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lenten speaker series

St. Luke's 2017 Lenten Speaker Series:

March 5 through April 9 !

St. Luke’s Lenten Speaker Series 2017 was a great success! Stimulating presentations and conversations related to current events and issues near and dear to our hearts were enjoyed by all who attended. Our featured speakers were worldclass experts and renowned in their respective fields. A BIG THANKS to all who presented and attended. Speakers 1 through 4 are pictured in the photo rotation to the right.

Lent 1 - Sunday - March 5: 9 a.m. in Dade Hall

How Evangelicals Elected Donald Trump President—Hypocrisy, Halleluiah or Both?

with The Reverend Dr. James L. McDonald, Forum Speaker & Preacher President and Professor of Faith and Public Life, San Francisco Theological Seminary (Presbyterian)

Dr. McDonald will explore the roots of Protestant evangelicalism and the confluence of events, both culturally and theologically, that led to a thrice-married, seemingly irreligious man to be swept into office by white Evangelicals.

Inaugurated in 2012, Dr. McDonald became SFTS’s 11th president. For 13 years prior to his tenure at SFTS, McDonald, an ordained Presbyterian minister, worked for Bread for the World, a faith-based advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., that advocates for national legislators to end hunger. With a Ph.D. in international relations from American University, he led efforts to secure debt relief for the world’s poorest countries. After receiving Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees from Princeton University and Union Theological Seminary in New York, respectively, McDonald worked in pastoral ministry for 15 years. He was associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Indiana, and then served Tabernacle United Church in Philadelphia from 1980-1990. He was an adjunct faculty member at American and George Washington Universities for nearly a decade, teaching courses on world politics, foreign policy and Latin America.

Lent 2 – Sunday - March 12: 9 a.m. in Dade Hall

"Being Muslim in President Trump’s America"

with Ms. Ameena Jandali, Islamic Networks Group

Ameena Jandali, a Muslim, is a founding member of the Islamic Networks Group (ING). The mission of ING is to counter prejudice and discrimination against American Muslims by teaching about their traditions and contributions in the context of America’s history and cultural diversity, while building relations between American Muslims and other groups. ING emphasizes the importance of countering all forms of bigotry while working within the framework of the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom and pluralism.

Jandali co-designs and develops ING’s educational presentations and cultural competency seminars. She has delivered hundreds of presentations in schools, colleges, universities, churches, and other venues on Islam and related subjects. Jandali is a frequent guest on many news outlets speaking on issues relating to American Muslims; she most recently spoke at the San Francisco Women’s March in January. She currently team teaches a class on Islam at San Francisco City College. Jandali received her M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and B.A. in History from the University of Illinois.

Lent 3 - Sunday - March 19: 9 a.m. in Dade Hall

"Embracing the Gift of Discernment in Anxious Times" with The Reverend Kevin O’Brien, S.J., Dean and University Professor, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

Midway through Lent is a good time to recalibrate one’s Lenten discipline and/or focus on one’s discernment of faith and spirituality in preparation for Holy Week and Easter. It is through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola that Father O’Brien will help us navigate our response to life both personal and public.

Father O’Brien joined Santa Clara University after serving eight years at Georgetown University, first as Executive Director of Campus Ministry and then as Vice President for Mission and Ministry. He also lectured in Georgetown's Department of Theology, in the area of ecclesiology. He is a published scholar in the area of Jesuit history and spirituality and Jesuit higher education. In 2011, Loyola Press published his award-winning book, The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Daily Life.

Father O’Brien graduated from Georgetown in 1988 with a degree in government. He then returned to his native state of Florida to attend law school at the University of Florida, where he served as an editor on the Florida Law Review. After practicing corporate litigation for two years, Fr. O’Brien taught social studies at Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach, Fla. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1996. In the course of his ten-year formation as a Jesuit, Fr. O’Brien earned a Master's degree in Philosophy from Fordham University, a Master of Divinity and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology at Boston College.

Lent 4 – Sunday - March 26: 9 a.m. in Dade Hall

“Now We are Going Up to Jerusalem” with The Reverend Canon Mark Stanger, Canon for Formation, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco

Canon Mark Stanger has traveled to Jerusalem 15 times since seminary days, most recently serving for two and a half years as the Diocesan and Cathedral Missioner to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. He will be with us to share the story of today’s Christians in the Holy Land, his first-hand knowledge of Middle East politics, and the possibility of joining him on pilgrimage in 2018. He asks that you come with your questions!

Canon Stanger was formed in the Roman Catholic tradition; he was a member of the Benedictine Community of St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota for 14 years. He completed his advanced studies in early Christian literature at the Augustinianum Patristic Institute in Rome. After leaving the monastery at age 35, he wandered in the wilderness far from church life with employment at a modern art museum in Minneapolis and at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. In 1988 a friend brought him to the Church of the Advent and Christ the King in S.F. where he became an Episcopalian. Canon Stanger taught and led retreats at the School for Deacons and began serving at Grace Cathedral in 1997. Presently, he is the Canon for Formation and jack of all ministerial trades. A note of historical interest, during his time of discernment for being accepted as a priest in the Episcopal Church, the Commission on Ministry of DioCal sent him to serve at St. Luke’s during an interim period guided by the late Reverend Cal Rutherford.

