In This Issue
Remembering Seminex: Enter Without Knocking!
Luther Lecture: Featuring Dr. Guillermo Hansen
Save the Date: New Dean Installation!
5th Annual Week of Renewal: June 23-27, 2014
Introducing:... The Spirit of Seminex Project!
Concordia Seminary in Exile (Seminex) Began Classes Forty Years Agok, of Feb 20, 1974
Student Spotlight: Sara Gross Samuelson, M.Div '14
Seminex Spotlight: Rev. Kent Schaufelberger
In Memoriam: Pastor Ronald Johnstad
Alum Updates
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Above the Fog
PLTS Newsletter

February 2014

Forty years ago, as seminarians here at PLTS and elsewhere heard of the "walkout" of students and faculty from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and the beginning of what would become Seminex and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC), we were impressed that for the sake of the freedom of the Gospel, seminary folks would make such a bold move. The courage and risks this entailed were considerable, including what ministry prospects they would face after seminary. Those were times when seminary graduates, at least if they were male, could count on immediately being called to congregations, usually with decent salaries. Yet through this walkout much of that was being placed at risk. New ways of supporting themselves, often with new cutting-edge, bi-vocational ministries were emerging by necessity.


Then in 1983, just after I began teaching at LSTC, we were joined by at least eight professors from Seminex, as well as a score of students.  At times we were jealous of the strong community they had with another because of all they had gone through together. Certain Lutheran confessional themes came through loud and clear, to which others remarked, "you can take the guys out of Missouri (Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod) but not Missouri out of the guys." They brought bold academic rigor and community spirit to both LSTC and PLTS.  This new synergy would enhance both seminaries.


Looking now at the overall affect on the ELCA, it is remarkable how many past and present ELCA bishops have been part of or following from the movement that began forty years ago. The ever-changing numbers are far out of proportion to the size of Seminex and the AELC. It also is interesting to note how many of the women who now are ordained pastors in the ELCA have had some roots in the LC-MS, but through the movement that began forty years ago, the call to ordained ministry began to open up for them.   Thanks be to God for all that followed from this bold "enter without knocking!" 

In the coming months, I am looking forward to meeting you!  We have a number of events coming up on campus that I hope you will consider attending: worship on February 19th honoring Seminex's 40th anniversary, Luther Lecture on March 5th, and my installation on April 26th.   


Karen L. Bloomquist, Dean


-- You can view Dean Bloomquist's sermon from February 5th here. Coming soon: the dean's webpage with more theological reflections and articles!

Remembering Seminex: Enter Without Knocking!

Forty years ago, on February 20th, 1974, a group of approximately 500 seminary students, and 45 faculty, and their families were exiled from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis because of their commitment to the Gospel.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

PLTS Chapel of the Cross

2770 Marin Ave, Berkeley, CA

10:30 am Coffee and Refreshments

11 am Worship

Free lunch following worship with roundtable conversation, to conclude at 1:30 pm


Special thanks to the members of the Bay Area Spirit of Seminex Group for inspiring us to live out the mission of the ELCA to be a church that is "Always Being Made New" and for sponsoring this event!


All are welcome! To help us plan for lunch, kindly RSVP by Thursday February 13th to Erin Horne at 510-559-2727 or

Luther Lecture: Featuring Dr. Guillermo Hansen

"Money, community and self: Luther's 'apocalyptic' insights during times of bifurcation"


Wednesday March 5

PLTS Chapel of the Cross

Refreshments - 9 am

Lecture - 9:30 am

Eucharist Worship - 11 am

Lunch to follow on the chapel patio


Registration is required and can be completed online here.


We live in a transitional time, a new 'axial age' that impacts the ways in which we live, think, and feel. The lecture will explore Luther's understanding of money, faith and self in view of the new global reality of the market-state and the fading of traditional metaphysical narratives. How can Luther's theology orient us in the face of the global economy, the emergence of new identities and the formation of the self at a time when old presuppositions seem to fade? And conversely, how do the new perspectives stemming from the social sciences, psychology, the mind sciences and philosophy shed light into Luther's radical theological postulates?


