Many immigrants have never been exposed to the Lutheran church and wonder what is special and significant about the Lutheran tradition. What are features of the Lutheran tradition that should be highlighted as we introduce our church to them?

Professor Rev. Phillip Brandt currently serves Concordia University as the Chairman of the Division of Theology. He was graduated from Concordia Seminary in 1991 and served parishes in Salt Lake City, Utah and Roseburg, Oregon prior to joining the CU faculty in 2005. He has also been privileged to teach at the informal Lutheran seminary in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and present to the pastoral conferences of the India Evangelical Lutheran Church. He is active in the Leadership Advancement Process of the Northwest District, currently hosting “Sunday’s Sermon,” an online pericope study for licensed Deacons and Pastors. He has also taught courses for the EIIT program of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and distance colloquy courses for Concordia, Seward. He is married to Stephanie (Nordling) Brandt and they raise their three children in Portland, Oregon, not far from the Concordia campus.

Rev. Berhanu Seyoum belongs to one of the oldest families in Ethiopia. He studied the book of Psalms and the gospel of John under a priest tutor and later attended private schools run by American protestant missionaries, European and American Jesuits. Following Jr. High, he spent many hours in his father’s study reading the classics which had him struggling with questions about the meaning of his existence and the existence of God. When communism came to Ethiopia, Berhanu was branded as an enemy of the state since he was not part of the communist youth camp. He became a refugee in his own country. During this time he was exposed to the unseen world of the spirit, which broke his upbringing and thinking pattern that relied on human reason and wisdom only as the ultimate judge of everything that existed. Despite exposure to Muslim and occult practices, and thanks to prayers of his sister, he became a believer in Jesus Christ.

Berhanu left Ethiopia in 1994 and continued his university study in the Netherlands where he received a BA in International Business Management and Marketing, studied Computer Science and Software Engineering, and was recruited as a computer programmer. Berhanu moved to Seattle, WA in 2003. He received a Masters in Theology in 2006 and then Master of Divinity in 2008. He was ordained a Lutheran Pastor Missouri Synod in 2009. Berhanu and his wife, Mimi, and their two children, (Grace and Gideon) live in Seattle. He is a church planter and pastor for Mekane Yesus Lutheran Church in Seattle.

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