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Whitworth Theology Department Annual Newsletter 2017

James Edwards (1997-2015), Professor Emeritus of Theology

Thank you, dear friends, for your support and interest in our lives and work.

I have just completed my second year of retirement, and although I miss the stimulus of the classroom and the collegiality of the theology department, my life is very full and rewarding.

Last June, Janie and I led a Whitworth Core 650 program to Greece with 35 alums, parents and board members, as well as Beck and Julie Taylor. It was a hot summer in Greece, with several days over 100 degrees, but the participants were up for every adventure, and they were eager learners, cheerful and caring of one another. The opportunity to teach at sites where biblical and historical events occurred – on the Corinthian correspondence at Corinth, the early Olympic games at Olympia, or the difference between Christianity and paganism at Delphi – is a stimulating and unforgettable learning experience. Study tours inspire a maturity of theological reflection and personal application in the lives of participants.  

I enjoyed a number of speaking and lecturing opportunities last year, including teaching an adult Bible class at Whitworth Church, lecturing for Whitworth's Academy of Christian Discipleship, and speaking at church conferences in Spokane, Kennewick, Tulsa and Tacoma. Many churches look to Whitworth as a trusted theological resource, and I value our wider Whitworth "family" of churches.

My major project this past year was completing a biography on Ernst Lohmeyer, a German New Testament scholar and university president who was martyred by the communists in East Germany in 1946. My work on Lohmeyer goes back to my doctoral work at Fuller Theological Seminary in the mid-1970s (where I first met Roger Mohrlang), and has continued intermittently in the intervening decades. I received an invitation to deliver a lecture (in German) on Lohmeyer at the University of Greifswald in Germany this past October. Following the lecture (which I thoroughly enjoyed), Janie and I remained in Germany for three months so that I could research and write on the biography at the Secret Prussian Archive in Dahlem, a lovely suburb of Berlin. We rented a third-floor loft, and each day I walked 25 minutes along tree-lined streets and past lovely villas to the archive, where 35 suitcase-sized cartons of Lohmeyer's personal letters and writings were made available for my research. A goldmine of materials. . . and a golden opportunity. While I was so employed, Janie visited Berlin museums and painted 40 or 50 wonderful watercolors in our apartment. On weekends, we enjoyed eating out and exploring Berlin or parts of Germany (and Poland) where Lohmeyer had lived. I completed a first draft of the work in Berlin, and finished editing it on May 23. My publisher promises a 2018 release of the book.

I am grateful to be happily married and to see our children (and grandchildren) responding to God's calls in their lives and vocations, to be in good health, for discretionary time for my writing projects, and to have good projects on which to work. These are wonderful gifts of God, to which I want to be faithful.