The Chapel of the Resurrection will welcome four notable guest preachers for the 2018-19 Walter Wangerin Jr. Celebration of Excellence in Preaching Series. The series is Core Lab approved.

The first preacher of the year is The Rev. Pamela R. Fickenscher, Senior Pastor, St John Lutheran Church, Northfield, Minn., on Oct. 21. Services begin at 10 a.m., with Deaconess Kristin Lewis, Interim Campus Minister, serving as worship leader. A lunch-time discussion with Rev. Fickenscher will follow in the Helge Center Multipurpose Room. All students are invited to participate.

Rev. Fickenscher has served as an ordained parish pastor in the ELCA since 1997. She is a 1990 graduate of Valparaiso University, where she was a Christ College scholar and German major. She received her M.Div. from Vanderbilt Divinity School, where she was the Founder’s Medalist, in 1994. She has done additional theological study at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley and at the Center for Theological Inquiry at Princeton. In 1997 she was the founding pastor of Spirit Garage, one of the first “emergent” church start-ups designed to reach younger generations. She served Edina Community Lutheran Church from 2002-2013, and now serves as Senior Pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minnesota. She has written numerous essays and worship resources through Augsburg Fortress Publishers and was the 2000 ELCA Youth Gathering preacher. She lives with her husband and two teenage children, and enjoys distance running and Nordic skiing marathons in her spare time.

The Rev. William Yonker, senior pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS), East Dundee, IL, will be the second preacher in the series for this fall on Nov. 11. Pastor James A. Wetzstein will preside at the 10 a.m. service.

Recently named one of Valpo’s 150 most influential alumni, Pastor Bill Yonker spends three to four weeks each summer speaking at different Christian camps and resorts. He also travels around the country between 18 to 20 weekends a year speaking at Christian conferences, retreats, high schools, middle schools and college campuses. This past year took him to Denmark to keynote speak at an international Christian young persons’ gathering. Before serving in suburban Illinois, Rev. Yonker served as pastor in several inner city ministries including Berea Lutheran Church in Detroit, Mich., and Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Chicago.

Pastor Yonker is an avid coffee drinker, lover of stories and storytelling, voracious reader, ardent fan of the Green Bay Packers and is enthralled with Frank Sinatra music and ’60s bubblegum music. He is married to Joanne, and is father to Becca, Abby and Josh (a Valpo senior).

A lunch-time discussion with Rev. Yonker will follow in the Helge Center Multipurpose Room on Nov. 11. All students are invited to participate.

Additional information about the remaining two Wangerin Series preachers for spring 2019 will be announced soon.

The Wangerin Preaching Series was launched seven years ago to bring notable clergy to preach at Valpo’s Chapel of the Resurrection.


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