St. Paul to host fall theological conference

News | September 13, 2018

St. Paul will host church leaders from the Southeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA for the annual Fall Theological Conference, Sept. 23-25. “Leadership and Innovation” is the theme.

From Sunday evening-Tuesday afternoon, clergy will take part in a variety of sessions, including times for worship, speakers, and a gathering for those who are in their first call or new to the synod. The comedy improv group, Guys in Ties, will offer some fun after dinner and music on Sunday evening.

Pastor Sara Olson-Smith is part of the leadership team for the event.

“This conference gives congregational leaders from throughout the synod a chance to learn, and connect, and worship together. Not only do we get to share our space, but we get to show hospitality to people who are doing important work in this world,” she said.

Presenters include:

Michael K. Hurst is pastor-teacher of Elim Christian Fellowship of Des Moines. Elim is a strong supporter of reconciliation among the races, genders, classes, cultures and denominations. He is a 1991 graduate of Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, where he received the master of divinity degree in theology. Elim’s mission is to create worship that touches the heart of God, as a result, the wounded feel welcome and the faithful experience the freedom to have fellowship with Christ.

Louise Johnson serves as president at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Prior to her election in 2015, Johnson was the vice president for mission advancement at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia since 2012 and associate director of admissions from 2006 to 2012. She served as associate director of admissions at Wartburg from 1999 to 2004 and as pastor of Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Spragueville, Iowa, from 2000 to 2004.

Bill Withers has over two decades of management and leadership experience in both business and education. He serves as a professor and Leadership Fellow at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, where he was recently name the “Most Influential Professor” by the college’s student leadership society.


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