Quincentennial Celebration: The Paradigm Shift of Martin Luther Then and Ours Now
Dr. Enoch Wan
Research Professor of Intercultural Studies, Director, Doctor of Intercultural Studies Program, Western Seminary, Portland, Ore.
Historical review of the paradigm shift of Martin Luther occurred 500 years ago, followed by a proposal for the Lutheran church bodies in North America in the 21st century based on the global trends (i.e. the shift of Christendom from the western and northern hemispheres, the phenomenon of diaspora, the technological advancement in communication, the rise of post-modernism epistemology, the emergence of the global south, etc.) leading to the embrace of new paradigms (e.g. diaspora missiology, multi-ethnic ecclesiology, relational realism, etc.).
Dr. Paul Mueller
Director of the Art & Carol Wahlers Center for Applied Lutheran Leadership, Office of the President, Concordia University, Portland, Ore.
Plenary No. 1
Cultivating Faith in the Second Generation with the Gifts of the Reformation
Rev. Rob Kieselowsky
Executive Director of Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries, Philadelphia
Rev. Robert Kieselowsky serves Philadelphia Lutheran Ministries as executive director and as lead pastor for Logos Lutheran, a new church plant in the heart of Philadelphia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Philadelphia College of Bible, which included studies abroad in Israel. He and his wife, Allison, moved to Fairfax, Va., in 2002 to teach at Trinity Christian School together.
Kieselowsky earned his Master of Education from the University of Virginia. Following several years of teaching theology and history, he enrolled at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., and received a Master of Divinity in 2011. He served at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, Alexandria, Va., as assistant pastor and headmaster before accepting a call to Philadelphia. Kieselowsky and his wife are blessed with four girls, who are the joys of their lives. His interests include the study of theology and church history, following his favorite football and baseball teams, travel and the great outdoors of Pennsylvania, the land of his youth.
The immigrant experience in the United States is varied and complex. Powerful forces all around us align against our youth, especially the children of immigrants that drive them to despair and unbelief. We need to identify the threats to our youth as they receive and live out the faith given to them, developing steps to ensure they are given the pure truth that sets them free. The Lutheran Reformation is a tremendous treasure that helps point the way forward.
Plenary No. 2
Reformation Missional Paradigms That impact Hispanics, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Paradigmas misionales de la Reforma que impactan a los Hispanos, ayer, hoy y mañana
Rev. Ruben Dominguez
Pastor, El Buen Pastor Lutheran Church, McAllen, Texas
Rev. Rubén Domínguez was born in Mexico. He is a graduate of Augsburg Lutheran Seminary in Mexico City and did graduate work in the United States. He taught in the 1990s for Concordia Seminary’s Hispanic Institute of Theology, the predecessor of the Center for Hispanic Studies. Since 2009 he has served a Hispanic Lutheran congregation in McAllen, Texas, located near the Mexican border.
Rev. Rubén Domínguez nació en México. Se graduó del Seminario Luterano Augsburgo en la Ciudad de México e hizo estudios posgrados en los Estados Unidos. Enseñó en los años 90 en el Instituto Hispano de Teología del Seminario Concordia, ahora con el nombre del Centro de Estudios Hispanos. Desde el año 2009, sirve en una congregación Hispana en McAllen, Texas, no muy distante de la frontera con México.
The Reformation message, with missional tools, spread throughout Europe, impacting and freeing its people. Spain, the country from which Hispanics originally came, also was influenced, though the followers were few. The Gospel, the central message of the Reformation, will impact Hispanics in North America today and tomorrow, with its stimulating, liberating and life-giving message.
El mensaje de la Reforma se extendió con herramientas misionales a traves de Europa impactando y liberando a pueblos. España, el pais madre de los Hispanos, también fue impactado, aunque sus seguidores fueron restringidos. El evangelio, que fue el mensaje de la Reforma, puede hoy y mañana seguir impactando a los Hispanos de Norteamérica con su mensaje estimulador, liberador y vivificante.
