In This Issue
President Extended Second Term
Advent Devotional
Meet a Seminarian
Intersession 2011
Week of Renewal 2011
Coming Full Circle
Grads in Greece
Annual Report Online
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Above the Fog
PLTS Newsletter

November 2010

It is November in Berkeley, just like everywhere else, but you wouldn't know it by the weather. We've had record-breaking temperatures in the 80s this week, and send warm wishes to all of you!
President Phyllis Anderson Extended Second Term 
President Anderson 

The PLTS Board of Directors, at its November meeting, voted unanimously and with great acclaim to extend a second six-year term to President Phyllis Anderson.
Dr. Anderson has led the seminary through its initial phase of change and transformation, concluding her first term with five consecutive years of financial stability, an improved campus environment, a strong student body and a most valued and diverse faculty. She has served as the "impressive voice" of the seminary, sharing the message of seminary education in circles around the country. She has come to be known as that "Abundant, Bold and Connected" voice of reason and resolve throughout the church.
During her next term, Dr. Anderson will work to lead the effort to transform seminary education further through enhanced technologies, residential and non-residential approaches, as well as interagency partnerships that promote economies-of-scale and improved cost-efficiencies. This will no doubt be a series of major initiatives requiring much data gathering and coordination. This work is of such importance that the Board has asked to make it her top priority.
With this future in mind, the directors of the board request that you join us in congratulating Dr. Anderson as she begins yet another important and significant phase of her professional career, leading PLTS forward with abundance in purpose, boldness in commitment and an ever-present connection with the people of God.
In Christ's service,
Randall S. Foster
Chair, Board of Directors

Christ, Be Our Light

advent devotionalThe Advent Devotional Calendar, which PLTS and Luther Seminary jointly publish every year, is now available online.  

Meet a Seminarian:

Ben Colahan, Class of 2011

ColahanBen Colahan is a fourth year MDiv student who has just returned from internship in Tempe, Arizona. Before seminary, Ben attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon His experience at a college whose unofficial slogan is "Communism, Atheism, Free love" forced him to think critically about his faith and inspired him to go to PLTS in order to articulate a theology that could speak to people who have had negative experiences of Christianity. 

Ben has a great love for art that is made collaboratively, especially theater. While in seminary, he received a fellowship from the Fund for Theological Education to travel the country and visit organizations that create community through collaborative art. As a result he has sought to integrate interactive art into his ministry, including distributing cameras during a sermon so that people could walk the neighborhood and take pictures of where they see God; using theater games for bible study; and designing a Lenten worship series in which members of the congregation shared their reflection on parts of the story of the prodigal son through original poetry, songs, painting, carpentry, and crochet. Ben is currently working with his fiancée to start a new theatre company dedicated to creating site-specific performances that explore the space in which the local community exists for the purpose of inviting that community into conversation about itself and its culture.

At PLTS, Ben can often be found in the Office of Contextual Education where he works as the student associate. He is also frequently seen flying down the hill on his bicycle or riding the "looper" shuttle up the hill with his bicycle on the rack. He likes to point out that the looper is where some of the best theology happens, because after getting excited about ideas in class, students have a twenty-minute ride to discuss everything they have heard.
Intersession Course Offerings: January 2011

stained glassLSFT-1130 The Excellent Liturgist

Voice. Presence. Persona. Liturgical Imagination. These are crucial components of good liturgical leadership. This practical, hands-on course will focus upon chanting, singing, ritual reading, the use of the body and liturgical imagination. Taught by Rev. Sandra Dager.


CE-1053 Introduction to Christian Ethics

The course 1) presents an evangelical approach to Christian ethics; 2) surveys key ethical texts from the Christian tradition; and 3) engages in case studies on a variety of contemporary ethical issues. Taught by Rev. Dr. Mark Brocker.


FT-2525 Evangelical Justice Outreach

This class will be focused on the role of a church leader in equipping the saints for the ministries of evangelism and justice. Students will explore the theological and ministry connections of justification and justice as a seamless dynamic of the work that is God's, yet, in and through our hands and lives. Taught by Rev. Ruben Duran. 


FTCE-2764 Leadership in Hard Times

This course will look at the generative history behind what is currently referred to as "soft power" and will explore its usefulness for ministry in today's world. Students will collaborate in developing theological templates for understanding and communicating "soft/smart power" strategies in congregational settings while stretching power boundaries and making them more supple. Taught by Dr. Kathleen S. Hurty.


For more information about these classes, including schedules, class requirements and credits offered, please click here.

Week of Renewal 2011: June 20-24, 2011

bridgeYou are invited to a week of renewal of classes, worship, stimulating conversation and restorative time in the company of old and new colleagues in ministry and lay people interested in theology in the wonderful setting between the Bay and Tilden Park. The Week of Renewal at PLTS offers stimulating classes in the morning and afternoon and much, much more.


