Plenary at Mid-Winter Convocation

Mid-Winter Convocation


Mary Jane Haemig

Professor of Church History, Director of the Reformation Research Program

Mary Jane Haemig, Professor of Church History, joined the Luther Seminary faculty in 1999. She had been Assistant Professor of Religion at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, from 1994-1999.

Haemig completed her Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) at Harvard Divinity School in 1996 with a dissertation titled “The Living Voice of the Catechism: German Lutheran Catechetical preaching 1530-1580.” She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1977, and received both a master of theological studies (M.T.S.) from Harvard Divinity School and a doctor of jurisprudence (J.D.) degree from Harvard Law School in 1981. She worked as an attorney in Illinois from 1982-1989, before commencing doctoral studies at Harvard.

Haemig is a specialist in Reformation studies, particularly the study of the Lutheran Reformation. Her interests include preaching, catechesis, and prayer in that period. She teaches courses related to the Reformation and participates in teaching the Lutheran Confessional writings. She is also Director of the Reformation Research Program at Luther Seminary. Haemig has made many scholarly presentations, numerous church presentations, and has written many articles and book reviews. She is associate editor and book review editor of “Lutheran Quarterly,” is associate editor of the “Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran Traditions,”is a member of the continuation committee for the International Luther Research Congress and participates in other scholarly organizations.    

Haemig's honors include membership in Phi Beta Kappa, a research grant from the Herzog-August-Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany (2010), a research grant from the Evangelische Kirche Deutschland (2003), the Regency Advancement Award of Pacific Lutheran University (1997), and the Frederick Sheldon Travelling Fellowship of Harvard University (1993-1994).

Robert A. Kolb

Missions Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Director Emeritus of the Institute for Mission Studies, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

Robert Kolb was born and raised in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and attended Concordia College in St. Paul, Minn.; Concordia Senior College in Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where he earned his M.Div. and Master of Sacred Theology. After completing his doctorate in history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he served as director of the Center for Reformation Research in St. Louis. Concordia College in St. Paul called him in 1977 to teaching positions in the departments of religion and history. He also served as acting president from 1989-1990. In 1993, Concordia Seminary in St. Louis called him to be missions professor of systematic theology and director of the Institute for Mission Studies. Kolb served as associate editor and co-editor of The Sixteenth Century Journal and is currently co-editor of Missio Apostolica. He was chair of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. He served as president of the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference and the Society for Reformation Research. Since 1993 he has been a member of the Continuation Committee of the International Congress for Luther Research. Kolb has lectured at more than 40 educational institutions on five continents and at many ecclesiastical gatherings. Since 1996 he has been Gastdozent at the Lutherische Theologische Hochschule in Oberursel, Germany. He has received honorary Doctors of Letters from Valparaiso University, Concordia University in St. Paul and Concordia University Irvine.

Ron Rittgers

Erich Markel Chair in German Reformation Studies and Professor of History and Theology, Valparaiso University

Ron Rittgers holds the Erich Markel Chair in German Reformation Studies at Valparaiso University, where he also serves as professor of history and theology. He earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University. He has written two books: “The Reformation of the Keys: Confession, Conscience, and Authority in Sixteenth-Century Germany” (Harvard University Press, 2004); and “The Reformation of Suffering: Pastoral Theology and Lay Piety in Late Medieval and Early Modern Germany” (Oxford University Press, 2012). He is currently working on projects that examine biblical interpretation in the Reformation and the reception of mysticism among early modern Protestants. Rittgers is also the president-elect of the American Society of Church History. 

Timothy J. Wengert

Emeritus Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Reformation History and the Lutheran Confessions, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

A parish pastor for more than seven years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Timothy J. Wengert received his doctorate from Duke University in 1984 and was on Philadelphia's faculty from 1989-2013. He has written many scholarly articles on the Reformation and discovered and published contemporary notes on two of Martin Luther's sermons from 1520. In addition to his published dissertation on Philip Melanchthon's interpretation of John's Gospel, Wengert is co-editor of the English edition of “The Book of Concord.” His translation into English of Luther’s “Small Catechism” is widely used throughout the ELCA. He is the author of numerous other books. In 2017, he will deliver a plenary address on the 95 Theses at the 13th International Luther Congress in Germany. In February 2000, the city of Bretten, Germany, (Melanchthon’s birthplace) honored him as the first American recipient of the Melanchthon Prize, awarded every three years to a scholar who contributes to research on the Wittenberg reformer. In 2010 he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Carthage College, and in 2011 he was visiting guest professor at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. Wengert served the ELCA as a member of the ELCA–United Methodist dialogue team and as a member of the Task Force for ELCA Studies of Sexuality. He also served on a Lutheran World Federation team in conversation with the Mennonite World Churches. He now serves on the North American Lutheran/Roman Catholic dialogue and on an international team of scholars producing an ecumenical commentary on the 95 Theses of Martin Luther.