Lent 5 – Sunday - April 2: 9 a.m. in Dade Hall

"Miracle Messages: Because Everyone is Someone’s Somebody" with Mr. Kevin F. Adler, Founder and CEO, Miracle Messages

Miracle Messages are short video messages from people experiencing homelessness to their long-lost loved ones, recorded and delivered by volunteers. To date, 40% of reunions have led to stable housing. Miracle Messages has been featured in The New York Times, NPR, and NowThis, whose video reached 25M views and 350K shares. Founder Kevin F. Adler started Miracle Messages in honor of his Uncle Mark, who lived on-and-off the streets for 30 years. Its goal is to reunite 1 million people by 2021.

Adler is a TED Talk Resident and co-founded three “ed-tech” startups: (fundraising platform for under-served schools, acquired in 2013), Entangled Ventures (EdTech incubator), and BetterGrads (online mentoring nonprofit). From 2010-11, Adler served as an Ambassador of Goodwill in Oaxaca, Mexico, for Rotary International. He is also the author of the ground-breaking book, Natural Disasters as a Catalyst for Social Capital (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), which investigates how shared traumas can bring people together. His writing has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, TechCrunch, The New York Times, Cedar Rapids Gazette, International Educator, Huffington Post, and two peer-reviewed volumes. Adler has lectured at Stanford University, Microsoft, the WEF's Global Shapers, Singularity University, and Zappos.

Kevin holds a Masters in Philosophy (Sociology) from Cambridge University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from Occidental College. In 2015, he was one of 80 people selected from 5000 applicants to attend Singularity University's Global Solutions Program at NASA Ames, where he studied how exponential technologies can solve humanity’s grand challenges.

Lent 6 – Sunday - April 9: 9 a.m. in Dade Hall

“When you study others carefully you reduce heat and extend light”, with Ms. Arlie Russell Hochschild,

Professor Emerita of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

The candidacy and election of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for President has millions of Americans—politicians, journalists, and ordinary citizens alike—racing to play catchup to better understand not only his appeal, but the hearts and minds of those who support him.

Sociologist and bestselling author Arlie Russell Hochschild is way ahead of the curve. For the past decade, from her home in Berkeley, Hochschild became increasingly curious about “red” America. She wondered: why do the people in poor red states who would seem to benefit most from liberal government intervention abhor the very idea? Why do so many on the political right vote against what seems to be their self-interest? How do those on the right understand their self-interest and how does Trump appeal to it? Do the usual liberal explanations—economics, race—tell the whole story? Over the last five years, Hochschild “embedded” herself in Lake Charles, Louisiana, about as red a place as you can find. She attended fish fries, gumbo cook-offs, Pentecostal church services, and Trump rallies, and had long conversations over card games and cookies with people whose political beliefs differed greatly from her own. Ultimately she accumulated 4,690 pages of transcripts based on interviews with more than 60 people. Strangers in Their Own Land is a New York Times bestseller, and it was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award.

Hochschild is one of the most influential sociologists of her generation. She is the author of nine books, including The Second Shift, The Time Bind, The Managed Heart, and The Outsourced Self. Three of her books have been named as New York Times Notable Books of the Year and her work appears in sixteen languages. The winner of the Ulysses Medal and five honorary degrees as well as Guggenheim and Mellon grants, she lives in Berkeley, California.

Thanks for your interest in attending St. Luke's 2017 Lenten Speaker Series !!

Some History regarding St. Luke's Lenten Speaker Series:

St. Luke's Lenten Speaker Series Concluded its Fifth Year on March 20th, 2016. The 2016 St. Luke's Lenten Speaker Series started on the First Sunday of Lent, February 14 - and the final session was on Palm Sunday, March 20. Attendees were treated to a wide array of interesting speakers from the civic, arts, academic, medical and religious sectors of San Francisco. A BIG THANKS to all who attended, presented and helped make our 2016 Lenten Speaker Series a success !!

On March 20th, Palm Sunday, at 9 AM in Dade Hall our final distinguished guest speaker in the series was Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. (pictured), His topic: "God, Grace, Gratitude and the Gospel".

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis where he has taught since 1988. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign. He is the author of nearly 200 original publications in peerreviewed journals or chapters and has written or edited six books, including The Psychology of Ultimate Concerns (Guilford Press), The Psychology of Gratitude (Oxford University Press), Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier (Houghton-Mifflin), Gratitude Works! A Twenty-One Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity (Jossey-Bass) and the forthcoming Little Book of Gratitude (Hachette). A leader in the positive psychology movement, Dr. Emmons is founding editor and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology. He is Past-President of the American Psychological Association’s Division 36, The Psychology of Religion. His research focuses on the psychology of gratitude and thankfulness in both adults and youth, and also include the psychology and spirituality of joy and grace as they relate to human flourishing. Dr. Emmons has received research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the John M. Templeton Foundation, and the National Institute for Disability Research and Rehabilitation. His research has been featured in dozens of popular media outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, Time, NPR, PBS, Consumer Reports, Reader’s Digest, Wall Street Journal, and the Today Show.


