A newsletter for friends of the Global Mission Institute, Luther Seminary

Global Vision - Fall 2013

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Director's Corner

The beginning of a new academic year


Robera D. Battal

We started this academic year by welcoming 12 new international students from 11 countries. We are so blessed to have 58 international students from 23 countries currently studying at Luther Seminary. I encourage you to get to know them, invite them to your congregations and learn from them. In this issue of Global Vision, we introduce you to Pum Za Mang a third-year Ph.D. student from Myanmar (formerly Burma). Mang is one of 22 international students in the Ph.D. program. We also introduce you to the Rev. Dr. Jensen Seyenkulo '87, bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia.

The GMI connects with hundreds of international alumni who are leading seminaries and churches both nationally and internationally. During his brief visit to the GMI office two weeks ago, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation the Rev. Martin Junge acknowledged Luther Seminary's contribution to the global church. Two of his own staff in Geneva, the Rev. Dr. Elieshi Mungure, '07, and the Rev. Dr. Musa Panti Filibus, '98, are Luther Seminary graduates. Luther Seminary's gift and contribution to the global church comes primarily in the form of training international students in the Masters and Ph.D. programs. Missionary professors also travel to distant places to provide a critically needed theological education for seminaries. In this issue, you'll read about our own Associate Professor of Old Testament Kathryn Schifferdecker who recently returned from teaching at the Mekane Yesus Seminary in Ethiopia.

While we continue to foster global partnerships, we are also excited about the work we began among recent immigrant communities. This important work has opened the door for us to connect with recent immigrant congregations. Our 2013-2014 Christian Leadership Training program for people from immigrant and ethnic-specific congregations started on Sept. 14. About 30 people from immigrant congregations attended the first session. Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Brighton, Minn., is one of the congregations actively participating in the Agora program and also supporting our efforts.

To this year's Burgess Lecture in Global Mission we welcome Dr. Philip Jenkins, distinguished professor of history at Baylor University and co-director of Baylor's Program on Historical Studies of Religion at the Institute for Studies of Religion. He is the author of 24 books and 120 book chapters. Some of his recent books include "The Next Christendom: The Rise of Global Christianity" (2011), "The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South" (2008), "Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can't Ignore the Bible's Violent Verses" (2011) and "The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa and Asia--and How It Died" (2008). Please join us for this free public lecture on Oct. 14 at 4 p.m.

Lastly, the Luther Seminary Library is once again receiving book donations to support the work of the Theological Book Network Their mission is to provide "theological resources for the formation of leaders called to serve the global church." This work continues the spirit of the Lutheran International Library Assistance Project (LILAP), a former ministry of the Luther Seminary Library and GMI.

I want to thank you for your prayers and support. At this pivotal time in our history, I also want to encourage you to continue to pray and also consider a generous financial gift to support the expanded role and work of the GMI.

Robera D. Battal
Director, Global Mission Institute