The Chaplains’ Office at Gustavus Adolphus College will welcome the Rev. James J. Lobdell ’71 and choir director Donnie Williams to campus March 18-20 for the newly named Cross Cultural Ministry Days, continuing the College’s tradition of inviting alumni ministers to participate in the worship and academic life of the College.
Originally from Mound, Minn., Pastor Lobdell received his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He has served as Pastor of Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Inglewood, Calif., for more than three decades. With a vision that began with his ministry during the 1970s in Harlem, Pastor Lobdell has led Holy Trinity’s ministry to include a pre-school of 60 students, a healing service and prayer network, a “shepherds in the city” ministry for people in need, food distribution to the hungry and homeless, and youth outreach that includes hip hop worship, mentoring, tutoring, and “dollars for scholars” program that awards more than $10,000 in scholarships each year.
After the civil unrest that occurred in Los Angeles in 1992, Pastor Lobdell was instrumental in forming the New City Parish, a coalition of urban congregations. The coalition operates a Metropolitan Ministry and Training Center for pastors, seminary students, and lay ministers, offering immersion experiences each January that includes a “Ministry in the City” weekend as well as a two-week “Spanish Immersion in Los Angeles.”
With travels and immersion experiences in Japan, Mexico, Israel, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, Pastor Lobdell has developed a global perspective that informs and influences his pastoral ministry. In addition to his parish responsibilities, he currently serves as adjunct faculty at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley and has been a guest lecturer at the UCLA School of Law and the USC School of Social Work in Los Angeles.
“The Gustavus community is becoming more and more diverse and so are the communities in which pastors, church musicians and congregations serve,” Gustavus Interim Senior Pastor Rod Anderson said. “We celebrate diversity at Gustavus, but are always in need of help learning how to do so in worship and ministry.”
Essential to Holy Trinity’s spiritual growth and development has been the dynamic music ministry led by Mr. Donnie Williams. A music education graduate of Texas Technological University, Williams performed in concert for more than 20 years and recorded for Majesty Records. Holy Trinity’s Chancel Choir Director since 1994, Williams has brought together liturgical and gospel traditions to form a blended worship celebration that inspires, involves, and empowers.
Pastor Lobdell and Williams will speak and perform in Christ Chapel during the College’s daily chapel time at 10 a.m. on March 18-20, under the theme of “Sing a New Song: A Cross-Cultural Journey with the Prophet Jonah.” Pastor Lobdell will also host seminars on March 18 (7-8:30 p.m.) and March 19 (1:30-3 p.m.) using the theme “All Things to All People: How can Lutherans do Ministry Across Cultures?” All Gustavus students, faculty, staff and friends are invited to join Williams for gospel choir rehearsals at 7:30 p.m. on March 18 (Christ Chapel) and 19 (Bjorling Room 214). The gospel choir will then sing in Christ Chapel at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 20.
Gustavus has a long tradition of hosting alumni ministers that dates back to 1986 when religion professor Robert Esbjornson ’43 invited Thomas Anderson ’63, then pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco, back to his alma mater.
For more information about this spring’s Cross Cultural Ministry Days, contact Chaplain Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-933-7447.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas