LSTC 2013 Distinguished Alumni lead in ELCA parish, synods, institutions February 6, 2013

The 2013 Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago Distinguished Alumni Awards honor five outstanding leaders who, together, serve in each expression of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The 2013 Distinguished Alumni are the Rev. Dr. Javier R. Alanis, the Rev. Richard Bruesehoff, the Rev. Emmanuel Jackson, the Rev. Nancy Feniuk Nelson, and the Rev. Linda Norman. An awards ceremony and reception will be held on Monday, March 11, at 5:30 p.m. in the Augustana Chapel at LSTC, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago.

“These five distinguished alumni witness to the breadth and depth of service of LSTC graduates in the church and the world,” said President James Nieman. “We give thanks to God for the many ways they witness to the good news of Jesus Christ through their varied ministries and for their wise leadership that inspires others to live faithful lives.”

LSTC’s 2013 Distinguished Alumni
The Rev. Dr. Javier R. Alanis (1998, Th.M.; 2002, Ph.D.), recipient of the Witness to the World Award, is the executive director of the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest ( Dr. Alanis was pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in San Antonio, Texas, before beginning graduate studies at LSTC. He chaired the multicultural and anti-racism teams in the Southwestern Texas Synod and was both a supervising pastor and a teaching assistant while at LSTC. He currently serves on the boards of the Texas Lutheran University Corporation, the Texas Interfaith Center and the Seminary of the Southwest (and Episcopal seminary in Austin, Texas). Prior to entering seminary, Dr. Alanis practiced law in Austin, Brownsville, and Edinburg, Texas. He holds a J.D. from the University of Texas Law School (Austin). He also holds a master of international business administration from the American Graduate School of International Management (Glendale, Ariz.).

The Rev. Richard Bruesehoff (Christ Seminary-Seminex, 1974, M.Div.), recipient of the Faithful Servant Award, currently serves as outreach coordinator for Portico Benefit Services. He previously served as director of lifelong learning of the ELCA and as assistant to the bishop for the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin, where he helped start the synod’s Lay School of Ministry. He was pastor at several congregations in Wisconsin and was a staff member for the Wisconsin Council of Churches. Pastor Bruesehoff is a founding member and part of the leadership team of the Grace Institute for Spiritual Formation based at Luther College. After completing the Shalem Institute Spiritual Guidance Program he became a spiritual director and retreat leader. Pastor Bruesehoff is the author of two books, Clergy Renewal: The Alban Sabbatical Planning Guide (Alban Institute) and Pastor and People: Making Mutual Ministry Work (Augsburg Fortress). He and his spouse, Naomi, are the parents of two adult children.

The Rev. Emmanuel Jackson (2008, M.Div.), who will receive the Emerging Voice Award, was recently called as senior pastor of Living Word Lutheran Church in Katy, Texas. Pastor Jackson and his family immigrated to the United States in 2001 as refugees from the civil war in Liberia, West Africa, and settled in Hastings, Neb. He attended Carthage College (Kenosha, Wis.) as one of the first Bridges Scholars, a program of Carthage and LSTC. He graduated with a degree in international political economy and sociology. After graduating from LSTC, he received his first call in August 2008 as associate pastor at Living Word Lutheran Church. The congregation “voted overwhelmingly” in 2012 to call him as their senior pastor. Pastor Jackson and his spouse, Annick, have two sons.

The Rev. Nancy Feniuk Nelson (1979, M.Div.), recipient of the Called to Lead Award, has been bishop’s associate in the Sierra Pacific Synod since 2008, where she is the chief of staff. Pastor Feniuk Nelson is the synod’s expert on mobility, candidacy, first call, interim ministry, leadership teams, and conflict resolution. She has served as pastor/evangelist at parishes in Illinois and as an intentional interim minister in California. Pastor Feniuk Nelson has also been an adjunct faculty member at LSTC. Before joining the Sierra Pacific Synod staff she was a redevelopment pastor in Half Moon Bay, Calif., for nine years. She and her spouse, Jim, are the parents of an adult son.

The Rev. Linda Norman (2006, M.Div.), who will receive the Specialized Ministry Award, is the treasurer of the ELCA. She earned degrees in business administration and accounting and worked as a CPA before enrolling in the master of divinity program at LSTC. After she graduated in 2006, she accepted a call at Bethel Lutheran Church in Chicago where she served until 2009. She remains a member of that congregation. Pastor Norman joined the staff of the ELCA churchwide organization in 2006, serving first as controller and then chief financial officer for the ELCA Foundation. In February 2011, she became controller and assistant treasurer for the ELCA.

LSTC’s Annual Alumni Awards
Each year, LSTC’s Alumni Board invites nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Awards and chooses the most outstanding candidates to receive awards in several categories. Past recipients are listed at on LSTC’s website.



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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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