Susan Tarr, retired librarian from the Library of Congress and active layperson discusses her activities in the church during Covid-19. The pandemic prompted a number of changes in providing Christian education for members at The Church of the Covenant (Presbyterian) in Arlington, VA. As an active layperson in the congregation, she described her interest in Christian education. With the development of the Covid-19 she was challenged to expand her familiarity with technology. She talked about involvement with two classes within the congregation: the adult Bible class and the confirmation class with youth. Her particular concern was for the youth. After her retirement from the Library of Congress where she was the Executive Director of the Federal Library and Information Center Committee for the last 10 years of a 30 year career in the system, she completed a Theological Studies degree at Wesley Seminary in D.C. In the program she discussed how that educational experience prepared her for the challenges of teaching during this pandemic.
Lent 2021 also marks a full year of COVID-19 in this country. The Seminary Explores speaks with author Rev. Andrew Taylor-Troutman, pastor of Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina about his forthcoming book, what it was like to be a “Poll Chaplain” and writing for your audience. Taylor-Troutman holds an M.Div. from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia and an M.A.R. from the University of Virginia. His articles, essays and poems have appeared in Sojourners, Mockingbird, Ruminate, Bearings Online, The Chatham News Record and elsewhere. His books include Take My Hand: A Theological Memoir, Gently Between the Words: Stories and Poems, Earning Innocence and Parables of Parenthood: Interpreting the Gospels with Family.
Dr. Kirsi Stjerna, First Lutheran Los Angeles/Southwest California Synod Professor of Lutheran History and Theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, discusses her newest book, Lutheran Theology: A Grammar of Faith. A book that emerged out of her years of teaching at the seminary level and the questions that students asked in the classroom. While the text is written for seminarians, it is designed for study in the local congregation as well. She expresses the believe that theology is about life and ultimate concerns. The key motif of the text is “Freedom.” Luther in his life demonstrated freedom for himself and others under the gospel. The extensive resources for further reading in each chapter will certainly benefit seminary students and congregational members.
Dr. Quintin Robertson, Instructor & Director of the Urban Theological Institute & Black Church Studies Program at United Lutheran Seminary, reflects on the 40th Anniversary of the Urban Theological Institute at United Lutheran Seminary. He shares a historical overview of the Institute focusing in on the unique features of the program. Robertson also describes the changes that have taken place in the Institute including increased endowment, online courses, and the Black Church concentration.
As a college student, Dr. David Crowner a Professor Emeritus at Gettysburg College, participated in the March on Washington in 1963. There were busloads of people who attended the peaceful demonstration. However, that was not the beginning of his interest in social action. His father who was a pastor, shared his work in Hispanic communities on Sunday afternoons with David. This experience helped make him aware of differences in how people lived. Dave also discussed his involvement with CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and SNCC (Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee). Those seminal experiences helped to continue his interest in social action throughout his adult life. Dave emphasized the importance of social involvement to changing one’s worldview and encourages young people to continue to be involved in social action.
March On Washington 1963 (Trikosko, Marion S., photographer)
In a time when “essential” is a buzzword, Chris Glatfelter reminds us that an arts-rich community is a healthy one. Arts are essential in more ways than we recognize. Glatfelter retired from her role as Executive Director of the Adams County Arts Council (ACAC) in December 2020 and happily passes the torch to Leona Rega who, with her colleagues, board members and volunteers, is keeping the ACAC’s robust programming and presence alive. Glatfelter joins Katy Giebenhain for a conversation about her longtime leadership of the organization, and the collaborative, essential spirit in which it came to be.
Dr. Charles Leonard, Professor of Practical Theology at United Lutheran Seminary; pastor of St. Marks Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, PA talks about the top story for religion in 2020. COVID-19 and its effect on congregational life. The conversation included the pandemic and church membership, connecting members with each other in this virtual environment, difficulties in Christian education, and post pandemic changes to church culture as we have known it in the past.
Mark S. Burrows joins The Seminary Explores to talk about his recent teaching on wonder and its significance in a pandemic – with some Mary Oliver and Rachel Carson in the mix. Burrows has taught at graduate theological schools in the U.S. and Europe, most recently The Protestant University of Applied Sciences in Bochum, Germany. His Ph.D. and M.Div. are from Princeton Theological Seminary. An historian of medieval Christianity, his research and writing have focused on those creative minds among the mystics, visionaries, and poets who often found themselves living and working at the margins of Christianity.
Elizabeth Pfiester is the founder and director of the non-profit T1International, which is based in the UK, and is dedicated to using ethics and solidarity in its quest for more accessible insulin. The initiator of the grassroots campaign #insulin4all, it does not accept funding from pharmaceutical companies or any organization that would compromise its ability to advocate for insulin affordability and access.
Pfiester holds a master’s degree in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies from The London School of Economics and Political Science. We caught up with Elizabeth during a busy August at T1International.
You can learn more about the insulin price crisis in the U.S. and how T1International advocates around the world are seeking change so that this essential medicine gets into the hands of all who need it. https://www.t1international.com/
This podcast was the final Seminary Explores program with Dr. Gerald Christianson who announced his retirement after 44 years of being a host of the program. He discussed the goal of the program, the types of interviewees the program sought to interview, and the theological underpinnings which guided the program.
He also talked about the justice issues he wish he had pursued. In addition, he recalled excitement on doing live shows in which an adult Sunday school class would observe the interview and then be able to ask the guest speaker questions following the recording. The podcast ended with him signing off for the last time. (Or is it?)