Synod Assembly Presenters & Guests



Presenter/Bible Study Leader

The Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing
Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

Ordained in 1982, she served as pastor of a congregation in Minnesota, director for Global Mission Interpretation for the American Lutheran Church, pastor at Holden Village Retreat Center, Chelan, Wash., and chaplain at Harvard University Divinity School.

Rossing has lectured and preached widely, including synod assemblies and global mission events for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), as well as ecumenical theological conferences. She has served on the executive committee and council of the Lutheran World Federation (2003-2010), and chaired the Lutheran World Federation’s theology and studies committee.

Her publications include The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation (Basic Books, 2004), a critique of fundamentalist “Left Behind” theology; The Choice Between Two Cities: Whore, Bride and Empire in the Apocalypse (Trinity Press, 1999); two volumes of the New Proclamation commentary for preachers (Fortress Press, 2000 and 2004) and articles and book chapters on the Apocalypse nd ecology.

An avid environmentalist, Rossing is involved with environmental initiatives at the seminary. Rossing received the bachelor of arts degree from Carleton College, Northfield, Minn., the master of divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School and the doctor of theology degree from Harvard University.


ELCA Churchwide Representative

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Bouman
Executive Director Congregational and Synodical Mission

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Paul Bouman, currently serves as the Executive Director of the Congregational and Synodical Mission unit.  Pastor Bouman began his ministry in the churchwide organization when he was called to the position of Executive Director for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission unit in February 2008.

He previously served as bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod from September 1996 through January 2008.  The Metropolitan New York Synod embraces the five boroughs ofNew York City,Long Island, and several counties north and west.  It includes 236 member congregations, and worships in over 20 languages.

Pastor Bouman was born in Melrose Park ,Illinois on April 14, 1947.  He graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary/Seminex in 1973.  He received his Master of Sacred Theology from New York Theological Seminary in 1978 and his Doctor of Ministry degree in 1980, an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in 2001, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Wagner College in 2008.

He began his pastoral ministry in 1973 at St. Jacobus Lutheran Church, Woodside, Queens.  He then pastored Atonement Lutheran Church, Jackson Heights, from 1974 until 1981; and Trinity Lutheran Church, Bogota, New Jersey from 1982 through 1992.  He is founder of the Diakonia ministry education program, which trains lay people for ministry in local congregations. His parish ministry also included building strong multicultural outreach, the launching of two parochial schools, leadership in several church based community organizations, and a variety of ministries of assistance and advocacy among the poor.

Pastor Bouman served as Assistant to the Bishop from 1992 until his election as bishop in 1996.  He also served as Chair of the ELCA Board of Higher Education and Schools, and as a Trustee for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and Wagne College in New York City.  He currently serves on the board of Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministries in Chicago, Illinois.

Pastor Bouman is a published author of a number of scholarly articles, books, curricula and devotionals.  Two recent books are They Are Us: Lutherans and Immigration, co-authored with Ralston Deffenbaugh, published in 2009 and Grace All Around Us (an account of ministry in the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks) published in 2007.

He is married to the former Janet Luce, and they have three grown children and three grandchildren.  They reside in Chicago.



The Rev. Dr. Margot Kässmann
Special Envoy of the Evangelical Church in Germany
for the Reformation Anniversary Celebration 2017

Margot  Käßmann (Kassmann), born 1958, studied Theology at Tuebingen, Edinburgh, Goettingen and Marburg. She was ordained in 1985 and finished her doctoral studies in 1989 at Ruhr-University in Bochum.

After her work as a pastor and  later as secretary general of the German Protestant Church Congress, the mother of four was Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover from 1999 until 2010.  In  2002,  she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Hanover and in 2009, the German Federal Republic Cross of Merit.

From 2009 until 2010, she served as Chairperson of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). Between August and December 2010, she accepted an appointment as a visiting professor at Emory-University in Atlanta (USA).

In 2011-2012, she taught and undertook research as a guest professor for ecumenical studies and social ethics at the Ruhr-University Bochum (Max Imdahl guest professorship).  Since April 2012, she has served as Special Envoy of the Evangelical Church in Germany for the Reformation Anniversary Celebration 2017.

For an April 30 News Release from LSTC, click READ MORE.



The Rev. Joseph Chu
Associate Program Director of Lutheran Disaster Response, ELCA

Ordained in 1990, he has served various congregations in Illinois and California. Between 2004 and 2009, Pr. Chu served as the Program Director for Asia and the Pacific at ELCA’s Global Mission Unit. Before that, he was the Director of Fundraising and Marketing for a social service agency serving people with development disability in the San Fernando Valley, CA. In addition, he has been a teacher and a social worker. Joe is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, CA, and Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA. He also holds the degree of Master of Pacific and International Affairs from the University of California, San Diego. Joe and his wife Elizabeth have two teen-aged children, Jaina, 16, and Isaiah, 14.



Guest (tentative)

Pr. Bradn Buerkle
Pastor at Evangelical Lutheran Mission of Lower Saxony (ELM)

The Rev. Bradn Buerkle, a mission worker from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has served in Russia since 2001. His first year was spent in Velikij Novgorod, a historic city approximately 200 km southeast of St. Petersburg; there, he served as the vicar of St. Nikolai Lutheran Church. Bradn retained pastoral responsibilities in this small congregation for approximately two years time and, in the spring of 2003, took on teaching responsibilities at the Theological Seminary in Novosaratovka. Bradn is currently responsible for classes in Church History and Christian Ethics at the Seminary.

Bradn, a native of Plevna, MT, U.S.A., holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (summa cum laude) from St. Olaf College, in Northfield, MN, where he graduated in 1998 with majors in Russian, Russian Studies, and English literature. He is a 2002 graduate of the Master of Divinity program at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, California. Bradn’s academic interest is Russian religious philosophy of the late 19th/early 20th century (generally), and, particularly, the ethical implications of Sophiology as developed in the works of the Eastern Orthodox thinkers Fr. Pavel Florensky and Fr. Sergei Bulgakov.


Musician/Worship Coordinator

Mr. Rick Deasley, Director of Worship Life / Organist
Atonement Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kan. 

Rick is Director of Worship Life and Organist at Atonement Lutheran Church, Overland Park, Kansas. He has served Lutheran congregations in the Kansas City area as music director since 1986.

He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, where he studied organ with John Ditto and John Obetz and composition with Gerald Kemner. His organ compositions are published by MorningStar Music Publishers and Lillenas Publishing Co. Rick is a past dean of the Greater Kansas City chapter of the American Guild of Organists, was Associate Director of the American Institute of Musicology (1993-2001), and served as managing editor of Sacred Music News & Review from 1997-2001. Since 1993, he has traveled extensively to church music conferences across the United States, including three National Conventions of the AGO, presenting seminars on church music software. Active in KC area recording studios, he has been involved in dozens of CD projects, including producing, performing, and CD art/design.