Multiethnic Symposium

In partnership with Concordia University, Saint Paul, Minn.

Rise and Enter the City: The Hopeful Church in the Multiethnic City

May 3-4, 2022

“But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do” (Acts 9:6 ESV). With these words, Jesus calls Saul of Damascus to go into the city in preparation for the beginning of his ministry as Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. Through the centuries, the risen Lord has continued to call His church to enter into cities in order to prepare for and engage in mission, ministry and works of mercy and justice among neighbors of all nations. In people’s minds, the multiethnic city often evokes paradoxical images of creativity and dysfunction, development and poverty, growth and decline. The city is complex, filled with contradictions and possibilities. It is also ripe for the hopeful church to listen to and address city dwellers’ struggles and aspirations with the light and joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Understanding life, ministry and mission in the multiethnic city calls for the capacity to analyze and interpret the challenges and opportunities of urban ministry today with biblical and theological depth. The 2022 Multiethnic Symposium will offer plenaries and sectionals that reflect on the city from biblical, artistic and missional perspectives – all from diverse ethnic churches and communities, particularly in the United States. Through analysis, reflection and discernment, participants will contribute toward a Lutheran theology of urban ministry for the church that will inspire and guide intercultural engagement with neighbors of different ethnic backgrounds living in the complex urban landscapes of our day.

Highlights

Plenaries presented by:

  • Dr. Mark Koschmann, Associate Vice President of Faith and Ministry and Chair of the Department of Theology and Ministry, Concordia University, Saint Paul, Minn.
  • Dr. Benjamin Looker, Associate Professor of American Studies, Saint Louis University

Islam in the City: The Islamic Strategy for Reshaping the Cities in America

A Roundtable on Islam
  • Dr. Abjar Bahkou, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
  • Dr. Samuel Deressa, Assistant Professor of Theology and the Global South and Fiechtner Chair in Christian Outreach, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.
  • Dr. Joshua Hollmann, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.

16th Annual Lecture in Hispanic/Latino Theology and Missions

On-demand video
  • Dr. Alvin Padilla, Dean of Latino and Global Ministries and Professor of New Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Festival of Nations

  • Featuring Lutheran hip-hop artist Marcus Gray (FLAME) and Mariachi San Pablo

Extend your stay and attend the inaugural Multi Asian Gathering, which is set for May 4-5, on campus.
 


 
Registration is now closed
Accessibility: Seats for guests with disabilities are available upon request by contacting Continuing Education at ce@csl.edu.

Sponsors



Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.



Lutheran Hour Ministries



Christian Friends of New Americans logo



LINC logo



The Lutheran Society for Missiology



Concordia Publishing House



LCMS Office of International Ministry






Schedule


Tuesday, May 3

Time Event Details
7:45 a.m.-
4:30 p.m.
Vendor Fair Sieck Hall 201/202
7:45-
9:15 a.m.
Registration Coffee & Refreshments
Sieck Hall
8:30-9 a.m. Service of the Word Dr. Gerard Bolling, LCMS Urban Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo., and Assistant Professor of Leadership and Theology at Concordia University Texas, Austin
Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus
9:30-
9:45 a.m.
Welcome and Introduction Dr. Thomas J. Egger, President, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., Werner R.H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries, Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Center for Hispanic Studies
Dr. Mark Koschmann, Associate Vice President of Faith and Ministry and Chair of the Department of Theology and Ministry, Concordia University, Saint Paul, Minn.
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
9:45-
10:45 a.m.
Plenary Presentation The Past and Possible City: Reckoning with America's Metropolitan History to Interpret Neighborhood Landscapes of Today

Dr. Benjamin Looker, Associate Professor of American Studies, Saint Louis University
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium

11-11:45 a.m. Sectionals 1 Breakout Groups
12-1 p.m. Lunch Koburg Hall
1:30-
2:45 p.m.
Islam in the City: The Islamic Strategy for Reshaping the Cities in America
A Roundtable on Islam
Dr. Abjar Bahkou, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Dr. Samuel Deressa, Assistant Professor of Theology and the Global South and Fiechtner Chair in Christian Outreach, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.
Dr. Joshua Hollmann, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
2:45-3 p.m. Coffee Break Sieck Hall Foyer
3-4 p.m. Sectionals 2 Breakout Groups
4:30-
6:30 p.m.
Dinner - Festival of Nations Marcus Gray, Lutheran hip-hop artist (FLAME)
Mariachi San Pablo, Outreach musicians from Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care, El Paso, Texas
Wartburg and Koburg Halls
7-8:30 p.m. Festival Service of Holy Communion Rev. Micah Glenn, Director of Recruitment, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., Werner R.H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries, Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Center for Hispanic Studies
Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus

7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Vendor Fair
Sieck Hall 201/202


7:45-9:15 a.m.
Registration
Coffee & Refreshments
Sieck Hall


8:30-9 a.m.
Service of the Word
Dr. Gerard Bolling, LCMS Urban Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo., and Assistant Professor of Leadership and Theology at Concordia University Texas, Austin
Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus


9:30-9:45 a.m.
Welcome and Introduction
Dr. Thomas J. Egger, President, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., Werner R.H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries, Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Center for Hispanic Studies
Dr. Mark Koschmann, Associate Vice President of Faith and Ministry and Chair of the Department of Theology and Ministry, Concordia University, Saint Paul, Minn.
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


9:45-10:45 a.m.
Plenary Presentation
The Past and Possible City: Reckoning with America's Metropolitan History to Interpret Neighborhood Landscapes of Today

Dr. Benjamin Looker, Associate Professor of American Studies, Saint Louis University
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


11-11:45 a.m.
Sectionals 1
Breakout Groups


12-1 p.m.
Lunch
Koburg Hall


1:30-2:45 p.m.
Islam in the City: The Islamic Strategy for Reshaping the Cities in America
A Roundtable on Islam

Dr. Abjar Bahkou, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Dr. Samuel Deressa, Assistant Professor of Theology and the Global South and Fiechtner Chair in Christian Outreach, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.
Dr. Joshua Hollmann, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


2:45-3 p.m.
Coffee Break
Sieck Hall Foyer


3-4 p.m.
Sectionals 2
Breakout Groups


4:30-6:30 p.m.
Dinner - Festival of Nations
Marcus Gray, Lutheran hip-hop artist (FLAME)
Mariachi San Pablo, Outreach musicians from Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care, El Paso, Texas
Wartburg and Koburg Halls


7-8:30 p.m.
Festival Service of Holy Communion
Rev. Micah Glenn, Director of Recruitment, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., Werner R.H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries, Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Center for Hispanic Studies
Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus


Wednesday, May 4

Time Event Details
8-8:30 a.m. Coffee and Refreshments Chapel Plaza
8:30-9 a.m. Service of the Word Dr. Terrence Chan, Pastor and Lead Missionary at Christ for All Nations Lutheran Church, San Francisco
Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus
9:15-
10:15 a.m.
Plenary Presentation What Happens in the City, Doesn't Stay in the City

Dr. Mark Koschmann, Associate Vice President of Faith and Ministry and Chair of the Department of Theology and Ministry, Concordia University, Saint Paul, Minn.
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium

10:30-
11:30 a.m.
Sectionals 3 Breakout Groups
11:30 a.m.-
12:30 p.m.
Sectionals 4 Breakout Groups
12:45-1 p.m. Closing Remarks, Prayer and Departure Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., Werner R.H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries, professor of Systematic Theology and director of the Center for Hispanic Studies
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
1-2 p.m. Lunch Koburg Hall

8-8:30 a.m.
Coffee and Refreshments
Chapel Plaza


8:30-9 a.m.
Service of the Word
Dr. Terrence Chan, Pastor and Lead Missionary at Christ for All Nations Lutheran Church, San Francisco
Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus


9:15-10:15 a.m.
Plenary Presentation
What Happens in the City, Doesn't Stay in the City

Dr. Mark Koschmann, Associate Vice President of Faith and Ministry and Chair of the Department of Theology and Ministry, Concordia University, Saint Paul, Minn.
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


10:30-11:30 a.m.
Sectionals 3
Breakout Groups


11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Sectionals 4
Breakout Groups


12:45-1 p.m.
Closing Remarks, Prayer and Departure
Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., Werner R.H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries, professor of Systematic Theology and director of the Center for Hispanic Studies
Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


1-2 p.m.
Lunch
Koburg Hall


 

Plenaries

Dr. Benjamin Looker

Associate Professor of American Studies, Saint Louis University

Casual observers traversing the American metropolis can often be lulled into thinking that the visible disparities built into the landscape are somehow natural and inevitable, the result of immutable social processes rather than human choices or agency. However, understanding the divergent fates of individual neighborhoods with vastly different access to resources requires us to take seriously an array of forces — from policy decisions to forms of cultural representation — that operated at the metropolitan scale across numerous decades. In short, urban history matters if we’re to make sense of the city in the present day.

