Multiethnic Symposium

The Rest and the West: What the West Can Learn From Global South Christianity

May 4-5, 2021

Due to concerns about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the 2020 Multiethnic Symposium has been canceled. Next year’s event is set for May 4–5, 2021. Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to seeing you at next year’s event!

The Seminary’s annual Multiethnic Symposium brings together missional leaders including pastors, congregational leaders, theologians and others from across The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and beyond to explore what it will take to become a truly multiethnic church that embodies more fully a catholic, universal, global identity, especially in the United States.

The 2021 Multiethnic Symposium will address what the Global South can contribute to our thinking about practices such as preaching and teaching, worship and the arts, and evangelism and social engagement.

Factors like unprecedented global migration and increasing birth rates have made the documented growth of Global South Christianity not only a distant reality there but also a present-day reality in the United States. What can the church in the modern West, preoccupied with the rise of cultural realities such as secularism and nihilism, learn from the church in the Global South?

The symposium will gather a group of voices, including prominent scholars and practitioners from the Global South, to reflect on these questions.

Schedule

Tuesday, May 4

Time Event Details
7:30-
8:30 a.m.
Registration
Coffee and Refreshments
Sieck Hall Foyer
7:30 a.m. Vendor Exhibit Hall (Open throughout the event)
Wyneken Hall 101/102
8:30-9 a.m. Service of the Word Homilist: Rev. Michael Okine, Pastor, Messiah Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo.
Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus
9-9:15 a.m. Registration Reopens
Coffee and Refreshments
Sieck Hall Foyer
9:15-
9:30 a.m.
Welcome Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., Interim Multiethnic Symposium Chairman, Werner R.H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries, Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Center for Hispanic Studies, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
10-11 a.m. Keynote Presentation The Empire Strikes Back: Migrations and the New Global Christianity
Dr. Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History, Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
11-11:15 a.m. Greetings from Sponsors Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
11:15 a.m.-
12:15 p.m.
Plenary Presentation Does God See Color? Gospel and Culture in Historical Perspective
Dr. Vince Bantu, Assistant Professor of Church History and Black Church Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, Houston, Texas
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
12:15-
12:30 p.m.
Greetings from Sponsors Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
12:30-
1:30 p.m.
Lunch with Concordia Seminary Faculty (Included with paid registration)
Koburg Hall
1:45-
2:45 p.m.
15th Annual Lecture in Hispanic/Latino Theology and Mission From the Rest to the West: Lessons in Worship from the Global South
Dr. Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of the Sacred Music Program, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

Response
Dr. James Marriott, Kreft Chair for Music Arts and Director of Music Arts, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium

2:45-3 p.m. Coffee and Refreshments Sieck Hall Foyer
3-4 p.m. Sectionals 1 Breakout Groups
4-5 p.m. Sectionals 2 Breakout Groups
5-6:30 p.m. Buffet Reception Entertainment — Mariachi San Pablo, El Paso, Texas
(Included with paid registration)
South Lawn/Koburg Hall
7-8:30 p.m. Celebration Service of Holy Communion Presiders: Dr. Kent Burreson, Louis A. Fincke and Anna B. Shine Professor of Systematic Theology, Dean of Chapel and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.; and Rev. Paul Sieveking, Campus Chaplain, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.

Homilist: Rev. Terrence Chan, Pastor, Bethel Lutheran Church, Grace Lutheran Church and Christ for All Nations Lutheran Church, San Francisco, Calif.