"This was a grace-filled, life-giving week that was renewing in every way. The community experience was a delightful surprise! I've already put it on my calendar for next year. A huge success!"  - Ruth Sievert

Course Descriptions

"Broken Hallelujahs: Preaching and Worship That Listen to Pop Culture's Cries"

(Morning Option 1) 

Dr. Christian Scharen is Assistant Professor at Luther Seminary, St. Paul where he teaches worship and practical theology and writes about popular culture.  Dr. Scharen is a graduate of PLTS and the GTU.

"Rethinking Paul: A Lutheran Perspective" (Morning Option 2)

Dr. David Balch, Professor of New Testament, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union

Paul's theology is critical for many issues facing Lutherans today.  We are challenged to rethink Paul in relation to his interpretation of the Mosaic Covenant (Genesis vs. Exodus), "bound conscience" in I Corinthians 8-10, Visual Representations of Death in Roman House Churches and the Eucharist in I Corinthians 11, and gender, sex and marriage in I Corinthians 6-7, 11, 14.


Transformed by Those Who are "Other" Than "Us" (Morning Option 3)

Dr. Karen L. Bloomquist, Bellingham, Washington,
until recently, served as Director of the Department for Theology and Studies, The Lutheran World Federation, Geneva.  She was previously Director for Studies in the ELCA (Church in Society) and is a PLTS graduate.

Dare we as churches risk being transformed...through relationships with those whose culture, views and practices are alien to ours?  This is the challenge for local congregations that are part of a global communion like the Lutheran World Federation. How is this boundary-crossing central to what evangelism and justice-seeking are about? How can we as churches bear an alternative public witness in a world marked by polarizing injustices and divisions?


"Luther's Dilemma: The Struggle Between the Truth of the Gospel and the Bonds of Christian Love"  (Afternoon) 

Dr. Jane Strohl, First Lutheran, Los Angeles/Southwest California Synod Professor of Reformation History and Theology, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary

The Lutheran style of theology and ministry is like a Chanel suit: unmistakable, surprising and timeless. And graceful to be sure, but cut to accommodate rancor and division from the beginning.  How can our tradition wear well in these days?


For additional information about fees for tuition, room and board, and to register, click here

PLTS Graduate To Publish New Book
GipsonRalph Gipson (BTEM 1997) knows what it means to come full circle. Born into a culture of hatred and disenfranchisement, Ralph's life took him to the depths of racism, sexism, agnosticism, drug abuse, violence, and promiscuity.
Coming Full Circle follows Ralph on his tumultuous quest to achieve a life of freedom and love. He discovers firsthand the falseness of the stereotypes he grew up believing when he joins the army, travels abroad, and sees a world without the racial divisions he knows back home. Ralph's views of himself and his race grow even more complex when his son and daughter are born. Despite his unhappy marriage, he refuses to leave his children and become just another stereotype. Determined to be a role model for his them, he chooses instead to be an outspoken writer and speaker on issues of parenthood in the black community. Eventually, Ralph hears the call to ministry and endures homelessness and poverty to enter the seminary. But even in the church, Ralph finds that many only see a person's color.
Coming Full Circle is a call to action for all Americans, of all races, to realize the vision of the civil rights leaders of the 1950s and 60s and become the "beloved community" Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of.

The book will be published in the winter.
Ralph is a single father of two children. He has served at several Lutheran churches as a full-time pastor and a transitional ministry specialist. He currently lives in Houston, Texas, where he is working to start a new church, The Beloved Community.
Graduates in Greece

Athens MaasBrother and sister graduates John Maas (MDiv 1977) and Barbara Maas Punch (MDiv 2006) traveled recently to Greece. John is pastor at Christ the Good Shepherd in Salem, Oregon. He is pictured here on Mars Hill, just below the Panthenon in Athens. 
John Maas

Barbara is pastor of Our Savior, Prineville, Oregon. She is pictured here, also on Mars Hill.  
2009-2010 Annual Report

The 2009-2010 PLTS Annual Report is now available online.

Rev. Walton F. "Wally" Berton (DMin 1984) died on November 6, 2010. A memorial service was held on Nov. 9th at Trinity Lutheran in Victorville, California.
Rev. Howard Wennes (DMin 1982) has been appointed as the Interim Director of the new Mission Advancement Unit of the ELCA.  This is part of the new church-wide organization design announced by Presiding Bishop Hanson on October 11, 2010.

Rev. Holly Gunby (MDiv 2000) will be taking a leave from call to work on her certification for chaplaincy.
Rev. Heidi Hester (MDiv 2003) was recently appointed to a full time call as Assistant to the Bishop for Pastoral Care, Learning and Ministry, of the Pacifica Synod.

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