Sunday, October 1, 2023

Community members, faculty, students, congregations and church leaders are welcome to join in a common reading of the book Love Without Limits and attend a Sunday morning, Oct. 1 at 9:45am discussion of the book with the author prior to the conference. Congregations are encouraged to join students in reading the Knutson lecture speaker’s book: Love Without Limits: Jesus’ Radical Vision for Love with No Exceptions (2022) by Jaqueline Bussie. The author may join us for the adult forum on the book. Please encourage your congregation to read ahead! There will be a book signing following the Knutson lecture and there is a special morning event with Dr. Bussie for congregations on Oct. 4 as well. This will be an online Zoom event to make it possible for congregations and community members to tune in and contribute from multiple locations: together and individually. We invite you to read and discuss Bussie’s book along with many PLU students in preparation for the conference events.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Interactive PreConference


“Anxiety: Practical Insights and Interactive Tools and Resources”

Regency Room, Anderson University Center

Free and Open to the Public

Focus of this time will be to discuss Anxiety, an issue that pastors and congregation members have named as a key issue they are facing. This recently-named “pandemic” of Anxiety impacts us at personal, relational and societal levels; Our speakers will lead us through personal and relational ways to understand anxiety and how this can connect to spiritual, faith and personal resources we have to work with it. We welcome all community members, congregation members and leaders, pastors and bishops, students, faculty and staff at colleges and universities. There will be two expert leaders to these conversations and both will engage you in thinking how these topics impact your particular life and work contexts. While this pre-conference session was created in response to pastors and congregations of the ELCA, we welcome members of all religious denominations and secular perspectives as well.

Our speakers of the morning will be:
Dr. David Ward, PLU Dean of Health Professions and Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy.
Dr. Jacqueline Bussie, Executive Director of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research
Rev. Molly Knutson Keller, Rev. Molly Knutson Keller, MKK Coaching, certified Enneagram and Life Coach / Consultant

8:30-8:45am – Coffee and snacks
8:45-9:30am – ``Where Can I Turn For Peace? Addressing Anxiety in Our Religious Community``

“Anxiety is showing up in abundance in our communities which seems opposite to the promise of the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippans 4:7) How can we come together in our religious communities to recognize and counteract the rise of anxiety?”

Dr. David Ward, Pacific Lutheran University

9:30-9:45am – Break
9:45-10:30am – ``Recipes for Hope and Renewal in Times of Anxiety and Trauma``

In this engaging and practical presentation, award winning author Dr. Jacqueline Bussie will speak from her own experience as a trauma survivor about how we sustain our spirits and cultivate hope even in the hardest times of anxiety and overwhelm.

Dr. Jacqueline Bussie, Executive Director of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research

10:30-10:45am – Break
10:45 -11:30am – ``Stress and Anxiety: The Power of the Mind & Body Connection``

What does the theology of the embodied Christ mean for us, as individuals? As Christians, a lot of attention is focused outward, on seeing Christ among us in the face of others. In this session we will tend to the embodied Christ within each one of us, personally. Focusing inward can seem counterintuitive as Christians, however understanding our own inner experience is a vital, imperative starting point as we engage in conversations around anxiety, polarization, healing and radical love. Through experiential opportunities and practical tools, we will take time to acknowledge and “check-in” with our own embodied selves.

The Rev. Molly Knutson Keller, Professional Life & Enneagram Coach

Looking for a Good, Quick Lunch?

The Old Main Market and the University Commons Dining Room are located in the Anderson University Center.

The OMM, has a variety of snacks, drinks, sandwiches and an Espresso Bar.

The Commons is the main dining facility on the PLU campus featuring five unique stations. Their skilled culinary team has developed an exciting array of menu selections that combine the best of local and global ingredients. The result is an a la carte menu that features a wide selection of freshly prepared items.

Lutheran Studies Conference


“Anxiety in an Age of Overwhelm: Gaining Understanding and Resilience“

Scandinavian Cultural Center, Anderson University Center

Free and Open to the Public

12:00-12:30pm – Registration

Anderson University Center, Upper Lobby

12:30-12:45pm – Welcome & Opening remarks: Anxiety, Existential Threat & Faith

Dr. Marit Trelstad, University Chair of Lutheran Studies

12:45-1:30pm – “The Manifestation of Anxiety in Individuals, Relationships, and Communities: Patterns and Solutions”

After a brief overview of the experience of anxiety on an individual level, we’ll turn our focus to understanding common relationship patterns that develop from this individual anxiety that lead to distress in relationships and communities. Participants will leave with alternative ways to address anxiety that lead to greater well-being individually and relationally.

Dr. David Ward, Pacific Lutheran University

1:30-1:45pm – Short Break
1:45-2:30pm – “Social, Behavioral and Biological Scientific Approaches to Anxiety”

Anxiety is common in all areas of life. Addressing this requires a multi-prong approach that may include medication, therapy and behavioral approaches. In this session, we will describe these approaches, the science behind them and how they can be easily and lovingly enacted with great results.

  • Behavioral Approaches: Dr. Vanessa Tucker, Associate Professor of Education, Pacific Lutheran University
  • Neuropsych and Medical Approaches: Holly Galbreath, PhD, Owner of Dr.HG Services, PLLC

2:30-3:30pm – “Race, Racism, Trauma and Anxiety”

Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., Founder/Program Director for the global White Privilege Conference (WPC)

3:30-3:45pm – Short Break
3:45-5:00pm – “Anxiety as a Generational, Collective Experience and the Potential of Collective Protective Factors”

This panel session begins with a 15 min mindfulness practice and then introduces us to the ideas of anxiety as a collective and generational experience and how new ways of understanding anxiety can allow us to employ or fortify protective factors for our ourself and with others. This moves our discussion beyond an individual-oriented focus and leads us to look to building collective resources within our relationships and society.

  • Dr. Tamara Williams, Executive Director of the PLU Wang Center and Professor of Hispanic and Latino Studies
  • Dr. Joanna Royce-Davis, Vice President for Student Life, Pacific Lutheran University
  • Dr. Eva Frey, Dean of Students, Pacific Lutheran University
  • Ms. Jennifer Fadden, MA, LMFT, MHP, Associate Director for Clinical Operations/Counselor, PLU Counseling Services
  • Ms. Victoria Schultz, Class of 2024, Major: English- Creative Writing and Double Minor in Theatre and Publishing/Printing Arts
  • Mr. Brandon Ducusin, Class of 2024, Major: Social Work and double minors in NonProfit Leadership and Art

5:00-7:00pm – Dinner Break

7:00-8:30pm – “Love without Limits: Radical Love in a Time of Polarization,`` Chris Knutzen, AUC

The David and Marilyn Knutson Lecture, Dr. Jacqueline Bussie

Reception and Book Signing to Follow