Trinity's New Beginnings                                                                                                           May 9, 2018


Ancestry and Identity

God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations. (Exodus 3:15)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where we come from.

Last week, one of our worship services here at the seminary had immigration as a theme. Students and community members from Australia, Canada, Ghana, Kenya, and Mexico read prayers and shared reflections on their experience and their faith.

This week, one of our worship services incorporated elements from Native American culture. A student worship leader was close to tears when she said, “This is the first time I have ever heard the language of my ancestors spoken in worship.”

I’ve been corresponding with a Hamma alumnus who is concerned about how Hamma’s legacy is being carried on at Trinity. For this retired pastor, it’s not just a matter of naming Hamma and recounting the history of the merger of ELTS and Hamma that formed Trinity Lutheran Seminary in 1978. It’s about carrying on Hamma’s legacy of political and social activism, which was a significant departure from the quietism of some strands of twentieth-century Lutheranism. I understand the depth of his concern better now, since some ELTS alumni from the 1960s who were on campus recently told me that they had been informed by the seminary administration at that time that if they chose to participate in any civil rights protests, they needn’t bother returning to campus. 

Ancestry isn’t just about the past. It shapes our current identities and actions and relationships. One of the repeated themes of the Old Testament is that the God of our ancestors is also our God! We read it in Exodus 3:15. We read it again in Deuteronomy 5:3, when Moses says to the people of Israel, “Not with our ancestors did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.”

Where we come from matters. Who we are matters. When we come together in worship, in service, and in Christian community, we bring with us all of our particularities. Collectively, our individual ancestries and stories form a rich tapestry, a brilliant mosaic, shaped and held together by the love of God in Christ. What’s your story?

The Rev. Kathryn A. Kleinhans, Ph.D.
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Upcoming Events
Commencement May 19, 2018
Trinity Lutheran Seminary’s graduation will be held Saturday, May 19, at 2 PM in Gloria Dei Worship Center. A celebration of Holy Communion will take place at 10 AM. The commencement address will be given by the Rev. Dr. Barbara Lundblad, the Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Alumni Gathering - May 23rd, 2018
Are you going to the Festival of Homiletics in DC at the end of the month? If so, join Kim Hester ('07) and Kate Davidson ('08) on Wednesday night for a casual gathering with munchies and more. Location and details are still be worked out, but Wednesday, May 23 @ 7pm....check out the invitation below and let us know you will be there! The Rev. Dr. Cheryl Peterson will be joining us as well!  Looking forward to seeing you there. Evite:
Summer Seminary Sampler - July 15 - 21, 2018
Summer Sampler 2018: Interfaith Dialogue
Do you know a high school student who is thinking about Christian vocation?  We’d love for them to join us July 15 - 21, 2018 for the Summer Seminary Sampler program on Capital University’s campus in Columbus, Ohio. 

This is a week long experience filled with opportunities to explore personal faith, learn about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and serve the community.  We will assist high school students to think about vocation and how to live out faith. What are you called to be?

While living on campus for one week, high school students will experience three basic components of theological education— learning, serving the people of God in various contexts, and further developing spirituality. 

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