Music — Mariachi San Pablo, El Paso, Texas
Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus


7:30-8 a.m.
Registration
Coffee and Refreshments

Sieck Hall


7:30 a.m.
Vendor Exhibit Hall
Open throughout the event
Wyneken Hall 101/102


8:30-9 a.m.
Service of the Word
Homilist: Rev. Michael Okine, Pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo.
Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus


9-9:15 a.m.
Registration Reopens
Coffee and Refreshments

Sieck Hall Foyer


9:15-9:30 a.m.
Welcome
Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M., Interim Multiethnic Symposium Chairman, Werner R.H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries, Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Center for Hispanic Studies, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


10-11 a.m.
Keynote Presentation
The Empire Strikes Back: Migrations and the New Global Christianity
Dr. Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History, Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


11-11:15 a.m.
Greetings from Sponsors
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Plenary Presentation
Does God See Color? Gospel and Culture in Historical Perspective
Dr. Vince Bantu, Assistant Professor of Church History and Black Church Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, Houston, Texas
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


12:15-12:30 p.m.
Greetings from Sponsors
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


12:30-1:30 p.m.
Lunch with Concordia Seminary Faculty
(Included with paid registration)
Koburg Hall


1:45-2:45 p.m.
15th Annual Lecture in Hispanic/Latino Theology and Mission
From the Rest to the West: Lessons in Worship from the Global South
Dr. Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of the Sacred Music Program, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

RESPONSE
Dr. James Marriott, Kreft Chair for Music Arts and Director of Music Arts, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


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


3-4 p.m.
Sectionals 1
Breakout Groups


4-5 p.m.
Sectionals 2
Breakout Groups


5-6:30 p.m.
Buffet Reception
Entertainment — Mariachi San Pablo, El Paso, Texas
(Included with paid registration)
South Lawn/Koburg Hall


7-8:30 p.m.
Celebration Service of Holy Communion
Presiders: Dr. Kent Burreson, Louis A. Fincke and Anna B. Shine Professor of Systematic Theology, Dean of Chapel and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.; and Rev. Paul Sieveking, Campus Chaplain, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.

Homilist: Rev. Terrence Chan, Pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church, Grace Lutheran Church and Christ for All Nations Lutheran Church, San Francisco, Calif.

Music — Mariachi San Pablo, El Paso, Texas
Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus


Wednesday, May 5

Time Event Details
7:30-
8:30 a.m.
Breakfast (Included with paid registration)
Koburg Hall
8:30-
9:15 a.m.
Service of the Word Homilist: Rev. Tom Park, Assistant Professor of Theology, Concordia University, Irvine, Calif.
Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus
9:30-
10:30 a.m.
Plenary Presentation A Lesson from African Lutheran Scholars and Leaders
Rev. Samuel Deressa, Assistant Professor of Theology and Global South, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
11:30 a.m.-
12:15 p.m.
Sectionals 3 Breakout Groups
12:30-
12:45 p.m.
Closing Remarks,
Prayer and Departure
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium
12:45 p.m. Lunch (Included with paid registration)
Koburg Hall

7:30-8:30 a.m.
Breakfast
(Included with paid registration)
Koburg Hall


8:30-9:15 a.m.
Service of the Word
Homilist: Rev. Tom Park, Assistant Professor of Theology, Concordia University, Irvine, Calif.
Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus


9:30-10:30 a.m.
Plenary Presentation
A Lesson from African Lutheran Scholars and Leaders
Rev. Samuel Deressa, Assistant Professor of Theology and Global South, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.
Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


11:30-12:15 p.m.
Sectionals 3
Breakout Groups


12:30-12:45 p.m.
Closing Remarks,
Prayer and Departure

Wyneken Hall, Clara and Spencer Werner Auditorium


12:45 p.m.
Lunch
(Included with paid registration)
Koburg Hall


Sectionals: Track 1

Teaching Theology

Dr. Joel Elowsky

Professor of Historical Theology, Director of the Center for the Study of Early Christian Texts and Coordinator of International Seminary Exchange Programs, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.

There is something special and unique about African spirituality that almost seems rooted in the soil of Africa and its people. Along with Paul, people in Africa understood that warfare is not within flesh and blood but within the principalities and rulers of this age in the spiritual realm.

Contemporary Western Christianity has by and large lost this perspective. But this does not mean the war is over. We can learn much from early African theologians such as Tertullian, Cyprian, Origen and Athanasius about the spiritual war we are engaged in. This session will make an initial foray into what these early African teachers have to offer 21st century Christians who are engaged in their own spiritual struggles.

