Plenary at Mid-Winter Convocation

Mid-Winter Convocation


1. Luther as Shepherd of Souls

David Anderson, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Milestones Ministry, LLC

Martin Luther was above all else a “pastor and shepherd of souls” (Theodore Tappert). If we miss Luther’s experiential and pastoral theology, we miss how he sought to transforms lives through faith in Christ. Participants will explore how faith practices and the role of the home were essential parts of Luther's pastoral theology. David will use concrete examples and stories from coaching congregational staff for over 20 years to suggest numerous implications of Luther's theology on how to be a shepherd of souls today.

2. Lutheran Commitments to Children and Youth: Theological Foundations, Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Initiatives
Marcia Bunge, Professor of Religion and the Bernhardson Distinguished Chair of Lutheran Studies, Gustavus Adolphus College; Extraordinary Professor at North-West University, South Africa.

In this session Bunge explores some of the theological grounds for commitments to children found in the Reformation and the Lutheran tradition; highlights several influential Lutheran figures who promoted faith formation, education, and child protection; and outlines some of the initiatives within the church today for strengthening both faith formation and child advocacy.

3. Teach Me to Pray: Teaching and Learning Prayer with Luther's Old Testament "Case Studies"
Mary Jane Haemig, Professor of Church History, Director of the Reformation Research Program, Luther Seminary

Martin Luther used a number of Old Testament stories to teach prayer.  Come and learn how these stories of faith can enrich our understanding and teaching of prayer today. 


4. Develop a Reformation Sunday Forum NOW! Ideas and Resources to Interactively Build an Engaging Forum for Reformation Study

Susan Hequet, Term Faculty of Theology, Concordia University-St. Paul

Come ready to develop an exciting forum on Luther and his work. A variety of resources, including images, film clips, texts and prayers will be shared as examples of how to study Luther and the Reformation. In this workshop, you will also be given suggestions for linking Reformation topics and ideas to modern issues and concerns. (You may want to bring something to write with and/or your computers or smart pads.) In small groups, ideas will be shared, tested and supported to develop material that you can use throughout the year—and especially on Reformation Sunday!

5. Translating Luther into 21st Century America

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

On the basis of two or three selected texts from Luther's writings, this workshop will pose the question "What does this mean -- for us today?" and explore the foundations and structure of Luther's thinking within his context in order to experiment with ways of using his understanding of God and of what it means to be a human creature in the twenty-first century context.

6. 500 Years of Reformation: An Ecumenical and Global Commemoration
Dirk Lange, Associate Dean, Graduate Theological Education; Associate Professor of Worship, Luther Seminary

500 years of Reformation is a special anniversary! And it is being recognized in an equally historic fashion. Lutherans and Catholics will jointly commemorate the Reformation 2017 in Lund, Sweden on October 31, 2016. In common prayer and thoughtful memory, they express joy, repentance, and commitment to a common witness to the mercy of God in the world for reconciliation, peace and justice for the whole creation. This workshop explores the background of the Commemoration with insights into its on-going planning. .

7. Martin Luther and the Holy Spirit

Lois Malcolm, Professor of Systematic Theology, Luther Seminary

In this workshop, we will discuss Luther's understanding of how the Holy Spirit creates the church through the promises of the gospel in Word and Sacrament. We will explore the implications of his theology of the Holy Spirit for how we read Scripture, pray, catechize, and evangelize in our own day.

8. Reformation in Africa is Both Loss of African Culture and Gaining of Other Values
Elieshi Ayo Mungure, Secretary for Africa, Lutheran World Federation

Some historians say that the Reformation came to Africa as the expansion of mission work from Europe in two waves from the 15th to 19th centuries. These waves, although aimed at first to bring the gospel to Africa, were however accompanied by other motives such as expansion of the empire, which resulted in colonial occupation of most countries in Africa, loss of identity and culture of the people, creation of the wealthy through trade and acquiring of natural resources. In the spirit of churches being on continuous reformation (ecclesia semper reformanda), churches and communities in Africa are engaging in dialogue and discussions to rediscover their lost values. They’re acknowledging the gaining and reforming these values for the growth and sustainability of the church while participating in the global new reformation movement.

9. Making the High Places Low: Martin Luther's Sense of Call
Mark Tranvik, Professor of Religion, Augsburg College

We will look at the life and work of 20th century theologian Paul Tillich. His work serves as one resource for congregational leaders as they grapple with the growing reality of “nones,” in particular, the “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR), and consider possible avenues for engaging those who have either left the church or see no reason to join a Christian community. In his day, Tillich was known for engaging religious skeptics and the culture at large by continually asking the question of how the Christian message addressed contemporary questions, doubts and concerns.  His curiosity and commitment to dialogue led him to articulate the gospel in both creative and faithful ways. Tillich’s theological insights will be placed in conversation with the groundbreaking research found in Linda Mercadante’s recent book about the SBNR, “Belief Without Borders.”

10. Luther's Small Catechism for Adults: Tasting it Again for the First Time
Timothy Wengert, Emeritus Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Reformation History and the Lutheran Confessions, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

One of many ways that the “Small Catechism” can inform our congregations' life is to explore it with adults, Martin Luther's original intended audience.  Participants will discover how Luther's small gift to the church can reshape their spiritual, liturgical and household lives and even help to hear (and write) sermons.  All are encouraged to bring a copy of the “Small Catechism.”

Registration fees through Nov. 30

$205 per person

$180 per person for retired participants

$180 for two or more members of a congregation when registration is received at the same time

The cost of paid registrations includes a non-refundable fee of $50 (per person).