Pastor Leslie C. Schulz, D.D. as the Keynote Speaker of the Inner City Conference in Manhattan, June 24-26, 1985
When I helped organize an inner-city conference back in 1984, I proposed Pastor Les Schulz of Cincinnati as the keynote speaker. He was very inspiring. I introduced our St. Paul’s Lutheran Church’s ministry to the mentally challenged that was overwhelming us at that time. The conference became crucial to my conviction that the church had to get involved not only in the ministry to the poor, but also to the mentally challenged. Thus my lecture topic: “Luther’s In-depth Theology, Self Psychology, and the Possibility of a Lutheran Therapy” that I gave at Gettysburg Seminary, October 29, 2008. I did not intend a reduction of Luther’s theology to psychology, of course, but that his theology also contained a psychological dimension. I also submit that Luther’s theology is therapeutic, because Luther understands the struggles of the psyche in a very profound way.
In the conference I had the honor of introducing Les Schulz:
Perhaps in introducing Pastor Leslie C. Schulz, that is, Dr. Schulz, I should read what I wrote to Pastor Heinemeier about him. But I fear that might take too long. In a biographical way, we can mention that he comes from Texas, was in the Navy, graduated from Texas Lutheran College in 1949, and received a Bachelor of Divinity from Hamma School of Theology in Wittenberg University in 1954. After a short call in Logansport, Indiana, he was called to the church of his aspirations, First English Lutheran Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. That was in 1956 and he served there in the Basin Area of Cincinnati ever since; almost 30 years on those steaming hot streets. In 1974 he was honored by Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio with a doctor of divinity degree.
Les Schulz goes way back in the history of inner-city ministry and he is still working the same streets. Back in the late sixties, I was attending Hamma and his name was floating around with that of Cook in Chicago and a Cochran in Philadelphia. On July 15, 1984 he celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of his ordination. He has been a scholar in residence for Trinity Seminary in Columbus, Ohio and felt that he was needed more as a pastor there and had to postpone his scholarly aspirations for sometime in the future. Les, this is the future. Now is the time.
What a richness of insights he has gathered and what has this struggle in the inner-city made of him? He has a keen eye on the process of a church and his in depth perception of people has left an impact on me to follow him and try to analyze and appreciate his method.
Very much of what I heard here from Bill Webber and Robert Woodson has been personified and practiced by Les Schulz many years already. And if you haven’t heard about him these thirty years, then it’s like Johnny Ray Youngblood said, he was where Christ was, hanging out in the ghetto.
Click on his picture and view the slides. The last two sets of pictures come from my Vacation Church School and Day Camp programs in Oakland, CA. I ran 14 programs in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Coney Island, New York and three more in St. John’s Lutheran in Oakland, CA. I’m not sure how many Les Schulz ran in First Lutheran, Cincinnati. I imagine it was over thirty. I learned how to run these programs from Les and I was the bus driver for three of his programs as well as for many of mine. When the program was going right, you could feel yourself grow!