LSTC community mourns Morris J. Niedenthal, professor of homiletics, emeritus February 11, 2008

A Memorial Service for the Rev. Dr. Morris J. Niedenthal will be held Saturday, April 26 at Augustana Lutheran Church, 5500 S. Woodlawn, Chicago, Illinois at 11 a.m.

Morris J. Niedenthal.
Morris J. Niedenthal.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to:

* Bethany Lutheran Seminary Fund of Bethany Lutheran Church, Mauston WI, 701 Grove Street, Mauston WI 53948.

* The Morris J. Niedenthal Fund for Doctor of Ministry in Preaching Scholarships at The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 E. 55th Street, Chicago IL 60615. The Morris Niedenthal Scholarship for D.Min. in Preaching was established by Dr. Stanley Yoder on the occasion of Dr. Niedenthal’s retirement. The scholarship is awarded to students in the doctor of ministry in preaching program. Gifts may be made to LSTC via mail or online and designated for the scholarship fund. Or

* The Organ Fund of Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park, 5500 South Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago IL 60637.

News Release:

Morris "Morry"  J. Niedenthal, who taught preaching at the Lutheran School of Theology and its predecessor school, the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary (Maywood, Ill.), died on February 8, 2008, in Chicago, Ill.

Morris Niedenthal was born in Hays, Kan., in 1931 and grew up in Russell, Kan.  He graduated from Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. in 1953. In 1956, Dr. Niedenthal graduated from Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary, Maywood, Ill. The next year he studied at the University of Manchester, Manchester, England, as a Fulbright Scholar.

After he was ordained in Russell, Kan., in June 1957, he served as a Mission Developer for the United Lutheran Church, organizing St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

In November 1960, he accepted a call to teach at the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary in Maywood, Ill. When the Maywood Seminary merged with four others into the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago he moved to the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago and continued his teaching. In 1969, he received a Th.D. from Union Theological Seminary, New York City. In 1976, he was made full professor of homiletics at LSTC. After teaching for 36 years, he retired in 1996, having touched the lives of hundreds of students.

After his retirement in 1996 and through the fall 2007 semester, he continued to teach oral interpretation workshops and mentor Lutheran students in the ACTS Doctor of Ministry in Preaching degree program. Dr. Niedenthal was instrumental in creating the ACTS D. Min. in Preaching program. 

Dr. Niedenthal served one term as president of the American Academy of Homiletics.

Deeply committed to preparing future leaders for rural congregations, Dr. Niedenthal led several rural ministry immersions and taught courses in rural ministry for many years before and after his retirement, a legacy that continues to this day at LSTC.

Morris Niedenthal was co-author, with Edmund Steimle and Charles Rice of Preaching the Story (Fortress, 1980) and Proclamation: Pentecost 1-9 with Andre Lacoque (Fortress, 1975). His articles appeared in Dialog, Princeton Seminary Review, Context, Koinonia, Seminary Record, and Frontiers.

In addition to his teaching commitments, Dr. Niedenthal served on a number of synodical committees, lectured at conferences and church assemblies, and regularly preached in congregations. He regularly taught workshops on reading Scripture at his home congregation, Augustana Lutheran Church

Morris Niedenthal married Corrine Helmke in 1955. They are the parents of Simon (Tina-Marie Whitman) and Paula (Markus Brauer), and grandparents of Camilla, Adrian, Sebastian, and Benjamin.

A memorial service will be held at Augustana Lutheran Church, Chicago, Ill., at a later date. He is survived by his wife, two children, four grandchildren, and a sister, and is remembered with thanksgiving by many colleagues and students.


Jan Boden
Director of Communication and Marketing

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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