Location: TBA

Dr. Héctor Hoppe

Retired Editor of Editorial Concordia, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Mo.

For 100 years, Christian denominations in South America faced the challenge of making Western and North American theology and traditions work in their settings. They faced skepticism, overcame fears, fought battles, challenged procedures and traditions, and relearned to focus on the mission of the church. What were and are those challenges? What have we learned from them? What can we bring to the traditional denominations in North America to make the mission of the church more relevant? This session will explore these questions and more.

Location: TBA

Rev. Tom Park

Assistant Professor of Theology, Concordia University, Irvine, Calif.

As the influence of Christianity wanes, churches need to adapt to the new spiritual horizon and reach out to individuals who are devoid of any type of religiosity (the “nones”). The evangelical efforts of Christians will be similar to situations the early Christian church faced. Interestingly, the evangelical work among the Hmong is similar to that of pre-Christian times. The Book of Hebrews is important in addressing issues many Asians face in 21st century, post-Christian times. This session will discuss how this is a “back to the future” moment as pre-Christian problems surface in the post-Christian era.

Location: TBA

Dr. Gabriela Tijerina-Pike

President, Seminario Todas las Naciones (All Nations Seminary), Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

The majority-world church has grown exponentially in recent decades. It may appear that the minority world, or Western church, has no remaining responsibility to help the church in the Global South grow to maturity. But the job is still unfinished. According to the epistle to Titus, there was a need in Crete to finish the ordering of the church; St. Paul taught his disciples about the importance of deploying resources to set the firm foundation on which the universal church could grow and mature. Likewise, the children of God today are not distant from this same need. The Western church has been called to put order into the church of the rest of the world by partnering in the teaching and training of pastors, elders and other servants to oversee the return to the Christian confessional creeds. The Western church is established, experienced and equipped. Now is the time for her to fulfill her responsibility.

Location: TBA

Dr. Abjar Bahkou

Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.

How do we share the Good News of the Gospel when the language of our theology and understanding of Scripture are not well suited to all cultures? This session will discuss how, if we hope to reach people within Islamic cultures, we need to be prepared to contextualize our message in a way that speaks to them and their worldviews.

Location: TBA

Dr. Benjamin Haupt

Associate Provost and Assistant Professor of Practical Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.

The Scriptures often make general reference to “all nations,” and yet they are also at times quite specific about particular nationalities, ethnicities and races. In this session, key texts from the Old and New Testaments will be considered on this topic. Why are the Scriptures, and especially the Gospels and Acts, so particular about ethnicities? Such details will be explored, and key insights will be offered for life and witness today.

Location: TBA

Dr. William Schumacher

Mission Professor of Historical Theology, Director of the Institute for Mission Studies and Buehner-Duesenberg Professor of Missions, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.

It has been widely noted that majority-world Christianity displays vitality and growth — missional, evangelistic confidence that many in the West would like to imitate. Less noticed, and less celebrated, is the theological vigor and creativity of Christians in the Global South. This session will consider examples of serious theological contributions from African theologians, and consider how we can remain committed confessional Lutherans and also become attentive listeners and learners in a new global theological landscape.

Location: TBA

Sectionals: Track 2

Music and Worship

Rev. Stephen Heimer

Senior Pastor, Zion Lutheran Church, El Paso, Texas

Las Posadas Navideñas is a traditional Hispanic celebration depicting Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. It is fun, and many Hispanic parents want their children to experience a well done, authentic posada. Lutheran churches are finding a Christ-focused adaptation of the beloved tradition to be an indispensable part of their Advent and Christmas celebrations. When held in both English and Spanish, the posada provides an opportunity for an entire multiethnic and multigenerational community to come together to celebrate Christ.

This session will introduce attendees to the tradition, teach the music and share best practices learned from more than twenty years of utilizing the posada on the U.S./Mexico border as outreach in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Rev. Stephen and Krysia Heimer, along with members of Mariachi San Pablo, will share their resources for implementing the posada as a stand-alone event in English and Spanish or as part of a midweek Advent prayer service, a children’s Sunday school Christmas program or a Sunday worship service.

