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.
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. 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
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
When it comes to poet/priests, R.S. Thomas is about as good as it gets. This Seminary Explores conversation includes insight into his relevance and the brilliant tensions in his work by John McEllhenney, author of A Masterwork of Doubting Belief: R.S. Thomas and His Poetry.
For more information on the R.S. Thomas Literary Festival visit: http://www.st-hywyn.org.uk/rst.html
Dr. Robert Randolph, the 2015 minister-in-residence at Gettysburg Seminary spent a week on campus this fall. He is an award-winning poet, pastor of a Presbyterian church and Chair of the English and Foreign Languages Department at Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, PA.
For more information on his publications visit: http://elixirpress.com/