Faculty Friday: Rev. Dr. Leah Schade

Who: The Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade

· B.S., Shenandoah University, 1992

· M.Div., The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 2000

· Ph.D., The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (now United Lutheran Seminary), 2014

· Dr. Schade joined the LTS faculty in 2016

Dr. Leah Schade, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship, is a passionate activist faculty member who reminds us that teaching ministry does not remain within the confines of the classroom. Her highly anticipated book, Preaching in the Purple Zone: Ministry in the Red/Blue Divide, best depicts the integration of scholarly research and activist spirit that serves the Church and the world. In the book Dr. Schade describes a new homiletical method to which she refers as sermon-dialogue-sermon preaching. This method is designed to help clergy and congregations engage on issues of public concern in productive, healthy ways. Her method involves preaching in tandem with a type of civil discourse called “deliberative dialogue” in order to enter the “Purple Zone” within the perceived red-state-blue-state divide. The goal is to emerge with new insights and stronger relationships not only within the church, but for civic and public discourse in our communities and country. Key to her work is a research questionnaire entitled “Preaching About Controversial Justice Issues” that she designed; it gathered responses from 1200 mainline Protestant preachers. Visit https://www.thepurplezone.net/ to learn more.

Dr. Schade is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and served three churches in Pennsylvania during her 16 years of parish ministry. She and her husband Jim and children, Rachel and Benjamin, are members of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Lexington. Dr. Schade also supply preaches for churches in the Lexington area. As a professional harpist she has played for orchestras, churches, corporate events, weddings, and all manner of private and public events. Her CD, Shall We Gather, is available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ldschade.

Best known for: Dr. Schade’s book, Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015), helps preachers learn how to create sermons that address ecological issues within their particular contexts. The book draws on her experience as an anti-fracking and climate activist, community organizer, and advocate for environmental justice issues, and is available at https://www.creationcrisispreaching.com. She is also the “EcoPreacher” blogger for Patheos. Her blog explores religion, politics, ecological justice, women’s issues, gender, and LGBTQI rights, race, and popular culture: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ecopreacher.

Why I teach at LTS: “I knew early in my ministry that I wanted to teach preaching and worship to future seminary students. I am thrilled to be at LTS where I get to teach students to do what I loved to do – parish ministry and serving the church. It is such a blessing to work with my esteemed faculty colleagues who have also become good friends. The dedication of our staff and administration and the faithfulness of our students are an inspiration. I also appreciate working with the Green Task Force on addressing environmental issues within our context. I thank God for the opportunity to be at a place where my passions for preaching, justice, writing, and teaching all come together.”