Location: TBA

Dr. Marcell Silva Steuernagel

Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of the Sacred Music Program, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

This session offers glimpses into practices of worship, particularly musical practices and the theologies and ecclesiologies imbricated with them, that arise from Christian heartlands outside the Euro-American axis. Speaking from a postcolonial and decolonialist perspective, the presenter counters the normativity of Euro-American worship practices in the history of Christianity. He offers a list of considerations gleaned from extensive experience and ethnographic research in the Global South that establish a constellation of worship and musical practices that escape and resist these Euro-American normativities. The presenter offers practical advice for planning and leading worship that takes into account the fraught entanglements that characterize the history of Christianity in the West.

Location: TBA

María Cornou

Associate Director and Program Manager, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Rebecca Snippe

Program Manager, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Mich.

One of the greatest gifts Christians have is the ability to worship God together in unity as the Body of Christ. With the global church at our doorstep, many pastors and worship leaders face questions of how to embrace a liturgy that acknowledges and welcomes the increasing diversity in our North American contexts. This workshop will focus on English and Spanish languages and explore the new resource “Santo, santo, santo: Cantos para el pueblo de Dios” (“Holy, Holy, Holy: Songs for the People of God,” GIA Publications, Inc., 2019).

Location: TBA

Dr. James Marriott

Kreft Chair for Music Arts and Director of Music Arts, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.

This session will explore the ways in which intercultural musical selections, especially non-Western song, disrupt the assumed and false dichotomy between contemporary and traditional musical paradigms. While some of the musical experiences of daily chapel at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis will be used as examples, discussion will center on shared experiences in congregations throughout our church body.

Location: TBA

Dr. Marcell Silva Steuernagel

Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of the Sacred Music Program, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

This session offers a collection of strategies for planning “hospitable worship” — liturgy that accounts for realities beyond our immediate horizons. Drawing from the development of global song and moving into repertoires beyond the Euro-American heritage of hymnody, this session will point to vocal, bodily, liturgical and leadership practices that can help worship leaders and pastors “step into the reality of the other” and find space for the “orphan, the widow and the stranger” in local congregations.

Location: TBA

María Cornou

Associate Director and Program Manager, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Rebecca Snippe

Program Manager, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Mich.

One of the greatest gifts Christians have is the ability to worship God together in unity as the Body of Christ. With the global church at our doorstep, many pastors and worship leaders face questions of how to embrace a liturgy that acknowledges and welcomes the increasing diversity in our North American contexts. This workshop will focus on English and Spanish languages and explore the new resource “Santo, santo, santo: Cantos para el pueblo de Dios” (“Holy, Holy, Holy: Songs for the People of God,” GIA Publications, Inc., 2019).

Location: TBA

Sectionals: Track 3

Missions and Ethics

Archbishop John Kawak

Archbishop and Patriarchal Vicar, Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church for the Eastern USA, Paramus, N.J.

Syria is a Muslim-majority country; Christians comprise less than 8% of the population. But this Christian community is diverse. Damascus is the seat of three patriarchates: the Syriac Orthodox, the Greek Orthodox and the Greek Catholic. In addition to these global centers, there are local centers: the Maronite Church, the Armenian Church, the Syrian Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church. This Christian community, regardless of denomination, has suffered since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011. This session will discuss this suffering community and how the church has continued to show the love of Christ to the Syrian people.

Location: TBA

Basel Mousslly

Program Manager for Migrant Services, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Baltimore, Md.

Sue Ellen Spotts

Manager for Congregational Outreach, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Baltimore, Md.

This session will explore the contributions and gifts immigrants bring to the church and their communities; discuss current realities of refugees and other immigrants; share stories of churches’ interactions with their immigrant neighbors; and consider ways for individuals and congregations to get involved.

Location: TBA

Dr. F. Javier Orozco

Executive Director of Human Dignity and Intercultural Affairs, Archdiocese of St. Louis, St. Louis, Mo.