In this presentation, Dr. Benjamin Looker proposes several frameworks for fruitfully bringing such historical thinking to bear when interpreting and engaging with neighborhood spaces of the present. Along the way, he explores why numerous generations of American social thinkers, artists and activists have persistently attributed an immense power and significance to the neighborhood as a social form and arena for human interaction. And, highlighting the conference location, he illustrates these themes with examples of several St. Louis neighborhoods whose evolution has been especially consequential to the metropolis as a whole.

Dr. Mark Koschmann

Associate Vice President of Faith and Ministry and Chair of the Department of Theology and Ministry, Concordia University, Saint Paul, Minn.

Cities matter. As the city goes, so goes the entire culture of the arts, scholarship, communication, philosophy and commerce. Dense and diverse, cities foster creativity and innovation. They also promote the lively exchange of ideas and continue to be mainstays of economic, political and social influence around the globe. Consequently, cities matter (even for people who might not consider themselves in an urban context). To be sure, there are problems in the city and these problems often spill over into surrounding regions. Yet, the prominence of cities means that faithful Gospel proclamation in the city will spread outward to people all over the world. In Acts 1:8, Jesus leaves the disciples with these words: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Taking our cue from the Book of Acts, Christians have the opportunity – led by the Spirit – to proclaim the Gospel, advocate for justice and instill hope for generations of people living in and around cities. In doing so, Christians point to God’s work of redemption, reconciliation and restoration in Jesus.

Sectionals 1

Dr. Vince Bantu

Dr. Vince Bantu

President of Meachum School of Haymanot; Assistant Professor of Church History and Black Church Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary

What is the role of social justice in the ministry and theological discourse of the church? The mere mention of the word justice has caused polarizing responses from various denominational and theological institutions at an escalating pace. This session will explore various approaches to a theology of justice throughout church history, while proffering a theology of justice that is Good News for the oppressed.

Dr. Gerard Bolling

Dr. Gerard Bolling

LCMS Urban Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo., and Assistant Professor of Leadership and Theology at Concordia University Texas, Austin

Using findings from his research on urban ministry development as well as practical on the ground experience from his pastoral ministry, Dr. Gerard Bolling reflects on building capacity within city ministry via human resource development, community engagement, program development and mentorship.

Sectionals 2

Deaconess Janine Bolling

Deaconess; Executive Director, Our Saviour Lutheran School in The Bronx in New York City

Shelly Schwalm

Shelly Schwalm

Director of Christian Education; University Ministry Associate, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.

For those who are called to the city, there are many challenges and choices to face. In this session, Deaconess Janine Bolling and Director of Christian Education (DCE) Shelly Schwalm will share their experiences of life and ministry in the city with a focus on how God empowers us to serve with joy. Bolling and Schwalm will help participants explore what a heart for the city is, and how intentionally being where God has placed us brings the Gospel to our communities in need.

Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson

Founder and Executive Director, Mission: St. Louis

Josh Wilson will share information about a transformational workforce development program, Beyond Jobs. This critical program creates sustainable change by pairing tangible employment with critical wraparound services so people can get and keep meaningful jobs. Wilson will share both individual stories of incredible participants and the underlying evidence-based structure of the program that leads to these outcomes. He also will share how to get involved with Beyond Jobs and other opportunities at Mission: St. Louis.

Sectionals 3

Marcus Gray

Marcus Gray

Hip-hop artist, Clear Sight Music

The expectation in rap music is that artists will bluntly state what they mean to say. The Gospel message, too, is very clear and blunt. For that reason, they pair well. As rap music and hip-hop customs have spread throughout the known world, and in particular, to suburban youth, it is nearly impossible to talk about missions or cultural engagement without addressing the rap listener. Historically, Lutherans have excelled in both verbiage and practice as it relates to the two realms (temporal and spiritual) and the two types of righteousness (passive and active). For this reason, arguably, Lutherans do right to understand hip-hop culture and how to produce artists who can speak relevantly to matters of faith (justification by faith alone), the duality of the human experience (temporal and spiritual realms) and rap music as a vocation. This course will bind these affairs together, with the goal of seeing how God can use the arts to teach, shape minds and restrain evil by way of sound Lutheran theology in harmony with melodic sounds and heavy bass.