Guillermo Hansen was born in Argentina, where he was ordained in the Iglesia Evangelica Luterana Unida, in which he also served as Vice-president. After completing his doctoral studies at LSTC, he was professor of systematic theology and ethics from 1994 to 2008 at the University ISEDET, an ecumenical seminary located in Buenos Aires. He has been a theological advisor in the council of the Lutheran World Federation (Department of Theology and Studies) and has published in the areas of systematic theology, Lutheran theology, church and society, liberation theology, science and theology, and late-modern and post-modern thought. He currently lives in Saint Paul, where since 2008 he is associate professor of systematic theology at Luther Seminary.

Save the Date: New Dean Installation!

You are cordially invited to the


Installation of the Rev. Dr. Karen L. Bloomquist


as Dean and Chief Administrative Officer

at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary of California Lutheran University


Saturday, April 26, 2014


PLTS Chapel of the Cross

2770 Marin Avenue

Berkeley, CA 94708


Gathering with refreshments starting at 9:00 AM


Special panel and discussion by all who can be present at 9:30 AM

"Theological Education for the Future"


Festive Worship Service of Installation, with Eucharist, at 11:00 AM


Lunch to follow on the chapel patio


If you plan to attend, kindly RSVP by April 18th to or 510-559-2727.

5th Annual Week of Renewal: June 23-27, 2014

Sunset out Giesy

You are invited to join new and old colleagues in ministry for a Week of Renewal on the PLTS campus in Berkeley. Nestled in a beautiful setting between the Bay and Tilden Park, it's the perfect place to plan your five day retreat and continuing

education getaway. Enjoy classes, worship, stimulating conversation, theological reflection, and restorative time.  Most evenings are free and make a perfect opportunity to explore the greater San Francisco Bay area. 


We are excited to welcome Dr. Herbert Anderson for a special Tuesday evening lecture, The Divine Art of Dying


Tuition for one course is $275 and two courses is $400.  Limited housing will be available for an additional fee. Dr. Anderson's lecture is included in the tuition for one course and is $25 per person for those who wish to attend Tuesday evening only. 


Register here today! If you have questions, please contact Gretchen McDonald in the Office of the Dean at 



Morning Courses (9:15-12:15)


Justifying Faith: 

"The Fragile Soul, Moral Injury, and the Life of Beatitude"

Ted Peters, Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Ethics, PLTS and the GTU

As we approach October 31, 2017 and the 500th Anniversary of the posting of Martin Luther's 95 Theses, this class will re-examine the doctrine of justification by faith yield a liberating transformation, a free and joyous investment in love for oneself and for one's neighbor? How can faith in a trustworthy God make our life better?

New Challenges in Lutheran Ethics

Victor Thasiah, Assistant Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University           

New possibilities and challenges - ethical, political, economic, and ecological - demand new thinking and action. How is Lutheran ethics responding? Come, see, and discuss new ways of thought and practice concerning justice, resistance, and reformation.


Discipleship in the Key of John

Martha E. Stortz, Bernhard M. Christensen Professor for Religion and Vocation, Augsburg College

The gospel of John makes an argument about discipleship. The account begins, not with a birth narrative, but a story of creation; it ends, not with the Last Supper, but with a First Breakfast. In between are some of the most vivid encounters with some of the most unlikely people. John's Jesus leads by asking questions: What are some of Jesus' questions - and how do they address us still?

Afternoon Course (1:30-4:30)


Seeing, Remembering, Connecting: 

Beyond Church Survival

Karen L. Bloomquist, Dean and Chief Administrative Officer, PLTS

This class will consider crucial shifts needed for ministry and mission of our congregations. How might the ordinary verbs "seeing, remembering, and connecting" also become important faith practices through which God transforms our lives, congregations and communities? 

