The Board of Directors at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) on April 10 elected the Rev. Gordon J. Straw to fill the Cornelsen Chair for Spiritual Formation as Associate Professor effective July 1, 2017. In addition to teaching courses and working with the entire LSTC community in spiritual formation, Straw will serve as the Coordinator of Candidacy at LSTC.
“We warmly welcome Gordon Straw to the LSTC faculty and eagerly anticipate the many ways that he will enrich the seminary. Gordon is the right person at the right time for LSTC, as together we live into spiritual formation for a Public Church,” said Esther Menn, dean of academic affairs.
“I am thrilled to be elected to the Cornelsen Chair for Spiritual Formation at LSTC. It is a great honor and the fulfillment of my dream to teach and learn alongside those preparing for public ministry in Christ’s Church,” Straw said. “I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the LSTC community. I have been enriched by my own experiences as a student and teacher at LSTC and by the people of the LSTC community for more than 20 years. And I heartily share LSTC’s vision for ministry in a public church and its commitment to sustain the teaching and learning enterprise in community.”
Teacher, pastor and leader across the church
Straw brings a wide range of experience from his ministry in the many expressions of the church. He previously taught at LSTC and the Catholic Theological Union, and in the Diakonia Program of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Since 1990, Straw has served in ELCA Churchwide positions including as Program Director for American Indian and Alaska Native Ministries, Coordinating Director for Ethnic Ministries, as committee staff for the Theological Education Advisory Council, and he currently serves as Program Director for Lay Schools for Ministry and Candidacy Leadership Manager for ELCA Region Eight. He has led a dozen congregations as pastor or interim pastor, served in outdoor and campus ministry, and served on synodical and ecumenical committees and councils. Straw worked with other Native ELCA leaders to develop both the Native American Ministry Emphasis and the Vine Deloria Jr. Symposium at LSTC.
Straw is an enrolled member of the Brothertown Indian Nation, which formed in 1782 as a Christian Indian nation. He has written and lectured on Native American Christian Theology and contemporary issues in Indian Country, as well as on topics in systematic theology and American Lutheran church history.
Straw earned the master of theology degree from LSTC in 1997 and has completed all coursework for a PhD in systematic theology. He holds a master of divinity degree from Luther Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Minnesota-Morris. He is a certified practitioner of the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator®, Steps I and II.
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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.