Two parish pastors, two college professors, and two leaders in Lutheran service agencies will receive the 2007 Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago alumni awards for their outstanding service to the church. The Rev. Dennis A. Jacobsen (Concordia/Seminex, 1973, M.Div.,); the Rev. Dr. Kathryn A. Kleinhans (1984, M.Div.); the Rev. Thomas J. Minor (1972, M.Div.); the Rev. Keith T. Nelson (1970, M.Div.); Abdul Massih Saadi (1993,M.A.; 1995, Th.M.; 1999, Ph.D.); and the Rev. Edgar L. Schambach, Jr. (Seminex, 1977, M.Div.) will be honored at a dinner at the seminary on Monday, February 12.
These six people are a snapshot of the depth and breadth of how LSTC graduates are engaged in ministry," said Mark Van Scharrel, vice president for advancement. "We honor them for the excellent ways they have used their gifts to share the gospel and inspire others."
Edgar L. Schambach, who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award: Parish Ministry, is pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Sidney, Neb. His 30 years of parish ministry in North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, and Nebraska are characterized by outstanding work in evangelism and outreach. Schambach has been dedicated to developing strong leaders within his congregations.
Abdul Massih Saadi, recipient of the First Decade Award, teaches at Notre Dame University in the department of classics. He began his teaching career in Lebanon and Syria and served as principle and instructor at the St. Ephrem Theological Seminary in Damascus, Syria from 1984 - 1990. He began his studies at LSTC in 1993. For more than a decade he has worked on the seminary's collection of Syriac manuscripts. Saadi is a prolific writer and translator who has published articles on the history of Christianity in the Middle East. He has translated the works of Moshe Bar Kepha and biblical texts into modern Syrian.
Keith T. Nelson, recipient of the Excellence in Ministry: Institutional Advancement Award, is associate director/planned giving for the Foundation of the ELCA. In 1981, he was the founding director of Planned Giving Services for the Nebraska Synod Agencies and Institutions. Planned Giving Services now has over $77 million in gift expectancies. Nelson's vision and abilities made Nebraska Planned Giving Services a model for other similar organizations across the church.
Thomas Minor, who will receive the Faithful Servant Award, has served as a parish pastor, a military chaplain, and is now disaster response executive director for Lutheran Social Services of the South, where he works with victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. During his 14 years as an Air Force chaplain, he was chief of education, training, and pastoral care at the Air National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.; senior Protestant chaplain at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; senior Protestant chaplain at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga.; and provided counseling support to presidential flight crews at Andrews Air Force Base.
Kathryn Kleinhans, recipient of the Christian Educator Award, is professor of religion at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, where she chairs the religion department and is coordinator of Church Vocation. Kleinhans also teaches theology and Reformation history at lay schools of theology and synod assemblies. Her writing regularly appears in scholarly journals and ELCA publications. Kleinhans has also served as a member of the Northeastern Iowa Synod candidacy committee.
Dennis Jacobsen, recipient of the Peace and Justice Award, is pastor of Incarnation Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wisc., and director of the Gamaliel National Clergy Caucus. Gamaliel is a network of over 1,000 clergy that develops national and regional training events which ground the work of congregation-based community organizing in theology and Scripture. He is the author of Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing, an introduction to the theology of congregation-based community organizing.
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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.