Introducing: The Spirit of Seminex Project!

The Spirit of Seminex Project was started a few years ago to support students in theological education at PLTS with the inspiring story of Seminex. In honor of the 40th anniversary, the Bay Area group of Seminex "alumni" and families have come together and are organizing a series of activities over the next eighteen months which seek to preserve history, share inspiring life stories of those who lived through the exile, and invite current and future generations to learn and engage in conversation about the impact Seminex has had Kramer Chapel, Concordia at  and continues to have on our

Sunrise                               church and world.


Our theme is "Enter Without Knocking!" This month, Professor Everett Kalin shares the history of Seminex for us in his article and describes the roots of "Enter Without Knocking!" Later this spring, a webpage will be launched to host the stories that are being collected by seminarian Sara Gross Samuelson, whose uncle Paul is among the Seminex alumni. Her story along with a preview of Rev. Kent Schaufelberger's story, are the first to be completed in the collection. 


On February 19th, our community will gather for worship and community lunch conversation. It will be a special day and opportunity to meet and hear stories from several people who lived through the Seminex exile. All are welcome!


St. Paul's Lutheran, Oakland is hosting an adult forum on March 12th at 7 pm, featuring Ev Kalin's storytelling of his Seminex experience. Thanks to them for extending an invitation to all who want to attend!


There will be more to come - stay tuned. If you have a story to share about Seminex, please contact me anytime by email or phone at 510-559-2717.


- Sara Wilson, Associate Director of Seminary Relations

Concordia Seminary in Exile (Seminex) Began Classes Forty Years Ago, on Feb. 20, 1974

By: Everett R. Kalin



Kramer Chapel at Concordia at Sunrise


Picture this: On February 18, 1974 the students at Concordia Seminary (CS), a very large seminary of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) in suburban St. Louis, learned that, as anticipated, 40 of their 45 professors had been fired that day. The next morning, most of the approximately 500 resident students (many other students were on internship at the time) met in the seminary field house and vote overwhelmingly to continue their seminary education in exile, under those 40 faculty members, in classrooms provided by Jesuit-owned St. Louis University and by Eden Seminary (a seminary of the United Church of Christ). The students and faculty marched through the quadrangle, pausing to plant crosses on which students had written the names of fired faculty; they proceeded through the arch under the seminary tower and then boarded up the arch with plywood on which was written, in big, black letters, E X I L E D. After a few speeches, prayers and hymns in front of the Luther statue, the procession moved down the seminary driveway to meet Dean Walter Brueggemann of Eden Seminary, who welcomed the exiles on behalf of their new hosts. Classes began the next day, February 20, 1974, for almost 400 students, filled with excitement and uncertainty. Now, what led to these momentous events and what happened to Seminex in the years that followed?


In May of 1969 John Tietjen was elected president of CS, and two months later Jacob Preus was elected president of the LCMS. In the next year Preus alleged false teachings at CS and appointed a Fact Finding Committee (FFC)-basically sharing his views-to interview and investigate the teachings of each faculty member. The 1971 LCMS convention turned the FFC report over to the CS Board of Control for evaluation. Despite the fact that Preus gave the board, as a standard for its review, "A Statement of Scriptural and Confessional Principles," written largely to condemn real or alleged faculty teachings, the CS Board of Control cleared all faculty members of charges of false doctrine in early 1973. That would, of course, not be the end of it.


Read the rest of Ev's story hereĽ


Sources for this summary included a chronology in John H. Tietjen's Memoirs in Exile (Fortress, 1990) and one by C. Thomas Spitz, excerpted in For the Sake of the Gospel. A Seminex Reader, a publication by Seminex students in 1974.

Student Spotlight: Sara Gross Samuelson, M.Div '14

I've always been drawn to the image of a tree in describing my call story. There's no getting around my family's history in the Lutheran church when I tell it either. So the two seem to fit together; family and tree.


