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. Leonard Hummel is a Chaplain Hospice at Allina Health Care in Ulm, MN and is also Professor Emeritus at United Lutheran Seminary. He shares with us the nature and importance of the hospice chaplain in the end-of-life process including how it is integrated into the healthcare system and each patients support and medical team. He also shares some of the more specific challenges of shepherding people through the end-of-life experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. He reminds us that the end-of-life is a universal experience, that while shared, is also unique for each individual.
Poetry, Theology, and Art from North Wales via a Special R.S. Thomas Festival
Susan Fogarty, director of the R.S. Thomas & M.E. Eldridge Festival in Aberdaron, shares highlights of the upcoming Festival with The Seminary Explores. Both the poet-priest and the artist were prolific, wise, talented and steeped in rural realities. First held in 2014, the Festival has featured distinguished speakers including Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. The 2021 Festival will be held live online in association with Church Times on June 19.
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.