|Dr. Suneel Bhanu|
The annual Hein-Fry Lecture for 2011 on the topic "Hearing the Word: Lutherans Read the Bible with the Ecumenical World," was presented by Dr. Suneel Bhanu, Moderator/Bishop of the largest Lutheran church body in India, The Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church with one-million membership, four thousand congregations and eight hundred and fifty pastors. Dr. Bhanu's spoke on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 11:30 am in Benbow Hall, The Brossman Center on the campus of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia.
About Dr. Bhanu
This year's lecturer, Dr. Suneel Bhanu, was born and brought up in a Christian family in a Muslim neighbourhood. The friendship and piety of the Muslim friends and active involvement as a youth in the diverse activities of the local congregation encouraged him to become a full-time minister and led to his seminary studies. His interest in Islam inspired Suneel to do post graduate studies in theology in the area of Christian-Muslim Dialogue, which he pursued in the Philippines. After the completion of theological studies, his assignment in remote rural villages led Suneel to become sensitive to the caste domination both within and outside the church and the discrimination of outcastes in India. The plight of the Dalits challenged him to further his theological horizons, which resulted in his doctoral studies where he compared the role of religion in the discrimination and liberation of the Outcastes, taking as examples the Dalits in India and the Burakumin in Japan. He is one of the editors of the Dalit Bible Commentary and wrote a commentary on Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. Having taught for about two decades at Gurukul Lutheran Theological College in Chennai, and became the Head of the Church of the largest Lutheran Church in India: The Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church with one-million membership, four thousand congregations and eight hundred and fifty pastors.
Dr. Bhanu and his wife, Grace, one of the first ordained theologically trained women in the Lutheran Communion, have two sons. She also taught History of Christianity along with him at Gurukul.
About the Hein-Fry Lecture Series
The annual Hein-Fry Lecture Series, the premier endowed theological lectureship of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, identifies key theological issues facing the church and offers lectures that stimulate inquiry and discussion of those issues not only at the eight ELCA seminaries but throughout the church.
A publication-quality photo of Dr. Bhanu is available online: photos.ltsp.edu/SuneelBhanu-HeinFry2011.jpg