Speakers Announced for Braaten-Benne Lectures

The speakers have been announced for the 2021 Carl E. Braaten and Robert D. Benne Lectures in Theology. The annual theological conference, held during Lutheran Week, is August 3-4 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The 2021 Lutheran Week of the North American Lutheran Church will draw our attention to the person of God, the Father. Continuing the six-year cycle focusing on the persons and work of the Holy Trinity, the Braaten-Benne Lecture series and the NALC Mission Convocation will each aspire to point to the nature and being of God the Father, who is creator of heaven and earth!

Nathan Howard Yoder

The Rev. Dr. Nathan Howard Yoder, STS will introduce and frame the theme, giving a history of the doctrine of God the Father. Pastor Yoder is the dean of the Catawba Valley Mission District of the Carolinas Mission Region, serves on the NALC Commission for Theology & Doctrine, and chairs the NALC Braaten-Benne Lectures in Theology.

Paige Hochschild

Dr. Paige Hochschild will be discussing the current trend in religious studies to curtail masculine language in speech about God, as well as the apostolic response to this movement and the need for faithful persistence in addressing God as Father and using complementary language. Dr. Hochschild is a Roman Catholic who serves as the Chair of Theology at Mount St. Mary’s University.

Patrick Henry Reardon

The Very Rev. Patrick Henry Reardon will be speaking on how the gnostic heresy (back then, and right now) is linked implicitly to a rejection of the God of the Old Testament and an apostolic understanding of God the Father. Fr. Reardon is an archpriest of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, author, lecturer, podcaster, and senior editor of Touchstone Magazine: A Journal of Mere Christianity.

Eric Riesen

The Rev. Dr. Eric M. Riesen will be speaking on our address of God as Father as commanded by Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer. Pastor Riesen is the President of the North American Lutheran Seminary and author of The Christian Faith: A Catechism for the Curious.

Amy Schifrin

The Rev. Dr. Amy C. Schifrin, STS will be speaking on how the divine name of YHWH revealed in the Old Testament relates to our understanding of God the Father revealed in Christ – as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – while at the same time speaking in Trinitarian terms. Pastor Schifrin is President Emeritus and Associate Professor of Liturgy and Homiletics for the North American Lutheran Seminary.

Ray Sutton

The Most Rev. Dr. Ray R. Sutton will be speaking on the significance of the title “Abba” in the New Testament to our Trinitarian theology. Bishop Sutton serves as the Presiding Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) and the Ordinary of the Diocese of Mid America. He is also the Dean of the Province and Ecumenical Affairs of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), of which the Reformed Episcopal Church is a founding member and special jurisdiction.

2021 Proposed Constitutional Amendment


2021 Convocation of the North American Lutheran Church

The 2020 Convocation voted to postpone proposed amendments to Article 11, Regional Subdivisions, of the NALC Constitution. The amendments proposed last year would have named Mission Districts as the regional subdivisions.

There was support for naming them as Mission Districts. The reason for postponing consideration of the amendments was to revise the amendments so the Constitution clearly allows for Mission Districts to form mission regions. Several mission regions have already been formed in the NALC.

In light of the reasons for postponing the amendments to Article 11, the Executive Council proposes the following constitutional amendments to the 2021 Convocation:

11.01 Congregations shall join in collaboration as Mission Districts to fulfill most effectively the ministry and mission of the NALC, normally based on common geographic boundaries. Mission Districts may form Mission Regions for more effective ministry and mission as needed. Mission Regions shall have such organizational form and functions as shall be determined by the constituting Mission Districts. Such organization shall be done in consultation with the Bishop and subject to the approval of the Executive Council.

11.02 Each regional group Mission District of congregations shall adopt appropriate governing documents that are consistent with the governing documents and practice of the NALC and shall include election of a Dean, adoption of a budget, and provision for supervision, mutual support of member congregations, and procedures necessary for carrying out its mission and ministry.

11.03 The Deans, who shall be ordained ministers of the NALC, shall be accountable to the Bishop and work with the Bishop by conducting similar functions in their respective areas Mission Districts. Deans shall serve as pastor to ordained ministers, their families, and congregations, and will conduct a ministry of teaching and visitation with ordained ministers and congregations. Deans may continue to serve under the call of a congregation.