Maria E. Erling

 Maria E. Erling
Address61 Seminary Ridge
Gettysburg,, PA 17325

Associate Professor of the History of Christianity in North America and Global Missions and Director of Teaching Parish, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg

B.A., Augustana College, 1978
M.Div., Yale Divinity School, 1981
Th.D., Harvard Divinity School, 1996

The Rev. Dr. Maria E. Erling has taught the History of Christianity in North America and Global Mission at the Seminary since 1999.

During the pursuit of her doctoral degree from Harvard University she conducted research in congregational life and immigration in New England. Her dissertation was entitled “Crafting an Urban Piety: Swedish American Religious Life in New England.”

She has served parishes in New England: Trinity Lutheran Church, Worcester, MA and Christ the King, Nashua, NH, and supervised urban ministry for the New England Synod, 1985-1987. She also served the synod as its ecumenical officer 1991-1999. Dr. Erling has served on the executive board of the Augustana Heritage Association, on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) Archive Advisory Committee, and on the board of the Lutheran Historical Conference.

Dr. Erling co-edited and contributed to The Role of the Bishop: Changing Models for a Global Church, Lutheran University Press (2001). She also wrote chapters for Lutherans Today: American Lutheran Identity in the 21st Century (Eerdmans, 2003), Witness at the Crossroads (2001) and The Augustana Heritage: Recollections, Perspectives, and Prospects (1998), as well as chapters in recent books on Spirituality, Swedish Immigration, and Ministry.

As a part of her ongoing interest in the way that American Lutheranism has developed, Dr. Erling is completing a book with co-author Mark Granquist on the history of the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, one of the churches that eventually merged into the ELCA. The fascinating history of American Lutheranism, with its many mergers of separate ethnic churches, and its complex engagement with contemporary American culture, gives her plenty of material to work with as she teaches seminarians how to understand, appreciate, and extend the Lutheran tradition to meet the challenges of society today.

Dr. Erling has become known around campus for hosting an annual fish night and bringing back croquet to the campus for the first time since A.R. Wentz regularly engaged in the sport. She lives in Gettysburg with her husband John Spangler, who serves on the seminary staff and their two daughters, Marta and Johanna.

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