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.
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.
February 15, 2021
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)
April 20, 2020
Award-winning vocalist, writer and multi-genre performing artist Queen Esther joins Katy Giebenhain for a conversation about her developing one person show and what’s been visible and not visible in her first impressions of Gettysburg. A winter artist-in-residence at the Gettysburg National Military Park, Queen Esther is based in New York City. Jazz, Blues, Black Americana, alt-rock, swing, gospel and beyond – these are the musical waters she swims in. Among her extensive collaborations is the avant-blues duo Hoosegow she formed with guitarist Elliott Sharp. Blues Matters Magazine calls her “… modern, yet not flashy while holding true to herself with firmness and a forthright approach and style.”
Many thanks to our host site for this interview, Waldo’s and Co. on the Square in Gettysburg. The Artist-in-Residence program is made possible by the Gettysburg Foundation and The National Park Arts Foundation, with support from the National Park Service.
Special thanks also to The Seminary Ridge Museum.
November 18, 2019
Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. is a local, inter-church, homeless initiative with no national affiliation, but can serve as a model for churches everywhere who want to serve their communities in an area of dramatic need: overnight accommodations for the homeless. Founded by Pastor Michael Allwein, Senior Pastor, St. James Lutheran Church, Gettysburg, C.A.R.E.S involves a dozen churches and volunteers who host, supervise and serve breakfast to dozens of individuals every night from October to April. Individuals and families are housed overnight in churches and provided with breakfast, and in a Resource House next to St. James, given access to showers and computers. They are also served by a medical clinic, social workers, and a full-time director.
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September 23, 2019
Leon Reed shares the results of recent studies on poverty in Adams County and Pennsylvania to help answer why poverty prevails in the U.S. even when the economy has flourished. The definition of poverty now includes single persons making $20,000 or less and a family of four making $59,000 or less. He observes that the two fundamental issues are jobs and housing. In the justice system, the poor who get charged with misdemeanors have difficulty making bail and paying fines, resulting in their return to prison. Meanwhile, federal and state funding has dropped drastically to the point where programs that help are being curtailed or shut down.
February 25, 2019
Megan Shreve, CEO, South Central Community Action Programs, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania talks housing on this episode of the Seminary Explores. The “Wage Gap,” perhaps the most significant contribution to the housing crisis, occurs when a working family on minimum wage does not qualify for aid, but doesn’t have enough to cover the necessities of food, health, transportation, and child care. In addition, declining resources from state and federal governments are threatening even the most basic programs such as overnight shelters. SCAAP has created two innovative, and biblical, programs that involve community resources. “Support Circles” provide dinner and child care as well as action strategies to rise out of the gap. “Gleaning” allows families to harvest agricultural products that growers can’t market.
December 3, 2018
Carla Christopher, a student at United Lutheran Seminary and a former Poet Laureate of York, Pennsylvania, talks about how we can have difficult conversations around challenging topics by creating a safe space where people can engage with one another and feel safe to be human. Conversations about race, diversity, and a gender can be difficult, but there are resources available to help any group or organization, no matter how small, to begin to share their life experiences with one another.
Learn more about Carla at carlachristopher.com and communityartsink.org.
July 6, 2018
Kim Davidson, Director, Center for Public Service, Gettysburg College, recently returned from a study tour of El Paso, TX and Juarez, Mexico maintains that current policy toward Mexican and Central American immigrants is based on racism, and that it is made more acute by the lack of transparency in the practices of I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). She suggests several things that advocates can do, including making their voices heard and providing legal services to those wrongly detained.