Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Exploring questions of Life and Faith: Live Thursday 7 pm

Exploring Series at LTSP
Concerned with the decline in church membership?...

Then join the conversation - Live on campus and Live streamed online - at the inaugural event of the "EXPLORING" series - presented by The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

Exploring questions of Life and Faith:
a conversation with a panel of smart people
who don't go to church

Bishop James HazelwoodFeaturing the Rev. James Hazelwood, Bishop of the ELCA New England Synod

Thursday, April 10, 2014
• 6:30 pm - walk in registration
7:00 pm - program begins
• On campus and Online
  • Live on the LTSP campus or Live-streamed to your computer!
  • Free with registration!
  • Audience participation!
  • Light snacks will be served to the campus audience.
Register online today - click here - or call 215.248.7302

To see the live-streamed event, go to on Thursday, April 10 at 7 pm EDT! Be sure to register for the event, either to attend on campus or online, so you can receive updates and attendee information before the event!

More about Bishop Hazelwood
Bishop on a Bike

The Rev. James Hazelwood was elected bishop of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at the synod's assembly in June 2012. Long time pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Charlestown, MA., he told the South Kingstown Independent in a story after his election that he didn't start out to be a religious leader after college - in fact, he was mostly interested in music and basketball. Born in Concord, MA, Bishop Hazelwood is the first native New Englander and the first parish pastor to serve as bishop of the New England Synod since the ELCA was founded in 1987. His wife, the Rev. Lisa Stoen Hazelwood, serves as senior pastor at St. Andrew.

Bishop Hazelwood explained his interest in advancing the church in the 21st century in an entry on his "Bishop on a Bile" blog written after he was elected. The entry started with part of what he told the assembly before voting was held:

"'...I have a great gig going on in Charlestown at St. Andrew. I am not looking for a new call.'” I meant it, I still mean it. St. Andrew has been the best community of faith, the best laboratory for 21st century mission, the most flexible and willing people I have ever experienced. Why would I want to leave it? “'But, if you,'” I said to the assembly, “'want to go on an adventure or experimentation, of trying to figure out where God is pulling us, and seek to ask questions about what it means to do and be church in New England in this time. That’s a different story.'” Those may not be the exact words I said, but that was the essence of what I said.

"I do not know the workings of the Holy Spirit, but here is my more rational understanding of what happened in Spring-field. Our church in New England, and across North America, is experiencing a seismic shift. Whether it’s declining participation in congregational life, shift in where people go for spiritual understanding, economic dislocation or just plain old general angst, you can easily see these are strange and un-understandable times. I think most everyone in the church, and certainly those at the Assembly in Springfield understood this to be the case. That was one line going through the place on June 8, 9 & 10 [the dates of the assembly]."

He also noted in the entry:

"The other line was my personal autobiography of not having grown up in the faith, living and breathing life as an unchurched kid in the post-Wategate era of the 1970’s in Southern California. My story of baptism at a Lutheran Bible camp, and the understanding I have of how those outside the church think. This was another line going through the Mass Mutual Center [where the synod assembly was held].
"Somehow these two lines intersected at a particular point in time, and/or the Holy Spirit brought them together. If this event had been held any number of years ago, I’m not so sure the results would be the same. In an earlier era, it’s possible I might have been seen as an entertaining fringe candidate. But, the times and the person were brought together.
"Now what?"

You can read more of Bishop Hazelwood's thoughts on the Bishop on a Bike website, and follow him on Facebook.

Don't miss these next events in the "Exploring Series":

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