St. Olaf College | News

Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community announces spring events

The St. Olaf College Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community will host several events this spring that aim to spark meaningful conversations on faith, vocation, relationships, activism, and community.

Rev. Heidi Neumark

A monthly series of mealtime conversations will feature St. Olaf faculty or staff members responding to the question: “What Nourishes You?” Speakers at each of the events, held March 1 (breakfast), March 21 (lunch), April 20 (breakfast), and May 5 (breakfast) will reflect on the values, core commitments, relationships, faith, and other drivers that sustain them. The sessions are open to St. Olaf faculty and staff. Conversation groups are limited to 10 people, and registration information will be available as the events approach. 

On February 28 and March 3, the Lutheran Center will host two virtual discussions for St. Olaf faculty and staff about this year’s All-Community Read selection: Hidden Inheritance: Family Secrets, Memory, and Faith by Rev. Heidi Neumark. Both conversations will be led by Lutheran Center Director Deanna Thompson ’89 and Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life Rabbi Shosh Dworsky. Registration is required, and participating faculty and staff will receive a free copy of the book and food stipend for lunch. Additional book discussions are scheduled for both students and alumni, parents, congregations and community members interested in joining the All-Community Read.

Steve Hunegs

Neumark will visit St. Olaf on March 15 for an evening panel discussion about Hidden Inheritance with Thompson and Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. The discussion is free and open to the public, and registration is encouraged but not required. The event will also be live streamed. During her time on campus, Neumark will also speak at daily chapel and join a representative from the Jewish Community Relations Council to discuss and offer responses to The Making Known, an exhibition in the Flaten Art Museum that attends to the ethical questions that arise from the Tetlie Collection of World War II Propaganda Posters.

Kathryn Lohre ’99

Also upcoming is the March 8 Lutheran Center Spring Symposium: Luther’s Legacy of Anti-Judaism and Contemporary Jewish-Lutheran Relations. Featuring presenters Rabbi Ryan Dulkin, a visiting assistant professor of religion at St. Olaf, and Kathryn Lohre ‘99, executive for ecumenical and inter-religious relations and theological discernment for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the symposium will delve into the impacts of Martin Luther’s anti-Judaism and explore contemporary Jewish-Lutheran relations. In 1543, Martin Luther published “On the Jews and Their Lies,” an anti-Jewish diatribe filled with hateful and violent language towards Jewish people. As a college affiliated with the ELCA and “nourished by Lutheran tradition,” it is important that St. Olaf names Luther’s anti-Judaism and participates in repairing his legacy of harm against Jewish people. The symposium, which is open to the public, will also be  live-streamed for the public. In-person participants will be able to pick up a to-go lunch at the end of the event. Registration is required to attend in person. 

On March 10, the Lutheran Center will partner with St. Olaf Assistant Professor of Music Tesfa Wondemagegnehu,  conductor of the St. Olaf Chapel Choir and Viking Chorus, and Hamline University to provide 30 tickets and transportation to St. Paul for students, staff, and faculty who want to attend “Let’s Not Go Back To Normal: Racial Reckoning, Repair, and Reconciliation.” The program includes a panel with guests from Wondemagegnehu’s “To Repair” project

Chris Stedman

In April, two events will cap two years of work supported through St. Olaf’s grant from the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE). On March 22, faculty and staff who have been engaged in pedagogical pilot projects through the grant will discuss their work and guide participants through vocational reflection activities at a lunch sponsored by the Center for Innovation in the Liberal Arts (CILA). Registration is open to faculty and staff. On April 28, the Lutheran Center will host a celebration breakfast to mark the end of the grant work, debut St. Olaf’s new vocation definition and video, and share a presentation by Academic Civic Engagement Program Director Alyssa Melby and Assistant Professor of Music Rehanna Kheshgi on the “Engaged Department” process that the grant has supported.  

Writer and interfaith leader Chris Stedman, the author of last year’s All-Community Read selection IRL: Finding Realness, Meaning, and Belonging in Our Digital Lives, will return to St. Olaf on May 10 to speak at daily chapel and in a lunch conversation for the St. Olaf Community. Registration for lunch is open to students, staff, and faculty.