Dr. Grafton, Academic Dean and Professor of Christian and Islamic Studies, Hartford Seminary, discusses his newest book which he edited, More Than a Cup of Coffee and Tea which was published this year. The book explores some of the important documents and themes that have emerged over the years in the area of Christian-Muslim relations. The book is accessible to both church leaders and laypersons. The global perspective of the book highlights programs and experiences around the world where Lutherans and other Christians encounter and build on the experiences of their Muslim neighbors. In his reflections on seminaries and Muslim issues, Grafton was enthusiastic about the number of seminaries who are including Islamic studies in their courses of studies. He feels that such additions to the curriculum help rostered church leaders to educate congregational members against Islamophobia.
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.
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.
Haya Mohanna came to the United States from the Gaza Strip in Palestine to study at Gettysburg College. She was sponsored by LE.O (Leonard Education Organization) which supports nearly 60 qualified students in American universities. Even with this support, she experienced the difficulty of leaving occupied Gaza, and the frustration of not being able to visit her family whom she has not seen in seven years. She has flourished in America even while she continues to make adjustments as a Muslim woman to her new environment. She believes that this country is a beacon of hope that must come to terms with itself as a cultural mix where no religion, culture, or race can be privileged.
Pastor Andrew Geib, Associate Pastor, St. James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg, identified nine top stories in religion for the year 2019: ELCA Church Sanctuary issue, United Methodist possible split, Women in the Church, Collapse of Christianity, the burning of Notre Dame in Paris, and more. While the stories were mostly grim, he ends with word of hope for listeners.
Dr. Susann Samples, Professor of Foreign Languages at Mt. St. Mary’s University, discusses her Delaplaine Seminar professorship at Mount St. Mary’s University. The professorship’s faculty seminar centered on “The Black Diaspora in Europe” with the goal of introducing this topic to a wider audience and to begin the process of “decolonizing” the curriculum.
In this conversation she explores the historical background and readings relevant to the study of the African Diaspora in Europe. She also discusses the importance of the seminar for a Catholic University and the desired outcomes of the seminar.
Jean LeGros has served as the former Director of Alumni Relations, Gettysburg College, and Major Gifts Officer at Gettysburg College and Gettysburg (now United) Lutheran Seminary and the Majestic Theater, Gettysburg.
Ms. Legros recently completed a study of women and Gettysburg College in the early years of the 20th century, relates the stumbling blocks along the path to permanent co-education at the school. Although the college’s charter did not designate the school as all male, the founder’s purpose to provide men for the ministry began a tradition that lasted into the 1930’s. Pressure to allow women on an equal footing with men (rather than as day students), came from local women’s groups, forceful leaders such as the noted author, Elsie Singmaster, and even the Lutheran Church which had special ties to the school. Equally important, change came during the Depression when dollars and students were scarce.
Ron Couchman, a 52-year member of the Gettysburg College staff was the former Registrar and is currently working in Special Collections and College Archives, shares his personal story of coming out as a gay man with the help of therapy and his congregation, St. James, Gettysburg.
With the leadership of a task force of which he is a member and the support of the pastors, the congregation has adopted Reconciling in Christ which emphasizes welcome, equality, and justice. The task force holds a celebration of “Reconciling” each January. He recommends a helpful resource, “ReconcilingWorks,” as a way for congregations to build community beyond itself.
Carla Christopher returns to carry on our discussion about having difficult conversations. In this episode we explore the terminology surrounding gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Society often perceives these topics as very binary, you are male or female, you are attracted to men or to women. The reality is much more complicated. Carla skillfully guides us through the terminology and how it is used and misused. She also explains personal pronouns and why he/she and his/hers are not the only options.
Alex Hayes, Managing Editor of the Gettysburg Times, shares his belief that for a local newspaper to survive it must be local. Despite, and perhaps because of, the competition from on-line news, people still want to read about their neighbors, their town councils, their courts, and their sports events, even if one reads it as an e-edition. Furthermore, the newspaper, whether the New York Times or the Gettysburg Times, offers a much higher degree of reliability than on-line news which is often driven by unverified opinion or worse—a development in American history that is a major departure from the past and often disturbing as well.