Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Social Media Ministry Moment

From the Rev. Kevin Clementson


Social media has forever changed the world and how we do ministry. This was brought home to me this morning as I sit with my coffee and bagel in the comfort of my neighborhood Panera. A message bubble pops up from a member of my congregation in Afghanistan. "Hey Pastor! Keep me and my buddies in your prayers today. We are about to go out on a mission." Suddenly what can at times seem so far away was brought to my table... the easy comfort of my space at the table suddenly feels different as I prayed for that young man and father of two who along with his buddies drive off base and into a world of purposeful violence. The world feels very small and dangerous today.

Kevin, MDiv '82, is Co-pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Westminster, MD

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Advanced-Practice in Ministry --

Exceptional. Practical. Enduring.

advanced-practice.jpgGettysburg Seminary Offers the new six course certificate in
Advanced-Practice in Ministry 

Designed for today’s challenging ministry settings at Gettysburg Seminary
Ministry isn’t what it used to be. The 21st century church is not your father’s (or mother’s) church, and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg now offers a course of study for rostered leaders to meet the new challenges of ministry.  In a rapidly changing world, we need places to vision and to be equipped for the challenges before the church.  Gettysburg Seminary created Advanced-Practice in Ministry certificate geared toward practicing pastors and other rostered leaders ready to engage practical and theological concerns on an advanced level in this new reality.

With intentional focus on real world challenges in current contexts for ministry, participants will be able to focus critical and creative energies on advancing their ministries. The Advanced-Practice program offers collaborative work, exploration of new models for ministry, and leadership formation in a six course intensive, residential learning schedule. Courses will be offered in October and January, and participants may begin at any stage of the course cycle.

More information, applications and course descriptions are available at the Seminary’s website . You may also contact the Director of Lifelong Learning and Certificate Programs Rev. Dr. Michelle Holley Carlson at  Or leave a phone message with Ms. Danielle Garber at 717.339.1322.

Finding Straight Talk in the English Translation of a Modern-Day Psalm


Katy Giebenhain, Poetry + Theology Editor, Seminary Ridge Review

Four translated poems from SAID were included in the Spring 2013 issue of Seminary Ridge Review. The full 99 Psalms was just published in English by Paraclete Press. You’ll hear more about the book in the Spring 2014 issue. Here’s a taste of what’s to come. As part of a Paraclete Press blog tour this week, I would like to look at the text of the fifth poem in the book by SAID, the Iranian poet who makes his home in Germany, translated from the German by Mark Burrows. It appears on page 21. Poems in this collection have a relationship to the three Abrahamic religious traditions, yet are entirely their own.

let me be a water puddle
that mirrors your heavens
and murmurs your prayers
so that the cicadas might understand me
show yourself o lord
even if you have no other choice
than to come in the fierce coursing of blood
and take in the refugees
because every fleeing ends in your eye
even if those who flee forget you in their time of need
because only those who doubt in you
seek you

The “psalms” we tend to repeat most often are chosen for comfort, but that’s not what a psalm is limited to. It can bring us closer to God and closer to seeing ourselves as people of God in the world. A psalm can wear spurs. This psalm, thanks to SAID and to the attentive translation of Mark Burrows does not make nice. It also does not criticize or posture. This psalm, like the others in the collection, feels genuine and it offers what I crave in poems and in sermons: straight talk.

I appreciate the cadence and brevity. I appreciate the tolerance of a complicated God. I appreciate the tolerance of complicated people. A puddle is not grandiose or beautiful. It’s just a puddle. Familiar and small-scale. I appreciate the reminder that I should seek to reflect God, even to be aware of the idea of that reflecting, rather than to stay in the scope of my routines and identity. The emphasis is on the seeking. I love the combination of unending reflecting, back and forth, and the presence of cicadas without mentioning their sound.

Other examples of straight talk: acknowledging that we forget God, in times of panic. We doubt. But we are supposed to doubt. We are thinking creatures! Faith, in its broadest sense is meant to be a living, developing faith. I am relieved when reading the last two lines “because only those who doubt in you / seek you.” What about the art of demanding without being bossy? How does SAID do that? How does Burrows keep this tone?

I could go on unpacking each line of the poem, especially for the indirect tangents it sets me off on, but I mostly react with gratitude. Herzlichen Dank. Unpunctuated, this self-contained poem leads seamlessly to the next one in the collection, and to each of its 98 lean siblings, related yet distinct in their straight-talking wisdom.

Visit Paraclete Press at
Visit Mark Burrows at
Visit SAID at
Visit Seminary Ridge Review at


Monday, September 23, 2013

Largen Posts "Real Islam" from Instanbul

"Real Islam"

Gettysburg Theologian Kristin Largen reports from an Instanbul interfaith conference via her blog.

As usual, it is worth the read:


Monday, September 16, 2013

Luminaries Honor the Memory of Those Injured and Treated in the Seminary Fixed Field Hospital

Seminary Transition from Field Hospital Observed by Founders Day with Luminaries

Luminaries, Dearest Home to Set the Tone for Seminary Ridge Museum Observance 150 Years After Field Hospital Closed

With a touch of Autumn in the air and the schools back in session, the Seminary Ridge Museum commemorates the soldiers who were patients in the Seminary hospital from July 1-Sept 16, 1863. The public joined Seminary Ridge Museum Founders at Day's End this Saturday, Sept. 14 for a program on the East porch of the museum featuring remarks by Dr. Carol Reardon.

A musical performance by Dearest Home began at 7:30pm and the formal program followed at 8pm. Luminary candles linking one civil war soldier to one living sponsor will be illuminated as darkness settles on the hallowed ground which 150 years ago was instantly and concurrently both a fierce battleground and a sanctuary for healing.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Dr. Monica Melanchthon to Offer Special Lecture on Biblical Interpretation and Indian Feminisms

Norma Schweitzer Wood Lecture at Gettysburg Seminary

Mark your calendars
"Fracturing the Iconic Feminine: Biblical Interpretation and Indian Feminisms" is title of Melanchthon's public talk on November 20th.

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg is pleased to announce that The Rev. Dr. Monica Melanchthon will deliver the Norma Wood Lecture on Wednesday, November 20 at 2:15pm. Mark your calendars!

“Don’t miss this year’s Norma Schweitzer Wood lecture, delivered by one of the most well-known international Lutheran scholars in our 21st century global context" said the Rev. Dr. Kristin Johnston Largen, faculty Theologian at Gettysburg Seminary.

Church worker, theological educator, and a student of the Bible, Dr. Monica Jyotsna Melanchthon belongs to the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church, India. A graduate of the United Theological College, Bangalore, and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (Ph.D.), she currently teaches Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at the United Faculty of Theology, MCD University of Divinity, Melbourne.

Largen added, "Dr. Melanchthon is sure to enlighten, challenge and inform our understanding of justice, particularly as it relates to women and the Lutheran faith.  She brings an incisive interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures, and a deep awareness of women’s oppression in her native India.  Come and hear how the Bible can speak to us today in ways both fresh and faithful!”

The Norma Schweitzer Wood lecture is an occasional offering of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg in honor of the Dean Emerita exploring subject matter of social justice.