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Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

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Justin Thornburgh

There are a lot of people at LSTC who are interested in urban ministry but not doing an urban ministry emphasis. They are asking the bigger question, 'What is justice and how does the church do that?'

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Student Profile: Justin Thornburgh, M.Div.

Degree: M.Div., senior

Urban Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) changed Justin Thornburgh’s call

Justin did Urban CPE with the Institute for Positive Living in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, not far from LSTC. He was a “tutor and friend” to children in grades 2 through 8. He soon discovered that every child he worked with had been affected by urban violence.

“All of them knew someone who had been beaten up or shot. That morbidity and darkness were the undercurrents of conversation,” he says. “Pastoral care in that setting is more subtle. It’s a ministry of presence and being there in a crisis.”

He sees his coming to LSTC as the working of the Holy Spirit. “I came because of LSTC’s Environmental Ministry Emphasis, but I realized that I’m called to be in the city,” says Justin Thornburgh. He is a member of Chicago’s North Shore Baptist Church, part of the American Baptist Churches, USA. “It’s my call to recognize how people name the issues going on and to be a prophetic voice to my community.”

Justin has taken a number of courses offered by the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE). LSTC is a member seminary of the consortium. It offers courses on issues in urban ministry, preaching, and organizing taught by leaders such as Otis Moss III, Father Michael Pflager, and Jeremiah Wright.

“Classes are truly ecumenical,” Justin says. “There are students from Garrett (Theological Seminary – United Methodist), Chicago Theological Seminary (UCC), Loyola’s theology program, and even people from seminaries in other states.”

“There are a lot of people at LSTC who are interested in urban ministry but not doing an urban ministry emphasis,” Justin says. “They are asking the bigger question, ‘What is justice and how does the church do that?’”

Page last modified Aug 12, 2014