Troy Medlin & Ole Schenk: ‘Mutual flourishing’

Troy Medlin and Ole Schenk weren’t looking for love during Orientation Week, but they trace their relationship back to the fall of 2016.

“Like so many people, we weren’t looking for someone, but while you’re out in the quad during orientation who knows what happens?” Troy said. “When you’re not looking for it, there it is.”       

They started getting interested in one other during Gospel Choir practice. “We both noticed each other’s passion and joy and the way we loved singing in choir. It drew us together.”

One thing led to another, and they found themselves spending more time together. “We found a sense of encouragement and joy in our shared vocations. Being in seminary together and training to be pastors together is an incredible gift,” he said.

Troy, whose cheerfulness radiated the Refectory during his time working there, is well known for proud Sandwich, Ill., roots. He comes from a close family, and has a passion for preaching and politics. He started seminary as a non-Lutheran but claimed a Lutheran identity in seminary.

Ole is also a gifted preacher who exudes a can-do, giving attitude he says comes from his farm roots in Saskatchewan, Canada. He also served as a YAGM (ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission), and his internship at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, and Troy’s internship at Christ Lutheran on Capitol Hill in St. Paul, Minn., overlapped for a semester.

Ole is in the process of switching from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, where he was approved for ministry, to the ELCA and its candidacy process. Both hope to eventually land calls in Chicago.

They became engaged Oct. 26 at Promontory Point, with classmate Ian Coen-Frei taking photos and a celebratory breakfast with LSTC friends and family. “We proposed to each other, both of us getting down on one knee and proposing to each other,” Troy said. “It was such a beautiful day.”

Their wedding was to have been July 18 in Augustana Chapel with Erik Christensen, pastor to the community, presiding, but was changed to a small wedding just outside the chapel due to the pandemic (with a larger celebration at a later date).

“We’ll have lots of stories to tell many years from now about when we were engaged and the whole world was shut down,” Troy said.

Both are reflective about how the seminary process, especially milestones like CPE and internships, have strengthened their relationship. As they move into the future, they say they will continue to lean on each other “for support and mutual flourishing.”

“We’re committed to each other’s ministry that will likely be shared yet different,” Troy said. “We’ll let the other explore their vocation, and have one another to help us when we’re navigating uncertain challenges that will surely come up in ministry.”

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