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2017 Presler Lecture on Justice and Mission

The Necessity of Lament in a Changing World

Thursday, November 9, 2017
Caldwell Chapel
Louisville Seminary
1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, Kentucky, 40205
11:30 a.m.

The 21st-century world of Christianity is drastically different demographically and sociologically from the previous century. These shifts are changing the perception of the role of Christianity in the world and in the United States. Despite these drastic changes, many American Christians remain vastly uninformed about World Christianity. As the world of Christianity continues to change, the American church, in particular, must recover the lost spiritual practice of lament. The recovery of lament can serve as the healing salve needed to bring greater cultural competency and understanding in a changing world.


Soong-Chan Rah

Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah is Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times (InterVarsity Press 2015); The Next Evangelicalism (InterVarsity Press, 2009); Many Colors (Moody, 2010); and co-author of Return to Justice (Brazos, 2016), and Forgive Us (Zondervan, 2014).

Soong-Chan received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history/sociology from Columbia University, his Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, his Master of Theology degree from Harvard University, his Doctor of Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and his Doctor of Theology from Duke University.

He is the founding and former senior pastor of the Cambridge Community Fellowship Church (CCFC), a multi-ethnic, urban ministry-focused church committed to living out the values of racial reconciliation and social justice in the urban context. He previously served as an InterVarsity staff worker at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Soong-Chan, his wife, Sue, who teaches special education, and their two children, Annah and Elijah, live in Chicago.

The Henry H. and Marion A. Presler Lectureship

The Henry H. and Marion A. Presler Lectureship was established to honor the couple’s missionary service and to inspire the Louisville Seminary community and its wider Continuing Education community about issues of global mission and the role of American denominations in their historical and present witness to mission. The topics of the lectures vary, but the overall theme is Jesus Christ’s commission to the church in Matthew 28:19-20, to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you."

Dr. Henry Presler studied for two years at Louisville Seminary and then transferred to Boston University School of Theology. In his later years, he remembered his formative time at Louisville Seminary and left a bequest for this lectureship. Lecturers have included Dr. Dana L. Robert, leading historian of Christian mission at Boston University School of Theology; Carlos Cardoi-Orlandi, associate professor of world Christianity, Columbia Theological Seminary; Alice Winter, missionary and professor at the Reformed University of Colombia, South America; Frances S. Adeney, William A. Benfield Jr. Professor of Evangelism & Global Mission at Louisville Seminary; and Canon Titus Presler, an Episcopal missiologist, writer, and consultant.

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