Mercersburg Society

Mercersburg Convocation, 2023


Tradition in Crisis

May 22-23, 2023

Lancaster Theological Seminary

In his most recent book, Tradition in Crisis, Peter Schmiechen describes the various crises confronting Centric Protestants—i.e., those reformed by the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the theological and biblical revo- lutions of the twentieth century—and calls for a further reform of Centric Protestantism today by reclaiming Luther’s conviction that the true treasure of the church is Jesus Christ, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of the Beloved Community in America. In other words, he calls for a further reformation of Centric Protestantism based on grace and community. The 2023 Mercersburg Convocation will address various aspects of Peter Schmiechen’s analysis of the tradition in crisis, in order to explore productive ways of creating a future beyond this crisis.

Convocation Schedule

Monday, May 22

  • 9:00: Welcome—Nathan Baxter and Randall Zachman
  • 9:30: Peter Schmiechen: Tradition in Crisis
  • Peter Schmeichen

    Peter Schmiechen taught theology, was Dean at Elmhurst College and President of Lancaster Seminary. His writings deal with atonement, church, the Lord’s Supper and most recently the future of ecumenical Protestants in Tradition in Crisis: The Case for Centric Protestants

  • 10:30: Break
  • 10:45: Prof. Lee Barrett: Helping the World to Hear the Good News by Making It Feel Bad
  • Lee Barrett

    Lee Barrett holds four degrees from Yale University, including a doctorate in Reli- gious Studies, and has been a professor of theology at Lancaster Theological Semi- nary for almost thirty years. His research and teaching interests include Reformed theology, religion and culture, the contemporary significance of theological traditions, and religion and the visual arts. He is the author and editor of several books and articles on Søren Kierkegaard, an influential nineteenth century theologian, and has been the past president of the International Søren Kierkegaard Society.

  • 11:45: Lunch, Pepper Theo
  • 1:30: The Rt. Rev. Nathan Baxter: Centric Protestantism as a Community of Grace Seeking the Beloved Community
  • Nathan Baxter

    The Rt. Reverend Nathan D. Baxter is the retired Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania. Previously, he served as Dean of Lancaster Seminary and Dean of the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. He is presently President of the Mercersburg Society.

  • 2:30: Break
  • 2:45: The Rev. Carrie Call, Ph.D., Whatever Happened to Sin (and Why Do We Avoid Talking About It)?
  • Carrie Call

    The Rev. Carrie Call serves as the Conference Minister for the Penn Central Confer- ence of the United Church of Christ. Originally from Ithaca, NY, she has degrees from Cornell University in Rural Sociology (BS), Development Sociology (MS), and Educational Psychology (PhD), and she holds an MDiv from Colgate Rochester Divinity School.

  • 3:45: Break
  • 4:00 Announcements—Nathan Baxter
  • 6:00: Dinner, Pepper Theo
  • 7:30: Holy Eucharist—The Rev. Dr. Catherine Williams preaching
  • Catherine Williams

    Rev. Dr. Catherine E. Williams is the Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship, and the Director of Chapel Worship at Lancaster Theological Semi- nary. Catherine is a summa cum laude graduate of Westminster Choir College, where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music. She is an alumna of Palmer Theological seminary, where she earned her Master of Divin- ity, and of Princeton Theological Seminary, where she earned her PhD. in Homiletics. Her research interests lie at the intersection of preaching and mu- sic.

Tuesday, May 23

  • 9:00: Morning Prayer
  • 9:30: The Rev. Dr. H. Paul Santmire, Harvesting Forbidden Fruits: The Particular Promise of Luther’s Theology of Nature
  • Paul Santmire

    The Rev. Dr. H. Paul Santmire taught at Wellesley College for thirteen years and served as a parish pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in inner city and metropolitan settings for twenty-three years. Retired since 2000, he is the author of seven books in ecological theology.

  • 10:30: Break
  • 10:45: The Rev. Dr. Anabel Proffitt: This is Not Your Grandfather’s Mercersburg Church
  • Anabel Proffit

    The Rev. Dr. Anabel Proffitt retired from Wisdom’s Table United Church of Christ in Lancaster in January 2022, after serving as co-pastor (and then solo pas- tor) for eight years. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (Ph.D. in Prac- tical Theology with a concentration in Christian Education) and the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (MA Christian Education), she served as a profes- sor of Christian Education at Lancaster Theological Seminary from 1989-2016. While a professor, for 11 years she served as summer pastor of the Childwold Presbyterian Church in the Adirondack region of upstate New York.

  • 12:00: Lunch, Pepper Theo
  • 1:30: Forum with Presenters
  • 2:30: Break
  • 2:45: Reflections on 2023 Convocation, ideas for 2024
  • 3:45: Dismissal with closing prayer (Carrie Call and Ronnette Comfort-Butler)
  • 4:00: Mercersburg Society Board Meeting