Dr. John Eckrich Scholarship Fund
Randy Fauser and Dr. Darrell Zimmerman
Grace Place Ministries, St. Louis
Crossing the Asian Borders in Reaching the Second Generation and Beyond
Rev. Terrence Chan
Pastor/Lead Missionary, Christ for All Nations Lutheran Church, San Francisco
Rev. Terrence “Terry” Chan began service in the LCMS as a Director of Christian Education (DCE) before graduating from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind. His ministry experiences include serving as the pastor of the largest Chinese LCMS congregation in the United States, planting a new church as a missionary in the LCMS English District and merging two congregations into one ministry in the LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii District. He is the founder of the Peninsula Asian Mission Society (PAMS) in California and the founder and convener of the national LCMS Chinese Ministry Conference (now known as CLiMB – Chinese Lutherans in Mission Building).
Chan also served from 1991-2001 as national field counselor for Chinese Ministry for North America Missions, LCMS World Mission, and from 2001-04 as board member on the LCMS Board for Mission Services, LCMS World Mission. He is currently serving as pastor and lead missionary at Christ for All Nations Lutheran Church, a multi-cultural, multi-generational, multi-lingual congregation in San Francisco. Chan’s family has lived in the United States since 1869, although he was born in Hong Kong. Thus, Chan is both a fifth-generation and a first-generation Asian-American. He is married to Christine and together they have five children. Chan is enthusiastic about developing a multi-cultural, Pan Asian American Mission Network.
Transforming for Missions: The Case of Ethiopian 1.5 and Second Generation Christians in the United States
Dr. Tesfai Tesma
LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii Missionary
Pastor Tesfai Tesema has served the Ethiopian Diaspora community in the United States since 1989. He received his Ph.D. in missiology from Concordia Theology Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. The title of his dissertation is “Global Nomads: The Identity and Assimilation of 1.5 and 2nd Generation Ethiopians in the United States.”
He is currently pastoring a newly planted Ethiopian church in San Francisco. This congregation has a weekday English Bible study program serving the host population and is in the process of beginning Sunday morning English worship service in 2017 to serve the second-generation population and the community around the church.
Under the rule of Emperor Haile Selassie, Ethiopia enjoyed a very good relationship with the United States. As a result, few Ethiopians came to the United States as diplomats, visitors and foreign students in the decades prior to the 1970s. Moreover, these visitors were sure to return to their homeland after completing their mission here. However, it was only after the 1974 military codetta and the deposition of the emperor that Ethiopians fled from their homeland through the borders reaching neighboring African countries to become refugees. This led many to be admitted as political refugees to the United States. Since the 1980s, many Ethiopian Protestant Christians like Tesma began to settle in several great cities throughout the United States. This begins the story of the planting of Ethiopian first-generation Protestant churches.
Currently, hundreds of Ethiopian Protestant churches are planted in many cities across the country. These churches vary in size and denominational affiliation. A few are considered mega churches with up to 2,000 members, while most are small churches. The history of Ethiopian Protestant first-generation churches in the country is now almost 40 years old. While this is an incredible success, the challenge and dilemma since the late 1990s has been the case of the second-generation population, which came of age at that time. Today, in few cities the second generation is following after their parents, grouping and organizing to worship Jesus. This presentation will address the need for these groups to transform for missions, in order to seize the great opportunity before them to reach people that their parents couldn’t and wouldn’t fulfilling the great commission serving in a missionary role in their adopted homeland.
Celebrating God’s Gift to the Church
140th Anniversary of Black Ministry
Dr. Roosevelt Gray
Director of LCMS Black Ministry, LCMS Office of National Mission
As director of LCMS Black Ministry, the long-established Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) ministry serving predominantly black communities and ministering to African immigrants, Dr. Roosevelt Gray Jr. provides leadership and direction for LCMS districts, congregations, schools and related organizations as they minister to minority groups in their communities across the country.
