CHICAGO (September 17, 2021) — Some people may hope for a return to normal after the world-changing events of the last 18 months, but sociologists tell us our future will revolve around living into a “new normal.” Presented by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the 2021 Hein-Fry Book of Faith Challenge will probe this new normal. Under the theme “Imagining Scriptural Encounters in the New Normal,” four online presentations by ELCA seminary students will help participants deepen their encounters with Scripture and strengthen their relationships with God in a time of extreme and continuous change.

The annual Hein-Fry Book of Faith Challenge is an endowed theological lecture series that seeks to enliven the biblical engagement of the whole church by encouraging the development of faithful, innovative and effective ways to teach and learn Scripture. The event is sponsored by the seven ELCA seminaries, the Hein-Fry planning team and the ELCA Book of Faith Initiative.

Every year, one student from each seminary is invited to develop and present a class or series for people both familiar and unfamiliar with biblical texts. The students are then invited to report their findings.

This year the challenge will comprise four online events:

•Kaylie H. Ines from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California, will present “Hope Remains: A Creation Care Faith Study” on Wednesday, October 20, at 1:00 p.m. Pacific time.

•Aneel Trivedi from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, will present “Return to Baptism, Return to a New Normal” on Friday, October 22, at 2:00 p.m. Central time.

•Katrina Steingraeber from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago will present “Looking at Today’s World through the Psalms” on Thursday, October 28, at 10:00 a.m. Central time.

•Melissa J. Harris from United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, will present “Environmental Stewardship: Reconsidering the Creation Narratives in the 21st Century” on Friday, October 29, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time.

The Rev. Dr. Diane Jacobson will serve as online host.

The public is invited to attend these free online events, but registration is required for each of them. Registration information is available here.

The Hein-Fry Book of Faith Challenge was established after the American Lutheran Church (ALC) and the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) merged into the ELCA in 1988. The series combines the ALC’s Dr. Carl Christian Hein Memorial Seminary Lectures and the LCA’s Franklin Clark Fry Theological Lectures.