Theology Matters » Vol. 9 No. 1 » September 1, 2022, 12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Theology Matters

Cross and American flag

VOL. 9, NO. 1
The Theology Department is pleased to release the
Fall 2022 edition of

Theology Department publishes second edition of Cornerstone Magazine

Cornerstone cover

Our second edition of the annual Cornerstone magazine spotlights the theme of Christian Nationalism.  The electronic flip book is available now.  If you would like to receive a free hard copy in the mail, please join our mailing list.


Dr. Kimberly Vrudny Named Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences at St. Thomas

Kimberly Vrudny

Congratulations to our department chair, Kim Vrudny!  An inspiring choice for higher levels of leadership, Kim brings a "broad humanistic and interdisciplinary background" and skills in diversity, equity, and inclusion to the CAS dean's office.  Dr. Bernie Brady, past chair and current director of the Murray Institute for Catholic Education and Associate Director of the Office of Mission, will serve as interim department chair.


Encountering Judaism Initiative Welcomes Founding Director

Ryan Dulkin

Rabbi Ryan S. Dulkin, Ph.D joins the Theology Department of the University of St. Thomas as a full time adjunct faculty member this fall and Director of the Encountering Judaism program.  Rabbi Dr. Dulkin received rabbinic ordination and a doctorate in Midrash and Scriptural Interpretation from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. His scholarly work focuses on the development of rabbinic interpretations of the Creation narrative in Genesis. He has taught a variety of courses on the Hebrew Bible, rabbinic Judaism, early Christianity, and comparative religion at St. Olaf College, Franklin & Marshall College, Washington University in St. Louis, the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, and Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis.

This fall Rabbi Dr. Dulkin is developing a Theology 100 course with an emphasis on spirituality and the religious experience. In the spring he will teach a course on the Eve and Adam story in western culture. In addition, he is spearheading the development of Encountering Judaism, which will involve his participation in the Theology Department’s Theology Night Live program and a talk on Jewish traditions around the Festival of Passover in the Spring.


Dr. Sherry Jordon Announced as Recipient of Faculty Service Award

Jordan teaching

Dr. Sherry Jordon of the Theology Department has been announced as the recipient of the 2022 Award for Outstanding Faculty Service.  The award, which was inaugurated last year, recognizes outstanding service contributions to the University of St. Thomas that help the university advance its mission.


Congratulations on your Retirement!


This spring we celebrated the careers and contributions of our colleagues and friends Michael Hollerich and Sherry Jordon.  View the photos!


Theology Department responds to War in Ukraine

Paul Gavrilyuk

In the study and practice of theology, we are often called to bring public awareness to the persecuted, but we don't often find ourselves among the persecuted.  A professor's personal connection to Ukraine charges our action this year.  As news breaks on the continuing Russian invasion, Professor Paul Gavrilyuk Discusses His Family in Ukraine, from the initial confusion and disbelief, to coordinating supply lines for those sheltering in place, to sharing information on areas struck by missiles to drivers helping his parents flee Kyiv.

While the world offers prayer and humanitarian aid to their country, the War Hits Home for Ukrainians at St. Thomas.  The only member of his extended family living in the US, Gavrilyuk, Professor of Theology, spoke March 6 at an anti-war rally at the Minnesota state capitol, giving examples of how medics and civilians even then were being targeted, and calling for greater US defense support and sanctions.

The Theology Department's partnership with the Minnesota Polish Medical Society brough the photography of Grzegorz Litynski to campus on April 11 with the exhibit "Poland's Response to the Ukrainian Refugee Crisis."  The fundraising event was narrated by Dr. Katarzyna Litak with remarks from Gavrilyuk, now president of the non profit Rebuild Ukraine.

On May 10, Theology paired with the St. Thomas Music Department to offer musical tributes and prayer at "Sounds of Hope: Rebuilding Ukraine."  Dr. Gavrilyuk and Prof. Ora Itkin shared personal stories and political context.  A revision of Ukrainian band Green Jolly's rock song "Razom nas bahato" ("Together we are many, they won't overcome us," lyrics revised for 2022), brought solidarity, while the moving "Prayer for Ukraine," arranged by Dr. Vanessa Cornett-Murtada, offered hope.

With research and courses addressing political science, human rights, law, genocide studies, and justice and peace studies, the Theology Department is poised and committed to lifting voices of the oppressed.


Where in the World?


