960s. In 1972 the Luther Center opened at its current location with the remodeling of a tractor repair shop at the corner of Cherry and Plum in Vermillion. This location put the Luther Center directly across from the main residence complex at USD.
The Luther Center is used for worship, ministry, student gatherings, community meetings and study space. In 2002 another remodeling project allowed the Luther Center to become an up-to-date college ministry center offering computer workstations and Internet access. The Luther Center's mission statement is: "Growing in Christian faith through service, worship and fellowship." The Rev. Kevin Jensen serves as the full-time campus pastor for the Luther Center, arriving in May of last year.