In This Issue
Luther Lecture is Next Week!
PLTS Centennial Celebration
Context(ual) Education
Sermon by Dr. Balch
Meet a Seminarian
Evangelism and Justice Concentration
C-4 Coalition
Quick Links
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Above the Fog
PLTS Newsletter

October 2010

Greetings from a very quiet campus! Our students are enjoying Reading Week this week. Next week the hustle and bustle resumes with the Luther Lecture and the Board of Directors meeting.

We hope you are having a blessed day.
Luther Lecture: November 3, 2010
Reading Luther as a Postmodern Theologian
Dr. Kathryn A. Kleinhans


For generations it was common in intellectual circles to debate whether Martin Luther was the last medieval thinker or the first modern thinker. Five hundred years after the Reformation, perhaps the question is: What relevance does Luther have for our postmodern context?" Martin Luther lived at a time of tremendous historical and cultural change, which shaped a theology that was heavily contextual. Doing authentically Lutheran theology today requires us not only to be faithful to the central insights of Luther and the Lutheran Confessions but also to be genuinely contextual in response to the rapidly changing historical and cultural circumstances of our own age.

An ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Dr. Kathryn A. Kleinhans has taught at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, since 1993. She currently serves as Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion and Philosophy, which she chaired from 1999 to 2010, and has recently been appointed program director for the Discovering and Claiming Our Callings initiative, Wartburg's Lilly Endowment-funded Program for the Theological Exploration of Vocation. Dr. Kleinhans describes herself as having one foot firmly planted in the 16th century and the other firmly planted in the 21st century. In addition to her scholarly publications, she is eager to make Lutheran theology relevant for Christians today through popular articles and devotional writings.

For more information and to see the schedule, click here. Early registration (discounted fee) closes soon. Click here to register.
PLTS Centennial
2010 awardees
Rev. Janet Young, Christina Schmidt and Rev. Chris Flohr were presented awards for Faith and Courage.

Friends and graduates of PLTS gathered in Portland to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Divinity School of the Pacific Synod on October 8, 1910. The first class met at St. James Lutheran Church, so it was there and in the northwest that we gathered to honor those courageous visionaries whose dream lives today at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley.

Read more.

You can see photos from the weekend here.
Context(ual) Education
Davidson book of faith
Dr. Steed Davidson with members of Grace, Trinity and Christ Lutheran Churches

There is more than one faculty member at PLTS who is deeply involved in context(ual) education. Not only is this a class for all seminary students, it was also a class on Saturday October 2nd for members of the three ELCA churches (Grace Lutheran, Trinity Lutheran and Christ Lutheran) in the Goleta and Santa Barbara, California area. Dr. Steed Davidson was the guest lecturer at the fall kick-off event for the three congregations joint Book of Faith studies.

The three ELCA churches work together and share resources to operate a weekly food pantry, a senior high youth ministry, hold joint Bible studies, and are exploring ways to increase joint ministry with other churches in the area to address the problems of homelessness.

The lecture, and tri-tip BBQ lunch, was hosted by Christ Lutheran, Goleta. Pastor Ron Cox (MDiv 2009) has been serving at Christ Lutheran ( since August 2009.

Sermon: The God of All, of the Mournful and the Joyful, of Jew and Gentile
Balch, DavidDr. David Balch
Feast of Saint Luke
October 20, 2010
Chapel of the Cross

I am very happy to have been given the opportunity to preach on this feast day of St. Luke! Some 20 years ago, Edwin Judge, a great Australian classicist also interested in New Testament, told me that to finish my research on Luke-Acts, I needed to learn Italian. Luke and Edwin Judge are the reasons that I set off for Rome, which I have visited now many times. I keep trying to persuade people that Italian pasta and Tuscan Borolo wine are not the only reasons I like to go to Italy. I have a deep interest in exactly what our lectionary texts today mean.

Meet a Seminarian
Sara GrossMeet first-year seminarian and MDiv student, Sara Gross. She comes to PLTS from Portland, Oregon, where she spent two years teaching middle school and many years working with her church's youth group, coaching dance and colorguard, and spending summers working at Camp Lutherwood outside of Eugene, Oregon.

Sara first started listening to her call to seminary after serving as a voting member at the ELCA church-wide assembly in August of 2009. Now that she's in Berkeley, she is enjoying planning worship and growing as a member of the PLTS community.

Sara thanks all the members of her "cheerleading team" back home in Oregon who have been supportive sources of wisdom and faith through her discernment process. Especially, she is blessed by her home church of Creator Lutheran in Clackamas, Oregon, and her pastor, Dayle Askey, who has encouraged her from the start.

