Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago Launches Multicultural Center in Partnership with ELCA June 13, 2006

With a three-year grant given by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago is creating a new Multicultural Center to recruit, form and accompany candidates from five ethnic groups for professional leadership in the church. The Multicultural Center will assist the ELCA fulfill its vision of a multicultural church by providing leadership for expanding ministry to the Latino, African Descent, Asian Pacific Islander, Arab Middle Eastern, and American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

"I am excited about the partnership with LSTC and other ELCA seminaries to strengthen the identification and development of leaders of color in this church," said the Rev. Dr. Marion Wyvetta Bullock, ELCA Executive for Leadership Development. "This work will plant seeds, nurture, and continue the harvest of gifted leaders for the sake of God's mission in the world and in the church."

The Rev. Gregory Villalon, ELCA associate executive director for leadership and director for multicultural leadership, commented, "Working in partnership with LSTC and the other 7 seminaries and the 2 extension centers in the ELCA continues to be an exciting and hopeful part of my work. The Multicultural Center being developed at LSTC is another example of how our seminaries work in partnership with each other and the ELCA to identify and equip leaders for the ministry and mission of the church. This new multicultural network will strengthen the already existing partnerships that support the identification and formation of leaders from our multicultural communities who have responded to God's call and are preparing for service in the ELCA."

This new partnership comes out of a long and productive relationship between LSTC and the ELCA and the commitment of both to preparing multicultural leaders for the church.

LSTC is conducting a search for a director for the center who will work with the ELCA Vocation and Education unit, the Multicultural unit and other units to create partnerships and new networks to provide better access to theological education for communities of color.

"We are excited about this wonderful development and look forward to working with the ELCA, our sister ELCA seminaries, and other key partners in identifying and preparing the next generation of multicultural leadership for a church in mission," said LSTC President James Kenneth Echols.

The goals of the Multicultural Center include developing and strengthening lay schools of theology for African Americans, Latinos, Chinese and Arabs in large cities in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa. It will encourage partnerships between LSTC and the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest, the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and the Lutheran Theological Center in Atlanta. The Center will strengthen the Latino doctor of ministry and Ph.D. programs at LSTC. It will assist with recruitment of students of color for all degree programs at LSTC and provide assistance, support and mentoring for them at the seminary.

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The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.

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