This session invites participants to a deeper awareness and appreciation of the Hispanic presence in our church and society. It will highlight key contributions, gifts, values and challenges that accompany the Hispanic U.S. experience, as well as highlight ecumenical pastoral-theological themes for consideration and conversation.

Location: TBA

Dr. Yared Halche

Facilitator for Mission Engagement, LCMS Southeastern District, Alexandria, Va.

This session reflects on how Christianity in the Global South reconfigures world evangelism through vibrant faith expressions and growing transnational mission connections. The session focuses on Ethiopian evangelical churches and their continued presence through diaspora mission. It builds on several characteristics as common factors and trends in evangelistic mission growth — spiritual awakening, evangelistic passion, Priesthood of All Believers, serving the whole person, and diversified ministry and mission leadership styles. This discussion aims to create a better understanding of the nature of Christian growth in the Global South and its potential to strengthen world evangelism through transnational mission connections.

Location: TBA

Rev. Vince Parks

Executive Director and CEO, LINC Ministries International, Houston, Texas

For 18 years, LINC has served the city of Houston, Texas, empowering local leaders to restore the physical, spiritual, emotional and relational aspects of life in often underserved and overlooked pockets of the community. Throughout its history, LINC has pointed countless people to the true bread of life — Jesus Christ. Many of their church plants have become self-sustaining congregations in their neighborhoods.

What began as a mission to the Latino population in Houston is today LINC Ministries International and a Recognized Service Organization of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. LINC has a significant ministry presence in the California Bay Area, Houston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Seattle-Tacoma and the twin cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. They are currently working to develop LINC Chicago.

Along the way, LINC has done some things well and made plenty of mistakes. In this session, they will share some of their key learnings.

Location: TBA

Dr. Robert Scudieri

President and Publisher, Mission Nation Publishing, Naples, Fla.

The biggest challenge faced by North American churches is learning how to successfully reach ethnic groups different from their own. This session will explore what the presenter has learned through video interviews of more than 70 new missionaries to America and through discussions with those in attendance. These interviews are being led by a partnership between LCMS mission groups studying churches that are reaching different ethnic groups. These learnings will later be shared through a book, a video and conferences.

Location: TBA

Dr. Vince Bantu

Assistant Professor of Church History and Black Church Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, Houston, Texas

Urban centers across the U.S. increasingly need ministries that relate to issues of poverty, racism and immigration. Rather than seeing a divide between the earthly and heavenly aspects of the Great Commission, this session will engage missiological and biblical principles of doing intercultural ministry in a way that is Good News for the city.

Location: TBA

Dr. Samuel Deressa

Assistant Professor of Theology and Global South, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.

The largest and fastest-growing Lutheran churches in the world are found in Africa. Some Western scholars describe the history of these churches as a missionary creation. In the past few years, however, African Lutherans have been arguing against this sentiment and emphasizing the role of indigenous missionaries in spreading Christianity throughout Africa. This presentation will focus on the role of African indigenous missionaries in the history and formation of the Lutheran confessions in Africa and their contribution to the global conversation on Lutheranism.

Location: TBA

Wondimu Mathewos Game

Advanced Studies Student, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.

The phrase “from the west to the rest” is a centuries-long mission attitude that is nearly outdated. The former mission-field continent of Africa is becoming a mission force and is now a majority-Christian continent. This presentation will address the biblical mandate and the current status of the African church in 21st century global mission. This presentation also will highlight the basic problem of Africa’s church based on a case study of the mission ventures of the Mekane Yesus International Mission Society.

Location: TBA

Basel Mousslly

Program Manager for Migrant Services, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Baltimore, Md.

Sue Ellen Spotts

Manager for Congregational Outreach, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Baltimore, Md.

This session will explore the contributions and gifts immigrants bring to the church and their communities; discuss current realities of refugees and other immigrants; share stories of churches’ interactions with their immigrant neighbors; and consider ways for individuals and congregations to get involved.

Location: TBA

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