Dr. Vince Bantu

Dr. Vince Bantu

President of Meachum School of Haymanot; Assistant Professor of Church History and Black Church Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary

People of African-descent are severely under-represented in the majority of institutions of theological education at every level. Furthermore, the availability of accessible, contextual and graduate-level theological education remains out of reach for the majority of Black ministry leaders. This session will explore models for vibrant theological education for ministry leaders of African-descent through a presentation of the work of the Meachum School of Haymanot. Participants will also gain practical tools at making contextualized theological education available to marginalized communities.

Sectionals 4

Dr. Reed Lessing

Dr. Reed Lessing

Professor of Theology and Ministry, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

The Old Testament prophet Zechariah has much to say about the city — especially in chapters 8 and 14. Zechariah 8 envisions God’s plan for the city in time, while chapter 14 envisions God’s plan for the city at the end of time. Christians are called to live in this tension. We are called to work for the vision of chapter 8 now even as we joyfully anticipate chapter 14’s vision of final restoration.

Mark Kempff

Mark Kempff

Instructor, curriculum developer and administrative assistant to the Director of the Center for Hispanic Studies, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

Christ alone is the Redeemer of the family and therefore there is an urgency of ministering among families in the complex North American urban context. To meet the challenges of city life, the church gathers and empowers with the Gospel as it promotes and encourages the home to be a refuge, a place to become, a place of hope, a blessing and a sacred space for all to thrive. What does it mean to thrive? How do we minister with and among families who are only surviving? This presentation will provide participants with a brief overview of some of these realities, needs and tasks that the church in the city needs to embrace in practical ways.

Marcus Gray

Marcus Gray

Hip-hop artist, Clear Sight Music

The expectation in rap music is that artists will bluntly state what they mean to say. The Gospel message, too, is very clear and blunt. For that reason, they pair well. As rap music and hip-hop customs have spread throughout the known world, and in particular, to suburban youth, it is nearly impossible to talk about missions or cultural engagement without addressing the rap listener. Historically, Lutherans have excelled in both verbiage and practice as it relates to the two realms (temporal and spiritual) and the two types of righteousness (passive and active). For this reason, arguably, Lutherans do right to understand hip-hop culture and how to produce artists who can speak relevantly to matters of faith (justification by faith alone), the duality of the human experience (temporal and spiritual realms) and rap music as a vocation. This course will bind these affairs together, with the goal of seeing how God can use the arts to teach, shape minds and restrain evil by way of sound Lutheran theology in harmony with melodic sounds and heavy bass.

This sectional is available in person only

Additional Continuing Education Opportunities

Faith and Film Festival

The annual Faith and Film Festival provides an opportunity for those interested in film and theology to ponder Christian themes in contemporary cinema and develop eyes to see film in new ways.

Learn More

Faith and Writing Workshop

Concordia Seminary’s “Faith and Writing” workshop explores various forms of creative writing — starting a blog, creating a sermon or devotion, “traditional” forms of creative writing (story, nonfiction, drama, poetry) — and everything in between.

Learn More

Lay Bible Institute

Calling lay people, students involved in homiletical education, pastors and others interested in the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world: the Lay Bible Institute is for you!

Learn More

Pre-Lenten Workshop

The Pre-Lenten Workshop includes sermon manuscripts, textual notes, orders of service for midweek services and also suggestions for the Sundays of Lent to help pastors in developing their own worship resources.

Learn More

Theological Symposium

Parish pastors, LCMS district and Synod officials, Seminary and Concordia University students and faculty, and interested laypersons attend each year to delve into some of the most pressing issues of our time. One CEU is available for attending the Symposium.

Learn More

Workshop Series

Hosted by congregations across the country May through August, and led by Seminary faculty, these workshops offer an opportunity to delve deeply into topics ranging from the teachings of Martin Luther to pastoral tools, such as preaching, responding to conflict and teaching confirmation.

Learn More