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. 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. 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
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. Richard Stewart, Professor Emeritus United Lutheran Seminary, discusses his current history project funded through a Louisville Institute grant. This oral and written history project seeks to collect and archive the experiences of being African American in contemporary Lutheranism. His work is a race against time to gather first hand accounts whenever possible and track down family members and peers of those who have passed on for their second hand accounts and memories of those early pioneers.
To learn more about this project listen to the interviews visit: http://rnstewart.blogspot.com/
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.
Dr. Maria Erling, Professor of American Church History, ULS, and author, “The Augustana Story” sets the Lutheran World Federation Assembly, held in Windhoek, Namibia in the context of justice and reconciliation in Namibia and the abused women in the Congo.
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!
After almost 500 years since the Reformation, Donald McCoid, Bishop Emeritus, Southwest Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA, and staff member on the “Declaration” Commission discusses, Declaration on the Way: Church, Ministry, Eucharist offers an unprecedented series of 32 “statements of agreement” between Roman Catholics and Lutherans. The culmination of 50 years of dialogues, they signal that Catholics and Lutherans are “on the way” to full, visible unity. Approved 931-9 by the ELCA Church-wide Assembly, the full document is available free on-line. A study guide for congregations will soon be released.
Former Gettysburg Seminary student Ivan Belanji discusses the Lutheran church in Serbia and Slovakia, and describes his study at the seminary in Bratislava.