I used to find it uncomfortable, because the size of my family and their deeply rooted Lutheranism often meant that I was known by my last name before my first. More often than not it was because they knew my grandfather; a retired LCMS pastor in the NW District. It wasn't until I began working in outdoor ministry and planning my journey to seminary that I started running into folks who knew my name because of my uncle; a retired ELCA pastor in the Oregon Synod who was one of the first graduates of Seminex and was part of the exile. I had never really known the story of Seminex or how my uncle ended up in the ELCA after having grown up in the Missouri Synod, nor did I really understand the difference between the two Lutheran traditions until I was in my early 20s. It wasn't until I ran into other Seminex grads and classmates of my uncle's through my work in outdoor ministry that I heard mention of Seminex and a hint at what it was. At this juncture in my life,  I had no idea that I was called to ministry in the church, and despite being a cradle Lutheran, church polity wasn't something that was on my radar.


Read the rest of Sara's story hereĽ  


Sara Gross Samuelson is a PLTS student completing a 4th year internship. Sara is a candidate for ministry in the Oregon Synod. She is proud to be one of many "Pastor Grosses" to share the Gospel of God's grace through ministry in the Lutheran church and blessed to be the first woman in her family to do so. 

Seminex Spotlight: Rev. Kent Schaufelberger

Rev. Kent Schaufelberger is the Manager of Clinical Pastoral Education at Providence Sacred Heart in Spokane, WA.  He was a middler (second) year student at Concordia Seminary at the time of the exile.


"I suppose the first thing that comes to mind is that summer was the summer that Joann and I got married..." And so his story began unfolding. A story that I could tell even from those beginning details was one that deeply touched Kent's sense of the world and one that I knew had formed his sense of ministry. He set the stage with his marriage that summer before middler (second) year at Concordia Seminary. Joann was a teacher that had just been hired on by one of the many Missouri Synod congregations in St. Louis. The summer of '73 ended with storm clouds on the horizon as another year of theological education was to start up again. Kent recalled his awareness of what had happened in New Orleans at the Synod convention. The tension was palpable, and did not go unnoticed by the students returning to their studies. That tension would ride both high and low tides throughout their fall semester.


"Then, as soon as it happened, (John Tietjen's ultimate dismissal by the board of control) it seemed like it was just nothing but conversation. There were four straight days of various meetings among students and the whole community; although it was mostly students. And there was a lot of debate and conversation in those days. And we knew this was going to change... to have an effect on the future of our ministries. There was no getting around that."  


There was a pause as Kent searched for the next step in the story.


Read the rest of Kent's story hereĽ 

In Memoriam: Pastor Ronald Johnstad

Pastor Ronald Johnstad

January 13, 1937 to January 30, 2014


Pastor Johnstad was born in Whitehall, Wisconsin. He married Mary Ellen Olson in 1961. He attended Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa, obtaining an AA degree in 1960; Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, with a BA in Business in 1963; Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, obtaining an M/Theo. in 1967; and a D.Min in 1981 from PLTS. He was ordained in the American Lutheran Church in 1967.


Ron served pastorates at American Lutheran Church in White Sulphur Springs and Shields River Lutheran Church in Wilsall, Montana; American Lutheran Church in Livingston, Montana; Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Billings, Montana; and Mount Hope Lutheran Church in El Paso, Texas. He and his wife Mary Ellen then operated a bed and breakfast in Emigrant, Montana.

Alum Updates

Daniel Pugh, M.Div '12: Daniel and wife Ashley welcomedthe birth of their third child, Avery Kathleen, on February 10th! Everyone is doing well.


Erin Dunlavy, M.Div '13: Erin will be ordained on February 16th at King of Glory Lutheran in Arvada, CO. She has been called to serve two congregations in Nebraska; Grace Lutheran in Sutherland and Maria in Hershey. 


Misael Fajardo, M.Div '13: Misael will be ordained on February 16th at Celebration Lutheran Church in East Wenatchee, WA, where he has also been called to serve.

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