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“Mission and Ministry in Multidimension” Theme of 2014 Festival of Theology and Alum Reunion

by Ashley Schaffner | Jan 07, 2014



The goal of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s  2014 Festival of Theology and Alum Reunion is to open minds and encourage critical thought, as themes explored include religious plurality, the theology of mission, the Emerging Church Movement and racial connections to worship music. The 2014 Festival Preacher is Patricia K. Tull, A.B. Rhodes Professor Emerita of Old Testament at Louisville Seminary. The festival and reunion will be held on Louisville Seminary’s campus at 1044 Alta Vista Road, Sunday through Wednesday, April 6-9. 

The alumni reunion will include opportunities for former students to attend Seminary classes, enjoy fellowship and outings together, worship and reacquaint themselves with friends and former classmates. For a full schedule of events, and to register, visit our website.

Excitement on campus and throughout the community is building in anticipation of this year’s lectures.  S. Wesley Ariarajah, professor of Ecumenical Theology at Drew University School of Theology in Madison, N.J., will give two lectures. His Monday, April 7 lecture will be at 9:30 a.m. and is titled: “Beyond the Impasse: Towards a Breakthrough in the Theology of Religion.” Based on his conviction that the answers provided within the Theology of Religions has run into an impasse, Ariarajah calls for a major breakthrough in Christian theological thinking that would help the Church move forward.  The lecture is based on his new volume, Your God, My God, Our God: Rethinking Christian Theology for Religious Plurality (WCC Publications, 2012).

Ariarajah’s second lecture will be Tuesday, April 8, also at 9:30 a.m. This lecture is titled, “Mission Impossible: Can it Again be Made Possible?”

Gerardo Marti, L. Richardson King Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C. will also give two lectures during the festival and reunion. His first will be Monday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m., and is titled: “I Wish I was Black: Race, Music and Worship in Successfully Diverse Churches.” 

Marti’s second lecture will be on Tuesday, April 8 at 2 p.m. and is titled: “The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity.” According to Marti, The Emerging Church Movement (ECM) is one of the most important reframings of religion within Western Christianity. “Emerging Christians share a religious orientation built on a continual practice of deconstruction by religious institutional entrepreneurs,” said Marti.  “Emerging congregations provide settings where pluralism is embraced and where the otherwise isolated self can find meaning and fulfillment through others… In the ways it has responded to modernity, the ECM is remarkably well-adapted to persist, even thrive, as a viable religious alternative in the West.”

“Our festival this year brings together two scholars and teachers with deep care and concern for the church and its future,” said David C. Hester, professor and director of Continuing Education at Louisville Seminary. “They bring multiple angles of vision to questions about Christian theology and worship in multiracial congregations and multireligious neighborhoods. For all of us who are working to reframe how we think and talk and live together in our church's new landscape for ministry, Dr. Ariarajah and Dr. Marti promise to provide us practical wisdom and theological insight."

Ariarajah’s and Marti’s lectures are supported by two annual, endowed lectureships—the Frank H. Caldwell and the Theodore M. Greenhoe lectures. All lectures are free and open to the public, and will be presented in the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel at Louisville Seminary. Click here for a detailed schedule and online registration.

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