In This Issue
Update on Faculty Searches
Deadline Coming May 31st! 5th Annual Week of Renewal: June 23-27, 2014
Unorthodox Visitors on Campus!
Alum Spotlight: Rev. Lorie B. Tatum, TEEM '14
Segerhammar Center Event Meet-Up!
Student Spotlight: Ryan Eikenbary, M.Div '15
Seminex Alum Spotlight: Bishop Richard Jaech's Story
In Memoriam: Rev. Dr. Roger Pettenger, M.Div '63
In Memoriam: Rev. Dr. George Muedeking
Faculty and Staff Changes
Alum Updates
Attention Thrivent Members!
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Above the Fog
PLTS Newsletter

May 2014


During the month of May, we live liturgically between Easter and Pentecost, which also can characterize what the hectic life of PLTS is like these days. The new life that arises from the Resurrection was evident the end of that first week of Easter, at my installation on April 26th. It was also a celebration of installing PLTS into a new future, accompanied by global sounds, movements, and transformations. The many partnerships and synergies that give life to PLTS were symbolized through the number of representatives who poured water into the font as the actual installation began. Standing in front of this outpouring, I could see that there was so much water that the large bowl nearly overflowed! Thank you to those who could come and thank you to everyone for your prayers and encouragement of this new relationship we now live in together. You can view a photo recap of the event here.


So it is with the Spirit-impelled life that continues stirring in and through PLTS, making our "marriage" with CLU somewhat different from mergers that regularly occur in the corporate business world. There are an amazing array of new possibilities emerging that we have begun to prioritize and work on, with CLU as well as with many other partners (GTU, ELCA, and globally). PLTS is not just a small nuclear family, but has long been an extended family.


And so, as a renewed PLTS we continue to boldly pursue what it means to be church here in the western frontier of the church, preparing leaders for the church who are deeply grounded in what it means to be Lutheran, not in set apart ways, but in ways that are intentionally ecumenical and interfaith. In doing so, we are inspired by the early church at Pentecost.


What was essential in this early church, as recorded in Acts 2:42ff? There were no church structures yet, no sense yet of what it means to be an established congregation or ministry site, but certain distinctive practices.  Because of what they have seen and heard - because of what God had done in Jesus Christ and because of all the other new things the Spirit of God now was doing in and through them: they gathered together with amazement, praying, breaking bread and, with hearts of generosity, sharing in common not only the bread, but all that they needed to live. This was basic to what it means to be the church, then and now. A radical set of practices that go against the grain of so much in this society! 


As I complete my first few months here at PLTS, I continue to be amazed at the exciting and authentic ways this Spirit is regularly being formed and embodied through this faith community, and as people are sent forth into the wider church and world. So in this time between Easter and Pentecost, I urge that you continue to remember

  • through your prayers, the exciting future that God's Spirit is stirring into reality at PLTS: students, faculty, staff
  • those who will be sent forth as they graduate May 24 
  • that PLTS continues to need your generous financial gifts, especially before we end the fiscal year on May 31
  • and that more potential students will discover PLTS. (Contact our new Admissions Director, Rev. Holly Johnson by email if you know someone who is interested in attending PLTS!)
In the Spirit who stirs new life among us for the sake of the world,


Make a Gift Today...or by May 31st!


Your financial gifts to PLTS support church leaders in theological education - those who will faithfully and competently lead our congregations, non-profit organizations, schools, hospitals, and more throughout the world. Thank you for the gifts and prayers you have shared with us in the past. Will you continue your support? Can you help PLTS reach its seminary fund goal by the end of its fiscal year? New and increased gifts up to $30,000 will be generously matched!


Some frequently asked questions:


What does my gift do?

Your gift is an investment in:

  • Curriculum and academic instruction
  • Student services
  • Access to the Graduate Theological Union and UC Berkeley
  • Affordable housing
  • Educational opportunities open to the community, and much more!

Will my gift to PLTS directly support programs in Berkeley?

Yes! Even though our online giving page is now managed by our California Lutheran University - Thousand Oaks campus, 100% of gifts continue to benefit the seminary.


What's the best way to donate?

You can make a gift by check or credit card. All must be RECEIVED by May 31st in order to help us with this year's campaign.


Checks payable to PLTS can be sent to: 

2770 Marin Ave

Berkeley, CA 94708


Gifts can be made online here.


Can I donate stock?

Yes! For more information, please call Brian Stein-Webber at 510-559-2711.


