Rev. Dr. Hollmann is Chair of the Theology Department and Associate Professor of Theology. He also serves as Director of the Stephens Initiative for Service Learning. His teaching and research interests are Christian-Muslim relations, comparative religion, philosophy and the western religions, philosophy of religion, and Christian thought and history. Dr. Hollmann has lectured and taught at universities and seminaries in India, Sudan, Canada, Turkey, Haiti and the Philippines. He has led student-learning-service trips to Nicaragua, the Philippines and Quebec. He also studied at Hangzhou University and the University of Cambridge. He is the author of The Religious Concordance: Nicholas of Cusa and Christian-Muslim Dialogue (Brill, 2017). He is co-editor of Nicholas of Cusa and the Making of the Early Modern World (Brill, 2018). In addition, he has published articles and chapters in books and presented at numerous academic conferences. He is recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Doctoral Research Fellowship and other awards. Rev. Dr. Hollmann pastored a multicultural Lutheran congregation in Montreal, and now serves as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in New York City (Woodside, Queens). He is also Second Vice President of the Atlantic District of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.
Institute’s Schola Director (2019-2021)
Sally Messner is the Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church of South Lyon (Michigan) and is founding musical director of the Elm Ensemble, a liturgical project bringing together professional and amateur musicians with great sacred music to help keep the church in dialogue with diverse voices from Christian history. She earned a Bachelor of Music from Valparaiso University(’02) in Indiana and a Master of Sacred Music from Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Rev. Dr. Brooke Petersen is a pastor, clinical pastoral theologian and licensed professional counselor. Brooke’s currently serves as a psychotherapist at the Spiritual Life Center in Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chicago. Brooke graduated from LSTC in 2006 and served Irving Park Lutheran Church in Chicago. She finished a PhD in Pastoral Theology, Personality and Culture at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in 2017, focusing her research on the experience of religious trauma among queer persons in the church. She teaches as an adjunct faculty person at both McCormick and LSTC, focusing on Mental Illness and Pastoral Theology, Ritual and advanced Pastoral Care. Brooke recently finished a call as the interim pastor at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square. _________________________________________________________________________________________________
Rev. Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld was elected Bishop of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin on May 6, 2018. Prior to her election she served congregations in the Greater Milwaukee Synod and in Beloit, Wisconsin. She currently serves as the co-chair of the Task Force on Women and Justice, ELCA; the Executive Board of the Women of the ELCA; and serves on the South-Central Synod of WI Racial Equity Team. She served for six years on the Board of Trustees (Governance Com vice-chair) of the Mission Investment Fund as well as the ELCA Representative to the Illinois Synod Candidacy Team. Bringing a rich history in community involvement while serving in congregations and on several synodical and churchwide teams, Bishop Thomas-Breitfeld envisions a synod that is a model for welcoming all people to God’s table. Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld is married to the Rev. Fred Thomas-Breitfeld, pastor of Jackson Park Lutheran Church, Milwaukee. They have two adult children, Leota and Sean, two son-in-laws and three grandchildren.
Deaconess Valerie Webdell holds a degree in Piano and Music Education from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Having directed both school and auditioned choirs, from 1995-2003 she was the Artistic Director of the Southlake Children’s Choir in Northwest Indiana. She is a published composer of several pieces of children’s choral literature. As a pianist, she enjoys playing for worship and theatrical productions. She had a private piano studio for children and adults from 2002-2018. Currently, Valerie serves as Co-Director of Education and Formation at the Lutheran Diaconal Association where she helps to train and form women and men as Lutheran Deaconesses and Deacons.
The Very Reverend John Witcombe
John is Dean of Coventry, carrying responsibility for the overall leadership of the Cathedral’s ministry both locally and internationally. Coventry Cathedral is well known for its pioneering work in reconciliation, following its destruction in November 1940. The new Cathedral, consecrated in 1962, is an outstanding example of twentieth century art and architecture, combining the medieval ruins and new building in a narrative journey from destruction to the hope of new life. John, has a background in Practical Theology, and an M. Phil in the atonement theology of Tillich and Rahner, and is passionate about weaving the threads of reconciliation and the arts into a contemporary witness which is offered to all, regardless of faith or background.