Mark Steiner was a graduate of Mission House’s last graduating class in 1962. Although his loyalty to Mission House was strong, he said that he looked upon the merger of Mission House and Yankton Seminary to form United in Minnesota’s Twin Cities area as “moving to the promised land.” He hoped that the move to a larger metropolitan area would help the new seminary flourish.
“I was shocked when United’s campus in New Brighton was sold,” he said. “But then I read Isaiah 43.” In verses 18 and 19a, it reads: “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing….” “It hit me square between the eyes,” Mark said. “Maybe God is doing a new thing!”
When Mark attended Mission House, students did not pay tuition; the denomination covered the cost of seminary. Mark has stated that his gratitude for that investment in his education has inspired to him to give to United as way as “paying it forward” to the next generation. He also was inspired to give by selfless people like Rev. Dr. Louis Gunnemann, who came to lead United as dean without even asking what the salary was.
The Steiners’ first call was serving three churches in Buffalo, South Dakota. Two of their three children were born there: their daughter, Julie, and a son, Joel, who, sadly, lived only four days. (Daughter Amy was born later in Ohio.) People from congregations in the surrounding area sent money to help pay for Joel’s funeral. After the funeral expenses were paid, the Steiners chose to donate the remaining contributions to United’s scholarship fund.
“We didn’t make much money at first,” Mark said, “but we still supported the seminary with what we could. Now we are able to do more, and we have done more.” Mark and Eleanor are members of the Joshua Society, the Barnabas Society and the Bossard-Ward Society. Using the support of people like the Steiners, God will continue to hit us square between the eyes with new things at United for many years to come.