The Seminary Explores
The Reflections of an African American Police Chief

The Reflections of an African American Police Chief

March 28, 2022

Darius Potts, Chief of Police in Ankeny Iowa, discusses the challenges facing law enforcement officers during a time of distrust and gaps between the police and the community. He is the first African American to be Police Chief in Ankeny, IA.

As Chief, he feels that one of his responsibilities is to decrease the stress levels that his officers face. That is accomplished in part by promoting communication and yearly structured mental health support for every officer.

Throughout his career in law enforcement, Potts has had to strike a balance between being an officer and dealing with the experiences of those in the communities he served. He explains the importance for both officers and the community to understand the long history of mistrust of police and that it is not a new phenomenon. African American candidates in law enforcement especially must grapple with this as they consider the profession.

Ankeny is a growing community, but the recruitment of officers is down. Fewer people are taking an interest in this profession. At present, his department is down seven staff members. The department will need more women and men for a growing community. Potts is optimistic about law enforcement and would encourage young people to consider it as their life work. With all the present-day challenges to law enforcement, Potts believes it is a noble profession.

Epiphany and Insurrection: Educational Challenges

Epiphany and Insurrection: Educational Challenges

January 17, 2022

On the anniversary of the January 6, 2021 insurrection, Rev. Dr. Norma Cook Everist, Distinguished Professor of Church and Ministry, emerita, Wartburg Theological Seminary, discussed the meaning of being political, the separation of church and state or the separation of religion and government. She uncovered the meaning of Christian Nationalism and the importance of Christian education in combatting this and similar ideologies. With all the divisions within the United States, Everist suggests building a trustworthy environment so that we can be different together. She concludes with the vocation of the church in these challenging times in our nation and the world.

Christians and Muslims Together

Christians and Muslims Together

October 11, 2021

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.

Top Stories in Religion for 2020

Top Stories in Religion for 2020

December 28, 2020

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.

Blackbirding: A Song Cycle After All Your Senses

Blackbirding: A Song Cycle After All Your Senses

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.

 

A Palestinian Woman Navigates the Borderland between Two Cultures

A Palestinian Woman Navigates the Borderland between Two Cultures

March 23, 2020

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.

 

Gaza closure December 2012

The Top Stories in Religion 2019

The Top Stories in Religion 2019

January 13, 2020

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.

Investigating Afro-Germans and Afro-Russians

Investigating Afro-Germans and Afro-Russians

October 21, 2019

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.

The Long Path to Permanent Coeducation at Gettysburg College

The Long Path to Permanent Coeducation at Gettysburg College

August 12, 2019

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.

Reconciling in Christ: A Personal Story

Reconciling in Christ: A Personal Story

June 17, 2019

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.

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