Five graduates of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and its predecessor institutions will receive Distinguished Alumni/ae Awards at LSTC's Leadership Conference, "Perfect Potential: Seeking Excellence in Ministry," February 11, 2008. Dr. Vine Deloria, the Rev. Roger Gieschen, the Rev. Dr. Ronald Johnson, the Rev. Jennifer Thomas, and the Rev. Dr. Maxine Washington will be honored for their visionary leadership and faithful service to the Gospel. Awards will be presented during the Alumni Banquet which begins at 6 p.m. that evening. Tickets for the banquet are $25 per person.
"The Alumni/ae Board of LSTC is pleased to honor these five outstanding awardees for their dedication to mission and ministry in the 21st century and to their seminary, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago," said Pastor David Abrahamson, president of the LSTC Alumni/ae Board.
The Peace and Justice Award will be awarded posthumously to Vine Deloria, Jr., a widely-known Native American theologian, teacher and activist. He earned a master of theology degree at Augustana Seminary, Rock Island in 1963 and a J.D. from the University of Colorado. Deloria's more than 20 books on Native American history, cultural identity, and theology include Custer Died for Your Sins and God is Red. A recognized leader in many Native American organizations, Deloria also taught at the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado at Boulder. After his retirement in 2000, he continued to write and lecture until his death in November 2005.
The Rev. Roger Gieschen will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement in Church Leadership Award. He received his master of divinity from Central Seminary and was ordained in 1958. He then developed and led several congregations, drawing on his passion for outreach and evangelism. For five years Gieschen served in the Lutheran Church in America's Division for Ministry, and then was elected president of the Central States Synod, where he served from 1978-88. In his retirement, he serves on the board of Baptist Trinity Lutheran Legacy Foundation, a community health organization, and is active in the ministry of his congregation in Kansas City, Mo.
The Rev. Ronald Johnson will receive the Distinguished Service in Parish Ministry Award. Johnson graduated from Augustana Seminary, Rock Island in 1963. In his more than four decades of ministry, he served as Secretary to the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania and led congregations in Chicago and south Minneapolis. His ministry was characterized by compassionate pastoral care, creativity, solid scholarship and a concern for the poor and oppressed. He encouraged his congregations to engage theological issues and to reach out to their local and global communities. Johnson has been recognized by other organizations for leadership in service, ministry and stewardship.
The Rev. Jennifer Thomas will be honored with the First Decade Award for excellence in ministry following her graduation from LSTC in 1998. In her first call, she co-pastored Lake Park Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, where she was very active in the community, synod, and larger church. There Thomas chaired the MICAH clergy caucus, a community organizing entity which works for immigrant civil rights. She is a member of the ELCA Church Council, and was recently installed as senior pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kansas City, Mo.
The Rev. Dr. Maxine Washington, class of 1986, will receive the Faithful Servant Award, in recognition of her faithful witness for justice in pastoral ministry. She currently pastors Bethel West in Chicago, a growing congregation very active in community and social justice ministries. Washington serves on the board of directors of Bethel New Life, heads the Lighthouse Partnership revival week, and is active in CeaseFire, an anti-violence movement in Chicago. She also served on the liturgy sub-committee for the African-American Lutheran hymnal This Far by Faith.
Leadership conference registration, schedule and information are available on LSTC's website at the 2008 Leadership Conference.
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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.