The Seminary Explores
Hospitality, Bravery, and Doonesbury: A Conversation with Rev. Eric Shafer

Hospitality, Bravery, and Doonesbury: A Conversation with Rev. Eric Shafer

March 14, 2022

The Seminary Explores catches up with The Rev. Eric Shafer, Senior Pastor of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica, California before his upcoming retirement. He’s worn many hats in the past decades, including those of parish pastor, communications and fundraising executive leader, mentor, and partner in interfaith initiatives.

An ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, he is graduate of Muhlenberg College and Hamma School of Theology (now part of Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capitol University). Rev. Shafer was recognized with a 2021 Partnership Award from The Westside Coalition for Housing, Hunger and Health in Santa Monica. He serves on the President’s Council of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), is a member of the Santa Monica Bay Area Human Relations Council and is a founder and board member of Students 4 Students Homeless Shelters.

 

Educating for Social Justice

Educating for Social Justice

February 28, 2022

Dr. Russell Dalton, Professor of Religious Education, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, Texas, discussed his interest and research in social justice in preparation for a forthcoming book. He shared that his motivation for this research came from the lack of religious education addressing social justice praxis.

In general, religious education may advocate for social justice but not give congregational members the practical tools for addressing social justice in their respective locations. As a model, he has used the educational method of the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights period in presentations on social justice as well as the of Jim Lawson workshops in Nashville. Both require critical reflection on what participants anticipate happening in their actions It is important for people to know the risks in social justice work and to trust their fellow co-participants in the work. At the conclusion of the conversation, Dalton gives some practical ideas that congregations can use to equip themselves to work on social justice.

Christian Education and the Pandemic

Christian Education and the Pandemic

May 10, 2021

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.

Remembering/Embracing: 40 years of the Urban Theological Institute

Remembering/Embracing: 40 years of the Urban Theological Institute

March 1, 2021

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.

Dr. Quintin Robertson

An Ecumenical Overview

An Ecumenical Overview

March 9, 2020

Dr. Darlis Swan, the Ecumenical Representative of the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), details the ecumenical movement in the United States. She defined “ecumenical” and went on to share her interest in ecumenism from her seminary studies to her work in the Office of Ecumenical Affairs of the ELCA. She also discussed:

  • The transition from the ecumenical movement from the U.S. to the global context.
  • Suggested readings on the ecumenical movement
  • The involvement of congregational members in ecumenical work
  • Ecumenical relationships of the ELCA

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Military Chaplains: Service to God and Country

Military Chaplains: Service to God and Country

January 27, 2020

Chaplain Palmer and Chaplain Meeker liken the role of Army chaplains to parish pastors insofar as they are responsible for Word and Sacrament but emphasize the role of “incarnational ministry” in their total involvement in the life of the soldier. Special challenges are the visits to families when a son or daughter is killed, and in recent years the need to address post-traumatic stress. For all this, chaplains must undergo a rigorous course of study in addition to basic training. Both Chaplains Meeker and Palmer encourage seminarians and others to consider a career in ministry to the military.

• Chaplain Glenn Palmer, Chief, Training Development Division, US Army Chaplain Center and School, Ft. Jackson SC
• Chaplain Karen Meeker, Chief, Recruiting Division, Office of Chief of Chaplains, Pentagon, Washington DC

What is Systematic Theology?

What is Systematic Theology?

February 11, 2019

Dr. John Hoffmeyer a Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at United Lutheran Seminary defines and describes the history and the focus of systematic theology. He shares his formation in the field from his undergraduate years to his studies in Germany and his doctoral studies at Boston College. Those theologians who have influences his work include: James Cone and Robert Jenson, and Eberhard Jüngel. Future projects for Dr. Hoffmeyer includes work on the nature of theological education (examining theory and practice) and the doctrine of the Trinity.

A New Vision for a Newly Merged Seminary

A New Vision for a Newly Merged Seminary

August 28, 2018

Emphasizing the importance of addressing community relations with students, faculty, alumni, and churches, Dr. Richard Green the Interim President at United Lutheran Seminary, pointed to the recently approved Mission Statement as a foundation for the future. The Mission calls for a focus on unity, learning, and service, and lays the groundwork for a strategic plan that is already under way. The plan will then guide policy decisions on tuition scholarships, faculty development, curriculum, maintenance, and endowment, among other issues.

Urban Ministry, Black Men, and the Lutheran Church

Urban Ministry, Black Men, and the Lutheran Church

March 13, 2017

Pastor Yehiel Curry of Shekinah Chapel describes his own path to ordained ministry, and his work with the Lutheran Church in developing a relevant, exciting ministry, geared toward Black men and their families in Chicago. He is dynamic, passionate and wise, and you will love his story!

Cancer Trials and Christian Faith:  One Expression of a Lutheran Vocation

Cancer Trials and Christian Faith: One Expression of a Lutheran Vocation

September 26, 2016

In the ongoing series of podcasts “Science for Seminaries”, Gettysburg Seminary board member Dr. Greg Yothers discusses his own faith and the connection he sees between his faith and his work as a researcher in clinical cancer trials. 

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