Theology faculty are called to service at home and around the world.  Professor Emeritus Gerald Schlabach is helping a Mayan community leader in Santiago write a memoir of his relationship with Blessed Stanley Rother, the missionary priest and pastor in Santiago Atitlán who was assassinated in 1981 for his solidarity with the Mayan people in the midst of Guatemala’s long civil war.  Explore his work.


Upcoming Events

Theology Night Live!: Must Values Clash? Finding a Way Forward

TNL Spencer

We all bring our own values and beliefs to the table when we discuss difficult, controversial, or divisive issues. When we do, we must be prepared to engage passionately and with commitment to our own worldviews without fear of being characterized as ignorant or wrong or deceitful. There are tools and skills that can foster this kind of civil discourse. This “Theology Night Live!” conversation with Theology professor Marguerite Hattouni Spencer, J.D., A.M.R.S, will equip us to replace walls of division, absolutism, and arrogance with agape (love), ambiguity, and humility. When informed by this approach, we can create a culture of encounter at UST and beyond that fosters honest debate and collective problem solving.

September 29, 2022
5:30 p.m.
O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library LIB 108 

Remembering and Restoring the Past to Ensure the Future: Religious Sites of Minneapolis and St. Paul


In this presentation, Dr. Marilyn J. Chiat and Dr. Jeanne Halgren Kilde will draw upon their Twin Cities Houses of Worship Project, which brings together data on over 250 congregations and over 500 sites related to religious and ethnic groups who settled and developed nine neighborhoods along the Mississippi River in St. Paul and Minneapolis between 1849 and 1924.

October 20, 2022
12:00 p.m.
Iverson Center for Faith, Schoenecker Hall Multipurpose Room C (LL16C)

Theology Night Live!: How to Think About Christian Nationalism

TNL Hollerich

Professor Emeritus Michael Hollerich will offer a definition of what one might mean by "Christian Nationalism," beginning with a brief review of its occurrence in the news and theories about why it has started to draw serious attention. He will argue that there is no good "nationalism," while recognizing that there is a virtue called patriotism, defined as the non-exclusive love of one's own land, culture, and people. In contrast, "Christian nationalism" is both contradictory and dangerous.

November 1, 2022
5:30 p.m.
O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library LIB 108 

Christian Nationalism in America: It's History and Resurgence


In his recent and widely acclaimed book Nazis of Copley Square: The Forgotten History of the Christian Front, Charles Gallagher tells the story of a group of American terrorists who, in the name of God, conspired to overthrow the United States government and form an alliance with Hitler. Members of this self-proclaimed antisemitic and anti-Communist group known as the Christian Front were charged with seditious conspiracy, the same charge levelled by the U.S. Department of Justice against leaders of both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers for their alleged roles in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. In this presentation, Gallagher will summarize the history of the Christian Front and other explicitly Christian nationalist groups and discuss their influence on today’s far-right movements.

November 3, 2022
12:00 p.m.
Iverson Center for Faith, Schoenecker Hall Multipurpose Room C (LL16C) 

Celebrate Black Catholic History Month


Join our celebration of Black Catholic History Month.  Students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in Dr. Ben Heidgerken's courses on The Beloved Community, Black Religious Experience, and Theology and Race will share research posters along Dorsey Way.  Dr. Heidgerken will provide an orientation to the students' work in ASC 202 at noon and again at 5:30.

November 10, 2022
12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Anderson Student Center, Dorsey Way and 202 

Muslims in Minnesota
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Hear from Tamim Saidi about the history of Muslims in the region as far back as the late 1800’s as well as the diversity, contributions, growth and activism of the estimated 150,000 Minnesota Muslim neighbors.
November 10, 2022
12:00 p.m.
McNeely Hall room 100 

The Rise of Christian Nationalism in the United States

book cover

Join a webinar with a panel discussion about the rise of Christian Nationalism in the United States.  Moderated by Dr. Michael Hollerich, professor emeritus of historical theology at the University of St. Thomas, we will hear from Andrew Whitehead, David Goldenberg, and William Cavanaugh before a Q&A session with our viewers.

March 28, 2023
7:00 p.m.
Webinar - Register for link.


Speakers Bureau

Our faculty are experts in a variety of subjects, and are willing to come to your institution, organization, or parish to speak on a variety of theological topics. Please fill out the form or contact our office to inquire: 651-962-5300.


For more information, please contact:
Donna Matuszewski
Mail # JRC 109
University of St. Thomas
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105
(651) 962-5300

Registrant Information


For questions please contact the Theology Department at or 651-962-5300.