Dr. Hess is one of five scholars affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) invited to present lectures on this year's topic based on their particular perspectives and scholarship. The lecture will explore Lutheran perspectives on biblical pedagogy, using both theory and practical examples, and making a case for the promise of one, some, or even all of these approaches to teaching the Bible.
This year's theme, "Hearing the Word: Teaching the Bible in the Parish and Beyond," was chosen in order to explore the important conversations throughout the ELCA concerning the various ways Lutheran communities in diverse North American contexts are sharing the biblical narratives, truths, and messages of the gospel through their teaching ministries. The hope for these presentations is that they will raise awareness about the many ways the Lutheran churches have traditionally taught the Bible as well as offer innovative contemporary approaches to teaching the Bible that Lutherans might use today.
Mary Hess joined the Luther Seminary faculty in July of 2000. Hess received her BA degree in American Studies in 1985 from Yale University in New Haven, Conn. She received her MTS degree in 1992 from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. In 1998, she received her PhD in religion and education from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Dr. Hess' most recent professional experience includes serving on the editorial board of the premier journal in her field, Religious Education (1999-present), working with the Lexington Seminar and the Wabash Center, and serving as a core member of the International Study Commission on Media, Religion and Culture. She is a member of the Religious Education Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the Catholic Theological Society of America.
Her most recent publications include the books Teaching Reflectively in Theological Contexts: Promises and contradictions (Melbourne, FL: Krieger, 2008), and Engaging technology in theological education: All that we can't leave behind, (New York: Rowman Littlefield 2005). She maintains her own website and has written her weblog, Tensegrities, since 2003.
About the Hein-Fry Lecture Series:
The annual Hein-Fry Lecture Series identifies lively, pressing theological issues facing the church and offers free and open to the public lectures that stimulate intellectual inquiry and discussion of those issues throughout the church.
The goals of the endowed series are to:
- foster original scholarship,
- encourage broad dialogue throughout the church on a theological topic, and
- give seminary faculty, students, clergy, church leaders, and other interested persons access to leading theologians.
The Hein Seminary Lectures were held each year at the four seminaries of the American Lutheran Church. The Fry Lectures continue and expand on the series known as Knubel-Miller-Greever Lectures, which were held at various seminaries and other locations in the Lutheran Church in America.
The Hein-Fry Lecture Series is unique in that it addresses all the seminary communities within a major American denomination. This gives the Series great potential for engaging both the current theological leadership and a generation of ministerial candidates in discussion of a focused theological issue.
The series is coordinated by the Vocation and Education unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Lecture topics, speakers, and schedules are set by Hein-Fry Lecture Series Governing Committee.