Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship
Lexington Theological Seminary
About Leah Schade

An ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for nearly twenty years, Dr. Schade earned both her MDiv and PhD degrees from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (now United Lutheran Seminary). Her recent book, Preaching in the Purple Zone: Ministry in the Red-Blue Divide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), explores how clergy and churches can address controversial issues of public concern using nonpartisan, biblically-centered approaches and deliberative dialogue (https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538119891/Preaching-in-the-Purple-Zone-Ministry-in-the-Red-Blue-Divide#).

Dr. Schade was recently awarded a $30,000 grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion for her project “Dialogue in the ‘Purple Zone’: Pedagogies for Civil Discourse in Online and On-site Settings.” Her new method of sermon-dialogue-sermon preaching is designed to help clergy and congregations engage on issues of public concern in productive, healthy ways. Her method involves preaching in tandem with a type of civil discourse called “deliberative dialogue” in order to enter the “Purple Zone” within the political red-blue divide. The goal is to emerge with new insights and stronger relationships not only within the church, but for civic and public discourse in our communities and country. Key to her work is a research questionnaire she designed entitled “Preaching About Controversial Justice Issues” which gathered responses from 1200 mainline Protestant preachers. Visit https://www.thepurplezone.net/ to learn more.

Dr. Schade has served as an anti-fracking and climate activist, community organizer, and advocate for numerous environmental and social justice issues. Her dissertation focused on homiletics (preaching) and ecological theology (caring for God’s Creation) which resulted in the book Creation-Crisis Preaching: Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015), available at https://www.chalicepress.com/CreationCrisis. Her forthcoming book is Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), a volume of 21 essays by religious environmental activists co-edited with Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538127759/Rooted-and-Rising-Voices-of-Courage-in-a-Time-of-Climate-Crisis.

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