In This Issue
Thanks to our Challengers
Meet a Seminarian
Sermon on Psalm 139
Intersession 2011
Week of Renewal 2011
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Above the Fog
PLTS Newsletter

December 2010

Tomorrow is the last day of the fall semester, and some students have already departed for points far and near. May your holiday season be bright!
Thanks to our Challengers

We extend our deep appreciation to Kathy Dean and to Rev. Lori Eickmann, MDiv 2005, and her husband Steve Wright for their year-end challenge gifts.


Kathy, who serves on the PLTS Board of Directors and chairs the Recruitment, Admissions and Enrollment committee, has offered to match the first $50,000 that the seminary receives from friends and congregations before December 31.


Eickmann Wright
Lori Eickmann & Steve Wright

Pastor Lori and her husband, Steve, will match the first $10,000 that comes from PLTS grads before the end of the year.


Your gift will honor these generous donors and help us shape strong leaders for the church. To be sure your gift is matched, click HERE or mail it to PLTS at 2770 Marin Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94708 today.

Meet a Seminarian:

Maria Anderson, Class of 2015

Maria AndersonMaria Anderson is a first year MDiv student, excited to be finishing up her first semester of seminary. After spending a year with Lutheran Volunteer Corps in the Bay Area, she has enjoyed being able to keep up with her LVC friends and community, build new community here on campus and foster connection between the two communities!
Maria has been active with the student social justice organization, Lutherans in the Public Sphere (LIPS).  LIPS designates where our offering from campus worship is distributed and is working to get PLTS students into the larger Berkeley community through volunteer opportunities.  This has been a fun experience for Maria, as she has been able to support and share the organization she worked at during her LVC year, Berkeley Food and Housing Project.  Berkeley Food and Housing works to support the homeless population in Berkeley through drop-in centers, shelters and food programs. 

When not studying or participating in LIPS you can find Maria singing the PLTS choir, working for the Office of Seminary Relations, working with the Sierra Pacific Synod Anti-Racism Working Group, organizing a social gathering, baking bread or laughing really hard.

The line "God and sinners reconciled" from Hark! The Herald Angels Sing has been running through her head this Advent season. Maria is hopeful for reconciliation: reconciliation between nations and reconciliation between people, as well as reconciliation in Berkeley, on our campus and within ourselves. She hopes this Advent season brings your hopes and expectations to light as well!

Sermon on Psalm 139
by K. Luanna Baumann, Class of 2011

If you knew me from my church, you would also know to classify this sermon as one of my bus sermons. I love to preach about public transportation. Observations about the bus system reveal so much about human nature and the conditions of society. Just remember Rosa Parks, and Irene Morgan, Sarah Louise Keys, and Claudette Colvin, and surely many more whose bus experiences were like those of Rosa Parks. Who is allowed to sit where in the public realm? We can learn a lot about systems of hierarchy and segregation by taking the bus, then and now.

Read the entire sermon.
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


Kenneth Bergman (MDiv 1977) is being treated for congestive heart failure and Myasthenia Gravis. He remains an active member of Our Saviour's, Oxnard, leading an occasional adult Bible study. His son Bob, of Greeley, Colorado, has become his best friend and an outstanding caregiver, even though they are separated by many miles.


Kelly Denton Borhaug (MDiv 1987, GTU PhD 1999) is associate professor and chair of religion at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She recently published a book, U.S. War-Culture, Sacrifice and Salvation (London: Equinox Publishers, 2010). See for more information.


Ralph Gipson (BTEM 1997) has published his book, Coming Full Circle.


Hyungho Hong (MDiv 2010) was ordained and installed as the pastor of Dream Builders Church, Anaheim, California, on December 13.


Patsy Koeneke (MDiv 2005) was installed as the solo pastor of St Mark's Lutheran Church, Corpus Christi, Texas on November 14.


Amanda Zentz (MDiv 2004) accepted a new call to serve at First Lutheran in Mount Vernon, Washington.

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