Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

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Richard J. Perry, Jr.

Professor of Church and Society and Urban Ministry; Director of the Urban Ministry Program

Richard J. Perry, Jr.

Phone: 773-256-0677

Education | Biography | Areas of Expertise | Titled Presentations | Profile | Published Works | Sermons

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B.A. Carthage College
M.Div. Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Th.M. Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Ph.D. Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Areas of Expertise

Topics that Dr. Perry is available to address at adult forums and other congregational events

Church and Society
African American Lutheran Church History
African American Church History
Cultural Issues
Urban Ministry 


Richard Perry is professor of church and society and urban ministry and the director of the urban ministry program and teaches in the area of Christian ethics. You can read some of his ethical work in The Promise of Lutheran Ethics and soon you’ll be able to read a chapter—co-authored with Jose David Rodriguez—in the book on sexuality that is being produced as part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) sexuality study. He has been contributing to the life of the Seminary since he was a master of divinity student in the mid-1970s. Following his graduation and ordination in 1977, he served as pastor in Gary, Ind., as director for inclusive ministries in the North Carolina Synod, and director for black ministries in the ELCA. He returned to the Seminary to pursue doctoral work as the first candidate for the African American scholars program where his specialization was in theology and ethics. He joined the faculty in 1996 and lives in Chicago with his wife Theresa and their daughter Rashida. He’s a champion bowler and avid golfer.


Richard J. Perry, Jr., professor of church and society and urban ministry, has been on the faculty of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago since 1996.

After his ordination in 1977, Perry served Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church, Gary, Ind., for three years. His experience in urban and multi-cultural ministries was honed as director of inclusive ministries for the North Carolina Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, and as director for Black ministries for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

In 1999, he co-chaired the International Planning Committee for the Conference of International Black Lutherans held in Wittenberg, Germany, where he presented the paper "Justification and Racial Justice." He was also a presenter at the first consultation between African and African-American Lutheran Theologians in Harare, Zimbabwe; and chaired the working group on racism in the church and society at the Lutheran World Federation's Seventh Assembly in Budapest, Hungary.

A published author, Perry contributed the chapter, "African American Lutheran Ethical Action," to the book "The Promise of Lutheran Ethics" (Fortress Press 1998). His essay, "Justification by Grace and Its Social Implications," was included in "Theology and the Black Experience" (Fortress 1988), and he co-authored with Albert Pero and Cheryl Stewart "Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters...," a Black cultural awareness resource published by Augsburg Fortress.

Perry received the bachelor of arts degree from Carthage College, Kenosha, Wis. The master of divinity, master of theology and doctor of theology degrees were bestowed by the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Titled Presentations

African-American Lutheranism (Power Point presentation)
Taking the Church Public: Urban Ministry in the 21st Century (more than one session)

Published Works

“Listening at Those Who are Taught: Faculty Urban Immersion Explores Ways to Respond to Context” LSTC Epistle Vol. 43 No. 1 (Winter, 2013) 9-10

“Martin Luther King Jr. and the Christian Life” The Journal of Lutheran Ethics Volume 10, No. 4 (April 2010)

Review of “Reinhold Niebuhr Revisited: Engagement with an American Original” edited by Daniel F. Rice in the Journal of Lutheran Ethics (May-June 2011) 123 – 124.

“Neibuhr and Politics” The Journal of Lutheran Ethics Vol. 11, No. 3 (May/June, 2011)

Review of Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church: Mandate, Commitments and Practices of a Diverse Congregation by Mark DeYamaz in Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology, Vol. 63, #4 (October, 2009) p. 433-434

“Genetics and Social Location: How do Things Look from Here?,” “Genetics & Faith: Power, Choice & Relationship (Responses for input on the ELCA Social Statement of 2010)

“From the Sanctuary to the Street: The Vocation of a Theologian,”  Currents in Theology and Mission, Vol. 35, No. 5 (October 2008): 349-353

“Broadening the Moral Conversation (A Response to Margaret McLean).” The University of Toledo Law Review 32/3 (Spring 2001) 351-354.

"Elements of a Social Ethic of Liberation: An Interpretation of the Hefner Legacy.” Currents in Theology and Mission 28/3-4 (2001) 378-384.

"Broadening the Church’s Conversation.” In Human Cloning: Papers From a Church Consultation, ed. Roger Willer. Department for Studies of the Division for Church in Society, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 2000.

"African American Lutheran Ethical Action: The Will to Build.” In The Promise of Lutheran Ethics, ed. Karen Bloomquist and John Stumme. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing, 1998.

"Which Way Shall We Go?’ The Ethical Dilemma of Africa American Lutheranism.” Currents in Theology and Mission 24/3 (1997) 252-258.

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