Lutheran Heritage Lecture to examine border crossing in an age of border walls October 29, 2013

The Rev. Dr. Javier “Jay” Alanis, executive director of the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest (LSPS) will deliver this year’s Lutheran Heritage Lecture, “Lutheran Heritage, Mexican Ancestry and the Future of the ELCA.” The free public lecture will be given on Tuesday, November 19 at 11:30 a.m. in the LSTC Common Room, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago.

Alanis will draw on his own experience as the son of immigrants as he examines crossing borders in our time of border walls. He will talk about how LSPS approaches theological education in our current context of militarized borders.

“Part of the challenge of this issue is the notion of being documented,” Alanis says. “People are conflicted about the legalities and miss the gospel imperative to serve the neighbor. How does the gospel help us bridge the divide? And how can we be pastoral care agents addressing the reality of our militarized border, recognizing that the borderland is no longer just ‘down there,’ but is everywhere?”

“We are delighted that Dr. Alanis can join us to set in motion such a timely and significant conversation for our church,” said James Nieman, president of LSTC. “At this very moment, 17% of the U.S. population is Hispanic, and about two-thirds of this rapidly expanding group are of Mexican background. Jay’s own life and scholarship embodies their story, and we need to learn from him how the Lutheran gift can connect with these neighbors and their current struggles about immigration, labor, and justice.”

The Lutheran Heritage Lecture series is designed to provide a contemporary perspective on the Lutheran tradition.

About Javier R. Alanis

The Rev. Dr. Javier R. Alanis (1998, Th.M.; 2002, Ph.D.), has been executive director of the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest ( since 2010. He is a graduate of LSPS and joined its faculty in 2000 as associate professor of theology, culture and mission.

Alanis’ academic interests include contextual borderland theology, Latino spirituality and the ethics of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King, Jr. His doctoral dissertation focused on the history of the imago Dei (image of God) construct as a venue for welcoming the stranger.

Alanis was born in San Juan, Texas. His mother is the last surviving charter member of St. John Lutheran Church in San Juan, founded by German missionaries in 1925.  He has served as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in San Antonio, Texas, and has chaired the multicultural and anti-racism teams in the Southwestern Texas Synod.

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. In 2013, he received the LSTC Witness to the World Distinguished Alumni Award.

About the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest

LSPS is a joint program of Wartburg Theological Seminary and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago located in Austin, Texas. It is known for its unique cultural and linguistic accent that is her trademark in theological education, preparing leaders through a Theological Education for Emerging Ministries Program (TEEM). Students develop skills and sensitivity to serve the church in the midst of ambiguity, transition and diversity. Its particular areas of emphasis include ethnic specific ministry, inner city and rural ministry, renewal of congregations in decline and innovative mission starts.


Dr. Kurt K. Hendel
Bernard, Fischer, Westberg Distinguished Ministry Professor of Reformation History

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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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