Also, she thanks her pastor/mentors whom she is profoundly blessed to have met through her involvement with outdoor ministry and the Oregon Synod and have been around as listening ears and uplifting voices on the journey: Rev. Donna Herzfeldt-Kamprath, Rev. Laurie Larson Caesar (PLTS '94), Rev. Solvieg Nilson-Goodin, Rev. Amanda Zentz (PLTS '04), and Rev. Jana (Adams) Deiss (PLTS '02). Their words of wisdom continue to carry her through her first experiences as a seminarian.
Evangelism and Justice Concentration
Bolz-WeberPLTS has developed a new Evangelism and Justice Concentration as part of its MDiv program. Students who choose this concentration graduate with a vision for development and re-development of congregations, basic training in how to do that specialized ministry, and a network of church colleagues behind and in front of them as they begin their ministry.

As part of the new concentration, we are pleased to announce the visit to our campus by Rev. Nadia Bolz-Webber, Pastor Developer at the House for All Sinners and Saints, Denver, Colorado, on November 8 from 7-8:30 pm, Sawyer Hall. Her presentation is open to all students as well as area laity and clergy.
C-4: Coalition for Community Conversion and Care
Diversity has been a high but illusive value at PLTS for many years. The very first goal of our strategic plan is: To nurture a thriving community of faith, discipleship, justice and diversity. 

In the spring of 2009, PLTS engaged an outside consultant to conduct a survey of the climate at PLTS regarding cultural and racial diversity and to make recommendations to move us closer to where we say we want to be. The consultant's first recommendation was the formation of a "powerful guiding coalition" composed of board members, faculty, staff, graduates and students. The coalition is charged to work with senior administrators to "move PLTS boldly to fulfill its commitment to prepare leaders who are dedicated to ethnic and cultural diversity."  

The coalition was appointed and held its first meeting in July 2010. Members of the coalition are President Phyllis Anderson, Academic Dean Michael Aune,  Board Chair Randy Foster, board member and graduate Rev. John Lund, faculty member and graduate Dr. Alicia Vargas, faculty member Dr. Steed Davidson, staff member and graduate Christine Sinnott, graduates Rev. Adisa Armand-Miller, Rev. Todd Bertani and Quinn Gorges, and students Ben Colahan and Stacey Siebrasse. Drs. Vargas and Anderson co-chair the coalition. The members of the Coalition were formally installed in chapel on September 22. 
In its first four monthly meetings, this newly-appointed group has worked toward clarity on its identity and purpose. The group agreed that it will be called the Coalition for Community Conversion and Care, or C-4 for short.

C-4 has adopted as its statement of purpose: To develop guiding principles and interactive programs that address institutional racism at PLTS and promote pluralism and mutual understanding of identities and cultures among its students, faculty, staff, and board. C-4 is developing a set of values for how it will go about its work, and goals for particular areas on which to focus.  

Susanne Blume (MDiv 2008) has received a call as the Associate Pastor for Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Care at Luther Place Memorial Church in Washington, DC.

Joshua Bruns (MDiv 2009) was ordained on October 24th at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Colorodo Springs, Colorado.

Carol Custead (MDiv 1981) writes, "Hello! I thought I'd forward this photo from out here in the east -- in central PA groupPennsylvania! This was taken at our recent Allegheny Synod Bishop's Convocation. The three PLTS grads in our synod have organized an "Allegheny Synod PLTS Alumni Club" (with three members). Back row: Rev. Larry Hoover (TEEM 2006), Rev. Carol CusteadRev. Scott Custead (MDiv 1981), and Bishop Gregory Pile. Front row: Rev. Ruben Duran (MDiv 1986, PLTS board of directors).

Christine Emerson (MDiv 2005)
was installed in her new call as associate pastor at St. John's Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on October 21st, 2010.

Michael Fazio (MDiv 2005) writes, "
My wife Kathy, my son Matthew and I are happy to announce the birth of our second son, Jacob, on July 4th. We are all healthy, happy and greatly enjoying all of God's blessings, both at home and in the church to which He has called us."

Donna Simon (MDiv 1999) will be received onto the ELCA roster in a Rite of Reception at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Kansas City, Missouri, on October 28, 2010. Donna was ordained October 28, 2000, and has served Abiding Peace Lutheran Church since August of 2000.

Your Name Here -- please keep us up to date with your whereabouts and happenings here.