Also, Gray serves as a liaison to the church-wide Black Clergy Caucus and oversees the development of resources to support LCMS Black Ministry throughout the Synod.
Prior to joining the staff of the LCMS International Center in St. Louis, Gray served as assistant to the President for Missions/Evangelism in the LCMS Michigan District, a call he accepted in 2001. He served as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church and Lutheran City Ministries in Detroit, Mich., from 1997 to 2001; director of admissions, recruitment and vicarage at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., from 1994 to 1997; and as pastor at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Houston, from 1988 to 1994.
Gray graduated in 1988 with a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., and in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in printing production and management from Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, Ala. Gray received an honorary doctor of divinity degree in 2015 from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
Gray is married to Otelia Vanessa (Stallworth).
Giving a Voice to the Missionaries to America
Dr. Robert Scudieri
President, Mission Nation Publishing Co.
Dr. Robert “Bob” Scudieri was born and raised in the New York City area where he attended public schools. Scudieri began studying for the holy ministry at Concordia College, Bronxville in 1962. After graduating from Bronxville with an associate in arts degree in 1964, he transferred to Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Ind., and graduated in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree. He received his Master of Divinity in 1971 from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
Scudieri shepherded the urban parish Redeemer Lutheran Church in Orange, N.J., for four years before being called to Christ Memorial Lutheran Church in East Brunswick, N.J. During his tenure the parish grew from 600 to 1,200 members. From 1984 to 1991, Scudieri served as the mission and stewardship counselor for the LCMS English District, collaborating with congregations of the district to begin new missions and revitalize existing ones. It was during this time that he was accepted as a post-doctoral research fellow at Yale Divinity School. While there he wrote the book, Apostolic Church: One, Holy, Catholic and Missionary. The book has been used in seminary and college courses, as well as used in Bible studies by laity. Apostolic Church was translated into several languages. A Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in the country of Georgia read the book in Russian and invited Scudieri to present the book at an ecumenical theological conference in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
In December 1991 Scudieri was called to implement the Synod’s Blueprint for the ’90s, an effort to reach all ethnic groups in North America with the Gospel, changing the face of the LCMS. During the movement that began, Pentecost 2000, more than 1,000 new cross-cultural ministries were begun.
For 18 years Scudieri headed new mission development, evangelism and church revitalization in North America for the LCMS, a position from which he retired from full-time ministry on July 31, 2009. In retirement, Scudieri continued to serve on several national boards and served Faith Lutheran Church as Mission Equipping Pastor from 2011-14, when he left to pursue a dream of publishing biographies of the new missionaries to America.
On Jan. 6, 2016, Scudieri began his new mission – a publishing company, called Mission Nation Publishing. The mission of Mission Nation Publishing is to give a voice to missionaries to America. Several books on mission have already been published, and 31 video interviews with missionaries are accessible on the Mission Nation Publishing website. The video interviews form the basis for a weekly blog that he writes and sends to more than 3,000 people.
Scudieri and his wife, Lynn, love spending their time their time with two adult children and four beautiful grandchildren.
Translating Lutheran Resources across the World
Rev. Ted Na Thalang
Translation Project Coordinator Southeast Asia, Lutheran Heritage Foundation
Rev. Pornprom Na Thalang was born in Bangkok, Thailand, into a Buddhist family. When he was still a boy, his stepfather and mother moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., where he was instructed and baptized into The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
The Word took root in the heart of the young boy. He attended Lutheran elementary and high schools and graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis in 1991.
The Holy Spirit brought Rev. Na Thalang full circle when his first call was to serve as LCMS evangelistic missionary to Thailand. During his 11 years as a missionary there, Thalang started Thailand Concordia Lutheran Church (a Lutheran church body in Thailand, of which he is current president) and trained Thai church leaders.
Since 2002, Thalang has served as project coordinator for Southeast Asia for the Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF).
