2023 Founders' Day Lecture

2023 Founders' Day Lecture


9:00 am - Gathering

10:00 am - Lecture by Vance Blackfox

11:00 am - Community Worship. Rev. Dr. Moses Penumaka will preside and Rev. Manuel Retamoza will preach.


If you would like to attend in-person, please click this link. (2000 Center St, Suite 200, Berkeley, CA 94704)

If you would like to attend online, please click this link.

Lecture Topic

The grandeur that has become the Church gives us ample fodder for conversations about where we have come from and where we are going. The grandeur that is the Church also begs the question, “Are we willing to go?” As well as “how long?” We must discern if our human foundations are dependable and if their cracks have room for healing and reconstruction or even re-creation. Are these human foundations meant to continue sustaining grandeur, or can they handle the weight of inclusion? We are in a new age that definitely requires us to remember how to be as close to Mother Earth as possible, the original and Indigenous foundation, so that we might begin to conceive the teachings of “The Church’s One Foundation.”

About the speaker

Vance Blackfox, an Indigenous theologian and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, serves the churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) as the Director of Indigenous Ministries and Tribal Relations. An alumnus of Texas Lutheran University (TLU) and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), Vance has served the ELCA in multiple capacities, from taking a post as National President of the Lutheran Youth Organization during his TLU days, to later working as a diversity and cultural education professional for the Women of the ELCA, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, California Lutheran University, ELCA Youth Gathering, and LSTC’s Youth in Mission. In addition to serving numerous ELCA and ecumenical teams and committees throughout the years, he is at present the Indigenous Theologian and Coordinating Team Member for the ELCA’s Theological Round Table, as well as creator and producer of the Vine Deloria Jr. Theological Symposium hosted at LSTC.

Vance is the founder and director of Other+Wise, a multi-site cultural education and cultural immersion program for youth and student groups from across the country. He has also served as the Director of Communications at the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, as the Director of Communications for Native Americans in Philanthropy and has held executive director positions at the Haskell Foundation, which supports Haskell Indian Nations University, and the Oaks Indian Mission. Vance previously served as the Guest Curator of the Indian Museum at the University of Texas at San Antonio Institute of Texan Cultures, on the board of directors for the San Antonio Community Resource Directory www.sacrd.org, and as the Indigenous theologian for the Faith-Based Initiative for the City of San Antonio. He presently serves on the board of directors for the Charter for Compassion, www.charterforcompassion.org.