Preaching the gospel within a Lutheran and multicultural congregation

Kathryn Ann Eckstam-Ames, University of Pennsylvania


This study, anthropologically-oriented and ethnographic, focuses upon the interaction between a Lutheran pastor and her congregation with an inherently cross-cultural task, the proclamation of the Christian gospel. Using Hymes' ehtnography of speaking model, six preaching events involving a Caucasian pastor and her primarily quadricultural, triracial and linguistically diverse congregation are analyzed after a brief history of Lutheran history, theology, and liturgy is described. Lutheran preaching as a denominational style and the pastor's ethnic style of preaching are examined along with cultural appropriateness and relevance of the sermons to the multicultural congregation. The dynamics of the preaching event are analyzed from intercultural theological, intercultural communication, and intercultural social perspectives. The difficulties of preaching within a Lutheran and multicultural congregation are highlighted in the epilogue. The analysis of the preaching events revealed that the pastor preached primarily from her own denominational and ethnic background and interactional schismogenesis resulted. However, certain aspects of the preaching events indicated that the pastor preached in a communicatively competent manner. As a result of this study, the author contends that the preaching event must be intentionally re-examined, re-envisioned, and transformed in order to effectively serve a multicultural congregation. It has been proven through educational studies and now, this study, that a pastor has the potential, with appropriate cross-cultural education and the development of cross-cultural interactional skills, to engage and transform such a congregation through the Preaching event into a truly effective living community of faith.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Multicultural education|Theology|Cultural anthropology|Clergy|Religious education

Recommended Citation

Eckstam-Ames, Kathryn Ann, "Preaching the gospel within a Lutheran and multicultural congregation" (1999). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9926119.