The Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago is selling its behemoth building at 1100 E. 55th St. in Hyde Park (to the University of Chicago), and taking up new residence on the fourth floor of the Catholic Theological Union, just down the road. McCormick Seminary is moving into the fifth floor of the Catholic Theological Union. I’m excited to see the kind of collaboration that might emerge from this.

The final graduation from this site took place on Sunday, May 21, 2023. We gathered at LSTC and then processed over to Saint Thomas The Apostle Catholic Church for the ceremony, returning to LSTC for a reception. Here are some pix.

Chicago Bishop Yehiel Curry
LSTC President Jim Nieman
LSTC Board Member and Houston Campus Ministry Pastor Morgan Gates
Pastor Thorgeir Arason of the Lutheran Church in Iceland, left, was also working on his doctorate at the same time I was. And the center is CTU Professor Scott Alexander, Director of the Ecumenical Doctor of Ministry program.
Arisbe A. Gomez Centeno and I realized we had met many years ago in El Salvador. She is the daughter of Medardo Gomez, Bishop of the Lutheran Church of El Salvador. Today she received her Masters of Arts degree.
Professors Linda Thomas and Marvin E. Wickware, Jr.
My advisor, Professor Mark Swanson.
Dominican Sister Barbara Reid, OP, President of the Catholic Theological Union was the keynote speaker. a New Testament scholar, she has taught at the CTU since 1988.
It was fun to see Cecie Suknaic, a graduate from the Southwestern, Texas Synod, who is active in our campus ministry at Texas A&M, receive her Masters of Divinity.
What a joy to meet Arisbe A. Gomez Centeno’s family, and also see ELCA Chuchwide staff Pastors Ruben Duran and Jaime Dubon (right) there to support her.
Afterwards, I was honored to have dinner with some friends, including Carla Aufdengarten, a member of my first call parish, St. Paul in Davenport, Iowa, who was present at Susan and my wedding in Columbus, Ohio 35 years ago, at my installation as Bishop in 2007 in Houston, and today. In Chicago.
Joel Muller, Carla Aufdengarten, Joe, Dr. Scott Alexander, and Dr. José David Rodríguez, my thesis project advisor.

There is grief around leaving the building. This is a mixture of the sense of loss of a spiritual home that nurtured many people as they grew into their ministerial vocation, and sadness over the decline of a seminary that was once much larger. The Catholic Theological Union, and McCormick have experience similar contraction, and have struggled with how to manage facilities.

I have been told that the building at 1100 E. 55th St. was too large even back in 1967. Today it is expensive to maintain, heat, and air condition. Living together in one space will not only maximize resources and create efficiencies, but possibly lead to new possibilities of ecumenical collaboration. Out of loss can come new life and unexpected surprises.