With its deep-rooted tradition in the Buddhist faith, Southeast Asia would seem the least fertile ground on which to sow the seeds of the Christian faith. But due in part to the efforts of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation, new life in Christ is springing forth in places like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and Burma.
Since joining LHF, he has translated Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation and an accompanying workbook into Thai. He also has overseen the catechism’s translation into Cambodian, Lao, Vietnamese, Khmer, Bahasa (Indonesian), Hmong and Burmese. He also directs projects in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
Thalang is married to Gunya, who is Asia Regional Director for Lutheran Hour Ministries. They live in St. Charles, Mo., and have two grown children, Ani and Peter.
12th Annual Lecture in Hispanic/Latino Theology and Missions
Luther and Calvin on the Cosmopolitan Church
Lutero y Calvino sobre la Iglesia Cosmopolita
Dr. Rubén Rosario Rodríguez
Associate Professor, Department of Theological Studies, Saint Louis University, St. Louis
Dr. Rubén Rosario Rodríguez, a graduate of Princeton and Union Theological Seminaries and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Saint Louis University, is a recipient of the Louisville Institute First Book Grant Program for Minority Scholars (2005).
His first book, Racism and God-Talk: A Latino/a Perspective (NYU Press, 2008), won the Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award for Theology (2011). His second book is forthcoming in 2017 from Cambridge University Press, entitled Christian Martyrdom and Political Violence: A Comparative Theology with Judaism and Islam. Recently, he contributed to two collections, The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Latino/a Theology (2015), and Immigrant Neighbors among Us: Immigration across Theological Traditions (2015), and he editor for the forthcoming T&T Clark Companion to Political Theology (2018).
Though the two most influential theologians of the Protestant Reformation are often viewed as sectarian and polemical thinkers, their vision of the church in the 16th century — grounded in the Priesthood of All Believers (1 Peter 2:5) — -was decidedly cosmopolitan. Though we cannot impose a modern agenda onto their theological worldview, it will be argued that for their day and age, Luther and Calvin were progressive thinkers with a vision of a universal church built on democratic principles.
Resumen: Lutero y Calvino, los dos teólogos más influyentes de la Reforma Protestante, son vistos a menudo como pensadores sectarios y polémicos, pero su visión de la iglesia en el siglo XVI -basado en el sacerdocio de todos los creyentes (1 Pedro 2:5)- fue decididamente cosmopolita. Aunque no podemos imponer una agenda moderna a su cosmovisión teológica, se argumentará que para su época, Lutero y Calvino fueron pensadores progresistas con una visión de una iglesia universal construida sobre los principios democráticos.
Dr. Victor Belton
Pastor, Peace Lutheran Church, Decatur, Ga.
Dr. Victor J. Belton was born in Washington, D.C., attending public schools and graduating from Spingarn High School. After spending some time as a brick masons laborer, he attained a certificate in data processing and spent a number of years as a computer operator. He attended Concordia College in Bronxville, N.Y., and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Belton currently serves as pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Decatur, Ga., where he will soon celebrate 25 years as pastor. He also served two terms on The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Board of Directors. Belton has spoken nationally in a variety of venues and has helped to begin a ministry in Sudan Africa along with Sudanese Pastor Bafel Paul Deng.
Belton is grateful to God for Wenona, his lovely wife of 38 years. He is also grateful for his relationship with Michael who lived with them through his formative years and is now living in St. Louis. Of course there also is Chi Chi, the tiny wonder terrier who really runs the household.
Belton serves in a variety of capacities in the community including as chairman of the DeKalb County Community and Human Development citizens panel. He also is the convener of the DeKalb Consortium of Churches and is vice chair with Partners in Action for Healthy Living. He has a passion for seeing young people come to Christ and is an active mentor for a number of young saints in the community. He is a certified coach through the Center for United States Missions and works with other pastors and leaders to plan and implement prayer initiatives.