From all the students, faculty, and staff at PLTS - THANK YOU!!!

Update on Faculty Searches

We are delighted to announce that in August 2014 the Rev. Dr. Shauna K. Hannan will be joining the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) faculty as Associate Professor of Homiletics. She earned her Ph.D. in homiletics from Princeton Theological Seminary, and before then she served as an ELCA parish pastor. Since 2008 she has been an Assistant Professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTSS) in Columbia, SC, through whom she is just completing a sabbatical focus on Latin American homiletic pedagogies. She is a dynamic and engaging preacher. As she says, "what God is doing is not boring." She has preached, taught and presented in many settings, as well as being the author of many articles. You can read more about Dr. Hannan in the press release from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary here.


(LTSS is a seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University; similar to PLTS being a seminary of California Lutheran University.)


The search committee is re-starting the search for another faculty position, which now has the title "Lutheran History and Theology." New applicants are invited, as well as others who have previously applied.


PLTS seeks a Luther scholar for a full-time, tenure-track position, open rank. Potential candidates are expected to be excellent scholars with earned doctorates who possess promise for teaching excellence, demonstrate a willingness to teach online and an intentional dedication to collaborative work with other PLTS, GTU and CLU colleagues, as well as hold a deep commitment to forming and preparing persons for ministries in the ELCA and beyond. 


The faculty position in "Lutheran history and theology" includes teaching responsibility for:

  • Luther studies, the Lutheran Confessions, and Reformation church history
  • Lutheran public theologies in contemporary, multicultural, and global contexts

Candidates should submit:

1) a letter of interest 

2) a curriculum vitae

3) a completed Application form found here, and

4) a statement of up to 500 words describing how in their teaching and scholarship they will: 

a) engage a diversity of pedagogical practices

b) engage multicultural and pluralistic contexts 

c) envision their role in preparing leaders for the church, the academy, and the world, and 

d) further the ongoing life of a seminary community. 


Complete applications should be emailed to


Deadline for application:  October 1, 2014. 


For questions, contact either the Chair of the search committee, Dr. Alicia Vargas ( or the Dean of PLTS, Dr. Karen Bloomquist (  


California Lutheran University is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The university encourages candidates who will contribute to the cultural diversity of PLTS/CLU to apply.

Deadline Coming May 31st! 

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 a510-559-2731 or Please register by May 31st, 2014.


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           

PLEASE NOTE: This class has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please email Gretchen McDonald at if you have any questions.



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? 

Unorthodox Visitors on Campus!


Those of us on the PLTS campus have been delighted to welcome some new visitors - we have a few wild turkeys who seem to have made PLTS a favorite stomping ground!

Alum Spotlight: Rev. Lorie B. Tatum, TEEM '14


Lorie B. Tatum was ordained and installed as pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Los Angeles, on Sunday, March 23, 2014, by the Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin, Bishop of the Southwest California Synod.  Rev. Tatum a 2014 graduate of the Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) Program at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. Rev. Tatum, known popularly as LB, was born in South Los Angeles and was raised in the Baptist tradition. He served at Mt. Olive Church, Second Baptist Church, Trinity Baptist Church, and as minister of youth and families at Ascension Lutheran Church, all in the Los Angeles area. Besides focusing on consumer education concerning energy policy and telecommunications, Rev. Tatum is doing special ministry to reform public schools, and advocacy work to reintegrate the formerly incarcerated.  Rev. Tatum is the father of three children.


In addition to his call to Messiah Lutheran Church, Rev. Tatum has been called by the Southwest California Synod to serve as Director of African Descent Ministries. A copy of the press release follows:


"Pastor Lorie (LB) Tatum has been called as the Director for African Descent Ministries and began his work in May.


Pastor Tatum's role is part-time with the synod. He will report to Bishop Erwin and will work with the ELCA's Multicultural Ministries of the Congregation and Synodical Mission Unit (CSM).

Segerhammar Center Event Meet-Up!


PLTS volunteer Gene Ekenstam and CLU Convocator Jim Day meet at April's Segerhammar Center event on PLTS campus decades after having worked together in Admissions at CLC (California Lutheran College)!

Student Spotlight: Ryan Eikenbary, M.Div '15

Ryan Eikenbary is completing his internship at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Oakland, California. He is having a great year with pastors Ross Merkel and Tuhina Rasche. Fellow PLTS students Thomas Voelp (teaching parish) and Rachel Eskesen (children's church leader) are also serving at St. Paul's.


