Kessler Conversations 2022

Spring of 2022 comes with a new series of virtual Kessler Conversations!

Named after the world-renowned Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection held at Pitts Theology Library, Kessler Conversations (30-45 mins) offer opportunities for the general public to learn about the events in Europe in the 16th century and to consider what they may tell us about the issues facing our communities. Conversations in a given academic semester focus on a single contemporary theme and trace it back to the Reformers. These conversations are free and open to the public, but registration is required. The theme of the Spring 2022 conversations is “Women of the Reformation: Reclaiming Forgotten Contributions to Church Renewal.”

 Many are accustomed to studying and celebrating the big personalities of the Protestant Reformation. Far too often, though, those are only the male personalities, and the contributions women made to the renewal of the church are overlooked. This semester, we invite 3 leading Reformation scholars to uncover and share with us stories and voices of women of the Reformation era. Our Kessler Conversations will consider the roles women played in the period, the contributions they made to changes in theology, culture, and church practice, the ways their stories have been covered over, and the lessons we can all learn from their work.

Mary Jane Haemig | Wednesday, February 2 | 12pm ESTElisabeth Cruciger: Wife, Hymnwriter, Theologian 

Dr. Mary Jane Haemig is Professor emerita of Church History, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. She taught at Luther Seminary for 19 years; previously she taught for five years at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington. As a scholar she has focused on the German Lutheran reformation, particularly its pastoral aspects, including preaching, catechesis, and the teaching of prayer. She is the editor of The Annotated Luther. Volume 4: Pastoral Writings (Fortress, 2016).

Elsie Anne McKee | Wednesday, March 2 | 12pm ESTSurprise and Diversity: A Woman’s Place in Reform Yesterday and Today 

Dr. Elsie Anne McKee is emerita Professor of Reformation Studies and the History of Worship at Princeton Theological Seminary. Most of her academic research has focused on the 16th-century Reformation, particularly books on John Calvin and a woman reformer, Katharina Schütz Zell. She is probably best known for her trilogy on Calvin’s doctrine of the ministries and worship of the church: John Calvin on the Diaconate and Liturgical Almsgiving (Droz, 1984), Elders and the Plural Ministry (Droz, 1988), and The Pastoral Ministry and Worship in Calvin’s Geneva (Droz, 2016). 

Kirsi Stjerna | Wednesday, April 6 | 12pm ESTWomen Leaders of the Reformation: Profiles, Contexts, and Texts

Rev. Dr. Kirsi Stjerna is the First Lutheran, Los Angeles/Southwest California Synod Professor of Lutheran History and Theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (Berkeley) of California Lutheran University. She is also a member of the Core Doctoral Faculty at the Graduate Theological Union and a Docent at Helsinki University, Finland. She is the author of Lutheran Theology: A Grammar of Faith (Bloomsbury/T&T Clark, 2021) and Women and the Reformation (Wiley Blackwell, 2009), as well as the editor of Women Leaders of the Reformation: Profiles, Contexts, and Texts (forthcoming, Fortress Press/Media 1517, 2022).

Registration for these virtual events are free at We look forward to seeing you there!