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2/23/2009 Walter Rauschenbusch is focus of Frazee Symposium

            McMINNVILLE – "Hope in a Time of Crisis: Rauschenbusch's Christianity Revisited" will be the theme of the Frazee Symposium March 9 and 10 at Linfield College.

            The two-day symposium will focus on the work of Walter Rauschenbusch, a theologian and Baptist minister who is called the "Father of the Social Gospel" movement of the early 20th century. A dramatic portrayal of Walter Rauschenbusch will be presented Monday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. by performing artist the Rev. Al Staggs. The following evening, Tuesday, March 10, the Rev. Paul Raushenbush, the great-grandson of Walter Rauschenbusch will speak on the relevance of his great-grandfather's theology for today's context and challenges. A panel will respond to the address, followed by a question and answer session.

Walter Rauschenbusch has been called one of the most influential American religious leaders of the last 100 years. He believed that Christian principles must be translated into actions that promote compassion, justice and social change. Between 1886 and 1897 he was the pastor of the Second German Baptist Church in the Hell's Kitchen area of New York City. As he witnessed massive economic insecurity, he began to believe that Christianity must address the physical as well as the spiritual needs of human kind. While a professor at the Rochester Theological Seminary, he developed a theology for the social gospel that emphasized, in addition to private sins, there are also social sins against humanity that must be addressed for Christianity to have relevance.

Al Staggs combined his passion for performing and working for peace and justice into producing one-person plays and characterizations of individuals such as German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Clarence Jordan, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Thomas Merton and Walter Rauschenbusch. He has a B.A. from Hardin Simmons University, and M.R.E. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Th.M. from Harvard Divinity School and Doctor of Ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He worked as parish minister for two decades before devoting his time to performing.

Paul Raushenbush is the moderator for Beliefnet's Progressive Revival and associate dean of religious life and the chapel at Princeton University. He is an ordained American Baptist minister and speaks and preaches at colleges, churches and institutes around the country. He has served churches in Seattle and New York City and has appeared on ABC News and CNN. He is the editor of the 100th anniversary edition of Walter Rauschenbusch's book "Christianity and Social Crisis  – In the 21st Century" and the author of "Teen Spirit: One World, Many Faiths." His work at Princeton includes strengthening the interfaith community on campus. He is co-director of the Program on Religion, Diplomacy and International Relations at the Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination at Princeton University.

The program is sponsored by the Frazee Lecture in Bible and Religion, established by friends and family in honor of Gordon G. Frazee, who served Linfield for 32 years as chaplain and professor of religion. The fund is used to underwrite an annual lecture under the auspices of the Linfield Religious Studies Department. The symposium is free and open to the public. For more information, call David Massey, Linfield chaplain and assistant professor of religious studies, 503-883-2259,