Ryan has always been interested in religion in church. He graduated from Masters College in southern California with a dual bachelor's degrees in religious studies and English. Then he completed an MA at the GTU, and while studying there also met his husband, Burke. At the time, he was Episcopalian and planning on pursuing a PhD to follow a path into academia. He worked at the University of California at Davis for a few years. While living in Sacramento where Burke was teaching, they found St. John's Lutheran Church. It was there with the accompaniment of pastor and PLTS alum Frank Espegren that Ryan was led to Lutheranism and on a path toward ordained ministry. 


"The journey seems long sometimes. It took me four years to actually come to PLTS. Things have just kind of fallen into place. Because I had already studied at the GTU, many of my previous coursework allowed me to finish my degree here in a shorter amount of time - a year and a half on campus instead of three. After I finish my internship on Christmas Eve, I plan to open myself up for call anywhere the ELCA needs me to serve."


Ryan says he is really happy that God has brought him this direction. "The university environment was not what I expected and I really love my ministry now and have really discovered a love for preaching and pastoral care." In addition to serving at St. Paul's, Ryan spends half of his internship time serving the East Bay Lutheran Parish, a partnership of five congregations which employ one chaplain who serves four nursing homes. "I really enjoy visiting the residents at Willow Tree and Fruitvale [Health Care Centers in Oakland]. Sometimes I take volunteers with me and we sing, do projects, and every week we have a full worship service. I get to know the residents because many of them live there for a long time, unlike those I visited while doing my hospital CPE last summer."


In his free time, Ryan enjoys reading, hiking, running, swimming, and cooking. He's looking forward to teaching an eight week Bible study this summer on Genesis - watch for dates and times on the St. Paul Lutheran Church website.

Seminex Alum Spotlight: Bishop Richard Jaech's Story

By Sara Gross Samuelson, M.Div '14


Seminex is the seminary that was formed immediately after the breakup of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 1974. It stayed in existence until 1982.


In the early afternoon of our Seminex celebration worship on February 19th, Bishop Jaech and I had a chance to sit down and dig deeper into his own story and memory of what sprang forth for him from the cut-off tree; to use the Isaiah imagery so beautifully woven into his sermon earlier that day. As he began to share, I listened to him recall the details and particulars in a way that seemed to dance back and forth between personal and communal, connecting big thoughts and big thinkers to his own remembering. Soon I began to realize that this natural pattern in conversation and connection was part of his pedagogy as teacher, preacher, and leader in the church.


One such thread of connectedness for Bp. Jaech was that his own father, Emil Jaech, was a pastor. At the time of his journey through seminary, his father was president of the NW District of the Missouri Synod. "A lot of my news and sense of what was going on in the church was received through my dad." Which is not to say that other classmates at Concordia knew less of what was going on. "It was pretty clear after that last National Convention (during the summer of 1973) that a showdown was coming," said Bp. Jaech. Jacob Preus had published a sort of book, he recalled, including in it all the particular beliefs of the Lutheran church and distributing it to all members of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. "You could kind of see, based on previous conversation and convention action, that the Seminary was going to be under attack" or in the very least they would be receiving some challenge in the year to come.


Read the rest of Bishop Jaech's Story HereĽ

In Memoriam: Rev. Dr. Roger Pettenger, M.Div '63

Roger Pettenger, PLTS Class of 1963, recipient of the 1998 Alum Award for Distinguished Ministry in Special Service, died on April 14 in Washington State.  He was a native of Long Beach, California, becoming a Lutheran after joining the basketball team at Trinity Lutheran Church there. Based on his mother being the first Anglo person born in Elko County, Nevada, he received a Pioneer Scholarship to finish his bachelor's degree at the University of Nevada at Reno, where he received a degree in biochemistry. He entered the Navy in regular flight school and joined the Airborne Early Warning Squadron Twelve, patrolling the Distant Early Warning or DEW line.


In 1958, Roger married Annette Barron. Two years later, Roger began study at PLTS, where he also worked driving trucks and unloading boxcars for Southern Pacific Railroad. At graduation, he was called to be mission developer of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Durango, Colorado. Their children were born in Hawai'i (James, 1959), Oakland (Ruth, 1960) and Durango (Mary, 1965).


The family followed Roger to his second call at Christ Lutheran Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1967. While there, he completed a master's degree in American history.