2016 Highlights / Distinguished Guest Speakers:

The 2016 Lenten Speaker Series started on February 14th with featured speaker, The Rev. Dr. John Kater, and his topic: COMMUNION AND CONFLICT: WHY ARE ANGLICANS ARGUING AND DO WE HAVE A FUTURE TOGETHER?

The Rev. John Kater is a graduate of Columbia University, the General Theological Seminary, and holds a Ph. D. from McGill University in Montreal. He served as rector of Christ Church in Poughkeepsie, NY for ten years and taught at Vassar College. He was Education Officer in the diocese of Panama from 1984 to 1990, and for 25 years has taught Anglican Studies at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, where he is now Professor Emeritus of Ministry Development. He has lectured widely around the Anglican Communion, was a consultant at the 1998 Lambeth Conference, taught in Brazil and Korea, and serves yearly as Visiting Professor at Ming Hua Theological College in Hong Kong.


Our Second distinguished guest speaker in the Lenten Series was Dr. Victoria Sweet on Sunday, February 21st.

San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital is the last almshouse in the country, a descendant of the Hôtel-Dieu (God’s Hotel) that cared for the sick in the Middle Ages.

Ballet dancers and rock musicians, professors and thieves — “anyone who had fallen, or, often, leapt, onto hard times” and needed extended medical care — ended up there.

Dr. Sweet ended up there herself, as a physician. And though she came for only a two-month stay, she remained for twenty years. Dr. Sweet is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a prize-winning historian with a Ph.D. in history. She practiced medicine for 20 years at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, where she began writing. In her book, God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine, she lays out her evidence—in stories of her patients and her hospital—for some radically new ideas about medicine and healthcare in this country. In our attempts to get control of healthcare costs by privileging “efficiency,” she suggests, we’ve been headed down the wrong path. Medicine works best—that is, arrives at the right diagnosis and the right treatment for the least amount of money—when it is personal and face-to-face; when the doctor has enough time to do a good job, and pays attention not only to the patient but to what’s around the patient. Dr. Sweet calls this approach Slow Medicine, and she believes that, put into wider practice, it would be not only more satisfying and beneficial for patient and doctor, but also less expensive for everyone. The New York Times calls her ideas “hard-core subversion”; Vanity Fair judges the book to be a “radical and compassionate alternative to modern healthcare,” and Health Affairs describes Dr. Sweet as a “visionary” and “subversive in all the best ways.” She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2014) for her next project, tentatively entitled, Slow Medicine, Fast Medicine: Healing in an Age of Technology.

Dr. Sweet speaks frequently to medical professionals and the public about Slow Medicine and related topics, and we were pleased to have her with us on February 21st. Click this link to view her TEDx talk:


Our third speaker in the series was The Hon. Charles R. Breyer, United States District Court, Northern District of California, who spoke on February 28th about "The Moral Imperatives of Criminal Sentencing Reform". Judge Breyer received his AB in 1963 from Harvard College and his JD in 1966 from UC Berkeley School of Law. Upon graduation from law school, he clerked for Oliver J. Carter, chief judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. He then served as an assistant district attorney in San Francisco until 1973, when he was appointed assistant special prosecutor, Watergate Special Prosecution Force. He entered private practice in 1974, specializing in the defense of white-collar criminal cases. He was appointed to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in 1997 by President Clinton. In 2011, he was appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to serve on the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation; and, in 2012, President Obama (with the consent of the Senate) appointed Judge Breyer to serve as Vice Chairman of the United States Sentencing Commission. Since 1997, Judge Breyer has advised the governments of Egypt, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine on criminal justice and civil case management issues.


Our fourth session in the 2016 Speaker Series was held on Sunday, March 6. The featured guest speaker, Mr. Travis Stevens, is a St. Luke's choir member and doctoral candidate in the history of Christianity at Harvard University. Travis spoke about "Praying with the Mystics: an Invitation for Lenten Practice", which focused on ways to enrich our spiritual life this Lenten season, and the history and practice of mystical prayer.


The fifth session in the 2016 Speaker Series - Sunday, March 13 - featured returning guest speaker and guest preacher, The Reverend Zach Drennen. His topic: "The Antidote to Toxic Charity Educating and Empowering Youth to Uplift their Communities".

Zach Drennen spoke and preached at St. Luke’s in 2014, and was so riveting, we wanted to hear more about the Elewana Education Project. In Zach Drennen’s own words “Mission, both in the sense of spreading the Gospel and trying to make the world a better place, is a fundamental tenet of our Christian Faith. Yet despite the best of intentions, many of our missionary experiences, whether foreign or domestic, meet with poor results and track records that leave the communities we had hoped to help little better off than when we found them. This Forum will explore the fundamental aspects of successful mission and service-learning endeavors such that visiting groups experience a deeper sense of accomplishment and appreciation for their hosts, while the hosting community comes away with a newly empowered sense of self-worth and agency. The background for this forum will stem from my 7 years of experience living and working as a missionary in Western Kenya - and making all of the aforementioned mistakes - so you don’t have to.”

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