Officials of a Lutheran seminary are considering what action to take against seminarian Judy Schmidt, who was dismissed from an internship at a Lutheran church in Rockville after she told the church pastor that she had lived with her then-fiance.
"No judgment about Judy's future has been made," said Herman Stuempfle, president of the 200-student Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pa., one of eight seminaries in the country that trains men and women to become ministers in the Lutheran Church of America.
Stuempfle said college officials plan to meet with Schmidt next week, and that a decision on her status ultimately will be made by the faculty.
Two weeks ago, Schmidt, 29, confided to the Rev. John Manrodt of the Trinity Lutheran Church on Old Georgetown Road that she and her fiance had broken their engagement. In that conversation, she said that she and her fiance had lived together for three months.
Within a couple of days, Manrodt, who was Schmidt's supervisor, told her that because of what she had told him, he was ending the internship. He then informed the seminary of his action and a dean at the seminary later talked to Schmidt, she said, saying that before a student was "dismissed," the dean would have to talk to the student.
Schmidt claims that Manrodt violated her confidence by contacting the seminary. Manrodt said he was obligated to notify the seminary about the termination, and that he did not divulge to the seminary the details of what she had told him.
Stuempfle declined to comment on what college officials knew about Schmidt's relationship with her fiance or when they learned about it. "The issue of confidentiality is not ours to get into," he said.
Living with someone to whom she wasn't married violates a social statement adopted by the Lutheran Church of America in 1970, he said, "but we try to deal with individual cases."