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Concordia Seminary Dedicates New Center for Hispanic Studies on Sept. 3

A new Center for Hispanic Studies (CHS) will be dedicated on Sunday, Sept. 3., on the campus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. The dedication will take place immediately following a 4:00 p.m. worship service marking the beginning of the Seminary’s 168th academic year. The public is invited to both the worship service and the dedication.

“As the worship service concludes, the congregation will process approximately 300 feet to the Center and participate in a brief rite of dedication,” commented Rev. Glen Thomas, vice president for seminary relations at Concordia Seminary. “After the dedication and ribbon cutting, everyone will have a chance to tour the Center, meet the CHS faculty and staff, and enjoy a reception under a tent in the backyard of the Center.”

The new CHS will provide offices, a resource library and meeting space for Dr. Leopoldo Sánchez, director; Rev. Eloy González, associate director; Rev. Rubén Domínguez, assistant professor, and Deaconess Rose Gilbert, instructor for Hispanic women.

The explosive growth of the Hispanic population within the United States accentuates the importance of the CHS. “Much has changed since the 1980s. What was once seen as a somewhat peripheral Latino presence in the United States is now spoken of more intensely as a Latino explosion, leading some sociologists to speak of a ‘Hispanization’ of America,” commented Dr. Leopoldo Sanchez, the new director of the CHS. “This expression not only provides insight into the United States Census Bureau’s report that the Hispanic population is now the largest non-Anglo group in the nation, but also a sense of the historic and emergent cultural, artistic, scientific and, yes, theological contributions of this community nationwide.”

The CHS, formerly the Hispanic Institute of Theology (HIT), previously was located in Oak Brook, Ill. With its origins dating back to 1987, the HIT pioneered Hispanic ministry efforts within The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) provided theological education for hundreds of men and women who serve as pastors and lay leaders. “The LCMS saw the need to create a way to prepare Hispanic men and women for service among Hispanics in the United States,” commented Sánchez. “HIT became the first institution in the LCMS to work primarily among first-generation, Spanish-speaking Latino immigrant communities at basic congregational and more advanced Seminary (and in some cases, diaconate) levels.”

For more information, contact Seminary Relations, Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105; (314) 505-7370; semrelations@csl.edu.