In 1974, Roger was called to a joint campus ministry position at Washington State University in Pullman and the University of Idaho in Moscow. In the next 24 years, he conducted an exemplary ministry among the students. He taught about religious cults, and made a specialty of conducting residence hall programs on male-female relationships, which earned him the title of "Doctor Love." In 1983, he passed exams for a Ph.D. in History, and worked the next four years on his dissertation, "The Peace Movement in the Augustana Church, 1917-1947.


In 1998, Roger and Annette retired to their homestead outside Pullman, where they lived together until his recent death.

In Memoriam: Rev. Dr. George Muedeking

Dr. Muedeking was born in Arcadia, Wisconsin, to the Rev. George F. and Rosalie C. (Brodt) Muedeking on August 19th, 1915. His father baptized, confirmed and ordained him into the ministry of the American Lutheran Church. Dr. Muedeking received his B.A. from Indiana University, his B.D. (MDiv) from Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Seminary and his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1955 he was given a DD degree (honoris causa) from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.


George married Harriet Rollwagen in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1941. They then moved to California where he founded two Lutheran churches in Long Beach and La Habra and served as pastor of First Lutheran Church in Fullerton and Christ Lutheran Church in El Cerrito.


From 1956 to 1965, he taught theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, becoming a full professor in 1965. No sooner did that happen than he was appointed at editor of The Lutheran Standard, the official publication of the American Lutheran Church.  He remained in this position until his retirement in 1980.


The Muedekings retired to Napa, California, where Dr. Muedeking remained active in teaching, writing, editing, and also serving as interim pastor at several congregations. During his career he published articles and books in the areas of Christian ethics, Lutheran theology, pastoral counseling and other topics. From 1981 to 1982 he taught at the Lutheran Teachers College and Seminary in Adelaide, Australia.


After Harriet's death in 2006, he moved to La Vida Llena Retirement Community in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to be near his son's family.


Dr. Muedeking died on Easter Sunday, April 20th, 2014. His memorial services were held in Albuquerque and Napa.


Blessed be the memory of this servant of God.

Faculty and Staff Changes

On June 13th, we will be bidding farewell to Wren Gray-Reneberg in theOffice of Seminary Relations. She is leaving to pursue a master's degree in counseling psychology at Santa Clara University. Her goal is to become licensed in Marriage and Family Therapy and use animals in therapy.




Advance notice: 

Dr. Steed Davidson, Associate Professor of Old Testament, will be leaving PLTS to join the faculty at McCormick Seminary in Chicago beginning in the fall of 2015. We are glad that he will be with us for the next year and want to share our congratulations in his new adventure.

Alum Updates

Carmen Miranda, M.Div '13: Carmen has been called to serve Camino de Vida Lutheran Church in Albuquerque.  She will be ordained at St. Paul, Albuquerque on May 24th.


Melinda Stum (Gapen), M.Div '13: Melinda has been called to serve as pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Kelso, Washington.  She will be ordained on June 8 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chandler, Arizona.


Gretchen Wagner, M.Div '13: Gretchen has been called to serve two churches in Montana as pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Culbertson and First English in Bainville.  A summer ordination is being planned in Seattle.


Christine Holler-Dinsmore, TEEM '10: Congratulations to TEEM student Christine, who was ordained on April 26 in Wolf Point, Montana, and will be serving as mission director for Spirit of Life on the Fort Peck Reservation.


Tempie D. Beaman, TEEM '10: Tempie will be consecrated at Ascension, Los Angeles on May 17, 2014. Beaman accepted a call as a Diaconal Minister to serve as the Executive Director of My Friend's House, Inc. (MFH), an nonprofit organization associated with Ascension Lutheran Church, Los Angeles. MFH is an organization that works to end hunger and promotes healthy living in the Crenshaw and Hyde Park communities of Los Angeles. It was incorporated in 2008, but has served the community since 1995. Beaman's ministry will focus on helping MFH to operate a weekly food pantry, provide a parish nurse to do health screenings, and offer an interactive healthy eating and cooking class led by local chefs called Kitchen Divas. Tempie Beaman earned an M.S. in education from Brooklyn College, CUNY, New York, NY, and a B.S. in Biology from Pace University, New York, NY. She is looking forward to her new ministry with excitement.

Attention Thrivent Members!

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help our seminary fund - click here to direct your Thrivent Choice dollars to PLTS.  We are grateful for you and appreciate the generosity of Thrivent Financial.  

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