What does it mean to be “Public Church”?

Through and in Christ, we have been freed and called to live in the world, “to attend to the world through the lens of our relationship to God and to one another. As a public church, we have a responsibility to step outside our comfort zones and challenge ourselves to address issues that affect families, communities and neighbors throughout the world. As a church body, the ELCA uses its prophetic voice boldly to address important political, social and economic issues that affect local and global communities. This work grows out of our theological understanding of God at work in the world and is articulated in the social statements of this church, which you can find at ELCA.org/socialstatements on the Web. (elca.org – Our Work/ Publicly Engaged Church/ Called to be a Public Church) Other full-communion partners, denominations, and faiths have issued similar statements, yet we find congregations struggling with “what does this mean?”

Over the coming year(s), LST will be offering classes to help us engage in what it means to be “Public Church.” LST is committed to study and dialogue, encounter and conversation as to how we can be more faithful in our endeavors to witness to the love of God through Jesus Christ in the world. We began in January with two Biblical Studies classes taught by Dr. Clint McCann (Eden Seminary, St. Louis) on Caring for Creation as a Christian Calling, and “I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food” (Matthew 25:35): Addressing Hunger and Food Insecurity in the USA and the World.

In April, Dr. Linda Thomas (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago) introduced us to Womanist theology, racism and the theology of the cross. This class formed a base for our understanding and prepare us to understand and encounter the meaning of intersectionality in a seminar this summer. Then, in the fall, Dr. Thomas will offer a follow-up class on how our theology compels us to face specific issues of being Public Church in the Womanist Musings on Faith, Democracy and #Black Lives Matter for the Church class.

Upcoming Classes:


UNDERSTANDING THE HEBREW BIBLE Instructor: Rev. Dr. Fred Niedner Saturdays: 1/8, 1/22, 2/5, 2/19, 3/5, 3/19 9:00 am – 12:00 pm CST UNDERSTANDING THE HEBREW BIBLEInstructor: Rev. Dr. Fred Niedner Registration: $75 to audit REGISTER NOW Registration: $150 to meet PMA requirements. REGISTER NOW Rev. Dr. Niedner taught biblical studies in Valparaiso University’s Department of

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Themes in the Gospel of Luke

Themes in the Gospel of Luke, taught by Dr. Eunyung Lim REGISTER NOW This class explores a set of main themes and key passages in the Gospel of Luke, aiming to contextualize them in our contemporary context as we prepare for Year C this fall. Focusing on stories about women, children, and social outcasts, we

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Lutheran Confessions

Lutheran ConfessionsTaught by Dr. Chris Repp, Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church in Champaign, IL Registration: $75 to audit REGISTER NOW Registration: $150 to meet PMA or SAM requirements. REGISTER NOW What we believe about God affects how we talk about God. How we talk about God determines whether we proclaim the gospel or some other message

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Faith in Public Life

Womanist Musings on Faith, Democracy and #BlackLivesMatter for the Church Taught by Dr Linda Thomas, Full Professor of Theology and Anthropology via Zoom. REGISTER NOW Dr. Thomas will make presentations on three topics of interest in our Public Church series: October 23 Faith and Democracy November 6 Black Embodiment Over and Against White Supremacy November

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Video Class Available Now:

Lament and Sustenance Registration

Lament and Sustenance in the COVID-19 Wilderness series REGISTER NOW The video series we present here for use by individuals or study groups is of timeless value. It was originally titled Lament and Sustenance in the COVID-19 Wilderness and offered in June 2020.While there will be some references to this disastrous pandemic, the teaching provided

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Previous Classes 2021:

Womanist Biblical Interpretation

Womanist Biblical Interpretation By Dr. Wil Gafney Wednesdays: 9/22, 9/29, 10/6 7:30pm – 8:30pm CST Womanist Biblical InterpretationTaught by Dr. Wil Gafney, Professor of Hebrew Bible, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX Lutheran School of Theology St Louis is pleased to present aWomanist Biblical Interpretation Colloquium via Zoom in 3 sessions withThe Rev. Wil Gafney,

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Intersectionality Taught by Dr. Linda Thomas, Full Professor of Theology and Anthropology at Lutheran School of Theology Chicago The concept of Intersectionality considers overlapping oppressions, such as race, class, gender, sexuality, ableism, and many other things, as they are experienced and suffered by marginalized persons.   This concept is a vital tool to name multiple, intersecting

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Stand Your Ground Bible Study

Stand Your Ground Bible Study – An Introduction to Womanist Theology Registration Closed This study is an introduction to Womanist theology, a way of understanding God and the Bible from the experiences of Black women in the United States. We will discuss this theological movement’s origins, its commitments to justice for Black women (as well

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Jesus and the Gospels

Jesus and the Gospels, taught by Dr. Fred Niedner The early Christians took four “gospels” that tell Jesus’ story into their canon and almost immediately struggled with “harmonizing” them. Still today, some attempt to force these four voices into a single melodic line of the sort some of us remember hearing read every year during

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“I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food”

2021“I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food” (Matthew 25:35): Addressing Hunger and Food Insecurity in the USA and the World, taught by Dr. Clint McCann. Hunger and food insecurity continue to be issues facing the world, including the USA. Even though there is enough food for the entire human population, nearly 700 million people

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Caring for Creation as a Christian Calling

PM-92 Saturday, January 16, 2021, 9:00 – 11:00 AM CST by Zoom Environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben concludes that “environmental devastation stands as the single great crisis of our time, surpassing and encompassing all others” (The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation, p. 15). After reminding ourselves of the major dimensions

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Previous Classes 2020:

Lutheran Confessions – Dr. Robert Kolb
Christian Decision-Making in the Digital Age – Rev. Amy Zeittlow
Wrestling with the Old Testament Texts (Ordinary Time) –Dr. Kathryn Schifferdecker
Lament and Sustenance in the COVID-19 Wilderness –Dr. Fred Niedner
Church History: The Story of Christianity –Dr. Chris Repp (co-sponsored w/Central
Southern Illinois Synod)
Themes in the Gospel of Mark – Dr. Mark Allen Powell