The Rev. Dr. Duane H. Larson serves as Christ the King’s Senior Pastor, beginning July 16, 2016. He was born and raised in San Diego, California; received his undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Pacific Lutheran University; his Master of Divinity from Luther Northwestern Seminary, St. Paul, MN; his PhD in Systematic Theology from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA, with his dissertation guided by Ted Peters, Robert John Russell, and John Polkinghorne in the arena of Theology and Natural Science. Duane also studied at Oxford University (further in Theology and Science with Arthur Peacocke) and Harvard University (in Higher Education Management).
Duane served three full-time pastorates in California (1979-1993) before being called to teach Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg. After receiving tenure there, in 1999 he was called to serve as President and Professor of Systematic Theology at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Since concluding his service to Wartburg in 2010, he has served in university adjunct teaching positions and two congregational interim ministries. Duane also returned to writing and guest speaking, recently having completed several published essays and speaking on ecumenical and inter-religious understanding. He has authored/edited/contributed to six books, and published numerous article. Duane is a co-author of a book on Moral Injury, anticipating publication fall of 2016. Much of his scholarly and pastoral leadership, too, has been devoted to the cause of Diaconal Ministry in the ELCA. He is the author of the theological rationale for the forthcoming proposal at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly to unify the lay rosters of the ELCA into one diaconal ministry.
Duane also serves as a director on the Foundation for Inter-Confessional Research, which oversees the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France; and has been an editorial board member for the Lutheran journal Dialog, A Journal of Theology since 1994, as well as a member of the American Academy of Religion. Duane is an eager advocate on matters of ecumenical and inter-religious significance at the global and local levels, having been active with two Lutheran World Federation global assemblies, several LWF theological study conferences, The Parliament of the World’s Religions, the Religion and Public Policy program of the Council on Foreign Relations, and local interfaith associations with Jewish and Muslim congregations.
Above all, though, Duane receives great joy in parish ministry. None of the academic or “diplomatic” concerns noted above would have value if they were not informed by and rooted in the local daily life of God with God’s people. Sharing faith with and witnessing faith in the lives “on the ground” of God’s people; all of us together in our differing vocations celebrating God’s grace, loving and caring for each other and our neighbors, and working for God’s justice; doing these things “under the influence” of the Word and Sacraments; surrounded by and imbued in the beauty of the saints’ liturgies and prayers: Duane believes firmly that the charged world of God’s grandeur in and with every seemingly dull moment gives each of us what we need to do our best in our own given ways. We are grateful that God has given us purpose-full lives!
And so Duane also likes to give thanks in song. He has a strong vocal music background and enjoys many genres. While his musical preference in worship is deeply liturgical, and also in sync with the traditioned creativity of Taize and Iona, outside of worship he also likes to “rock.” Along with far too many books, he owns too many guitars, and enjoys at least an annual reunion (for fundraiser concerts) with his post-middle-aged rock music group (all clergy), “The HighPatheticals.” Duane also enjoys trying to golf, and occasionally taking care of his Mississippi River view acreage and home, in Princeton, Iowa, where he (other than when in Houston) lives with his wife Joen, and Fiddich, their West Highland Terrier. Duane and Joen have two adult children and six grandchildren.
Duane, Joen, and Fiddich welcome you into their lives and the community of Christ the King, as they are so grateful to be welcomed into yours and this blessed place!