Fall Theological Conference

Fall Theological Conference:

October 14, 2020, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Conference will take place on line via Zoom

Articulating Theology: God, Words, and Us.

(Additional discussion opportunities
October 15 at 10:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.)


Theology is the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; the study of God, and of God's relation to the world.  And in our “study” of God and God’s relation to the world, the words we use to articulate our understanding of God have a profound impact on our faith, practice, and experience of God and of ourselves.  In other words, not only does our theology matter but how we articulate that theology matters. 


At the 2019 churchwide assembly, this church adopted a social statement on Faith, Sexism, and Justice:  A Call to Action.  That statement called upon us to use “gender-inclusive and expansive language for God,” recognizing how our use of language can contribute to the sin of patriarchy and sexism.  While words do indeed have the power to diminish and divide, they also have the ability to give hope and call us to actions that promote justice. 


This conference is designed to help us identify our own feelings and understandings of inclusive and expansive language for God as well as connect the language we use for God with our Lutheran theology.  In these days when so many “words” bombard us through tweets, social media posts, and signs on the streets of our community, what words will we use to articulate a theology of grace and the abundant promises of God? 



Dr. Mary Streufert

Director of Justice for Women in the ELCA

Dr. Mary J. Streufert serves as Director for Justice for Women in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Teaching and facilitating widely, she works to empower a variety of leaders to think and act theologically for gender justice from an intersectional perspective. She co-directed the seven-year process to develop the ELCA’s social statement Faith, Sexism, and Justice: A Call to Action (2019), which shapes teaching, programming, and policies within the church. She also guided the development of the ELCA’s social message on gender-based violence (2015).

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Dr. Kris Kvam

Professor, St. Paul School of Theology, Kansas City

Dr. Kristen E. Kvam is Professor of Theology at Saint Paul School of Theology in Greater Kansas City and Oklahoma City, she also teaches courses in the fields of Engaging World Religions and Women, Society, and Church studies. Scriptural interpretation, Christian doctrine, and Luther studies form primary concerns of her scholarship. She is Co-editor of Eve and Adam: An Anthology of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Readings on Genesis and Gender, Kris recently wrote commentaries on Luther’s text addressed to women who knew tragedy in childbearing and on Luther’s “Preface to the Psalter” for The Annotated Luther series.

(Read More)


  • 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Opening Worship

  • 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Plenary 1 Articulating Theology:  God, Words, and Us

    • Orienting exploration and discussion

    • Biological Sex:  A History Account

    • Language Matters:  Words and Us

  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Plenary 2 Articulating Theology:  Lutheran Hermeneutics and God Language

    • Reformation Themes and God Language

    • Translation and God Language

    • Dialogue, Practical Concerns, and in Conclusion

  • 4:00 p.m.  – 4:30 p.m.  – Closing Worship and invitation to join additional discussion opportunities on Thursday


Format will include:

  • Large group presentations

  • Small group discussion
    (prior to the first small group of the day, individuals will be given time to respond to a brief questionnaire day for self-reflection)

  • Breaks

  • Time for questions and answers


Additional Discussion Opportunities:

Following this full day of presentations and information, you are encouraged to join discussion groups the following day, Thursday, October 15 at 10:00 a.m. and/or 2:00 p.m. to debrief and process what you have learned. No registration for these discussions is necessary. You may choose one or two that you feel would be most helpful to deepen your learning. These will be one-hour discussion group facilitated by synod staff.

  1. Women in Ministry (10:00 a.m.) – what is our role; how do we experience ministry

  2. Non-binary gender understandings (2:00 p.m.) – how does this relate to our image of God, to how we preach, teach, etc

  3. Introducing the social statement & inviting dialog in our congregations/ministry settings (10:00 a.m.) – challenges and opportunities

  4. Worship (2:00 p.m.) – how do we develop worship service that expand the understanding of God and one another. 


Once you have registered, you will receive

  • The zoom link to join the conference – while there will be breaks throughout the day, you are encouraged to stay logged in through the whole day

  • The link to download the social statement Faith, Sexism, and Justice:  A Call to Action. Every participant should read this document prior to the conference.

  • Questions for self-reflection – you are asked to print this off and have it ready to fill out at the beginning of the conference

  • A covenant that will guide our conversation with one another throughout the two days

  • The zoom links to the additional discussion times on Thursday, October 15 at 10:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.