In This Issue
PLTS Students Travel to Atlanta
Week of Renewal 2011
Let There be Lights!
Meet a Seminarian
YEAH! in the news
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Above the Fog
PLTS Newsletter

February 2011

It's a week of transition here at PLTS. The spring semester has begun! We welcomed two new students and a visiting professor to campus. Dr. Phyllis Anderson begins her second term as PLTS president. Dr. Michael Aune returns from sabbatical, and Dr. Carol Jacobson and Dr. Steed Davidson begin theirs. Best wishes to everyone!
PLTS Students Attend College of Developers

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently held a College of Developers event in Atlanta, Georgia. Several students at PLTS who are pursuing the new Evangelism and Justice concentration as preparation for mission development and redevelopment attended the conference to network with mission developers, learn tools for evangelism and justice ministry, and experience Atlanta's commemoration and celebration of the work of Martin Luther King, Jr.


Highlights included attending a special worship service held at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in downtown Atlanta, hearing US Representative John Lewis share his memorable and inspirational story of living through the beginning of the civil rights movement and what it was like meeting Martin Luther King, Jr. for the first time, visiting the Jimmy Carter Center and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, and participating in the Martin Luther King, Jr. day march. Prior to the conference, students took a class taught at PLTS by Rev. Ruben Duran, Director for New Evangelizing Congregations in the ELCA.


PLTS students with Representative John Lewis.  

Photo by Anders Peterson.

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 is Professor of New Testament at 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,
served until recently 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 is the First Lutheran, Los Angeles/Southwest California Synod Professor of Reformation History and Theology at 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


Let There be Lights!

Sawyer lights

Thanks to a generous donor, there are new lights in Sawyer Hall. This puts the final touches on a renovation project that started nearly three years ago when St. Luke Lutheran Church in Portland sent down a team of painters led by Pastor Kit Neeley, MDiv 2000. That group also made a gift to get the floors refinished. Shortly after that, Augustana Lutheran Church of Portland made a gift from its endowment fund to purchase new furniture for the room. Pastor Mark Knutson, MDiv 1986, was involved in that important gift. In the years since, both congregations have continued their summer service to PLTS.


Fresh paint, shiny floors and new furniture all seemed dim under the old lights. A generous friend noticed, and offered to fund a lighting project. Now the beautiful dining room is complete, and we are grateful to all who have worked and contributed to make this possible.

Meet a Seminarian:

Tony Rhodes, Class of 2015

Tony RhodesTony Rhodes is a first year MDiv student who is looking forward to starting his second semester at PLTS. Tony grew up in a suburb of Seattle and attended Western Washington University.


When Tony isn't busy going to class or studying, he can be found working with the TEEM program on campus, taking in the many sites and activities of the bay area, playing board games and watching movies with other students, serving the hungry at a local church, and occasionally making a trip to Disneyland, where his mother works.


Currently, Tony is discerning a call to serve as a chaplain, and hopes that his experiences in teaching parish and Clinical Pastoral Education will help shape this important decision.


PLTS and the community here have quickly become home for Tony, and when he is away he always glad to return. He is really looking forward to the next three years and all the opportunities for growth and learning that await him.

PLTS Graduate Runs Successful Youth Shelter

Rev. Sarah Birdsall Isakson, MDiv 2002, currently serves as pastor of University Lutheran Chapel in Berkeley. The church runs a shelter for youth called YEAH, Youth Engagement, Advocacy and Housing. The shelter was recently profiled by the Oakland Tribune. Read the article here.


Jim Hazelwood, MDiv 1987, writes, "This winter will be my 18th year at St. Andrew, Charleston, Rhode Island. In the last five years we've built a long term relationship with churches in Honduras. Leading Short Term mission trips is one of the joys of my ministry. My wife, Lisa, is also co-pastor. We have one son, Ben, who will graduate this spring from George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC."


Robyn Provis, MTS 2003, was ordained on January 23, 2011, and has been called to special ministry by the St. Paul Area Synod for her work as a VA chaplain and as a consultant with Kairos and Associates.  


Edward L. Petersen, MDiv 1970, died on December 21, 2010, in Las Vegas. He is survived by his wife, Lauren Mudro Petersen.

Roberta Smythe, MDiv 2010, has been called to Galata Parish in eastern Montana. She will be ordained on March 20, 2011.

Jeffrey Spencer, MDiv 2000, accepted a call to serve as Lead Pastor at Oak Harbor Lutheran Church on Whidbey Island in Washington.

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