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THE PHILADELPHIA SEMINARY MAGAZINE
Voices of a Changing Church
Message from the dean
ENVISIONING THE FUTURE OF THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION
This issue’s academic focus, featuring a lead article by President Philip D.W. Krey and my editorial, takes a close look at the future of theological education, and all the seminary is doing to remain appropriate academically in this challenging time. This issue features stories from Prof. David Grafton about our reaccreditation process, alumni, a seminarian, and Trustees. — J. Paul Rajashekar
Theological education in North America has undergone change and will continue to do so, reflecting shifts in church and society. Every decade or so, the faculty at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) undertakes a curriculum review and introduces a “new” curriculum for the MDiv and MAR degrees. You might ask, “What’s wrong with our existing curriculum?” Actually, our current curriculum has served us well since 2004, when it was introduced with an overarching theme of “Public Theology.” Judging by the assessment data, the curriculum has fulfilled its objectives. The effectiveness of our curriculum is measured through various instruments, including measures of student learning outcomes at various stages of their study. The Curriculum and Assessment Committee oversees the effectiveness of the curriculum, proposing changes when necessary, and reports the assessment data regularly to the faculty and the Board of Trustees. Dr. Mirnalini Sebastian is the Director of Assessment and Institutional Research, and compiles our assessment data gleaned not only from students but also faculty, alumni, bishops, contextual education supervisors, and judicatories. Our objectives include making sure that our graduates are not only well-prepared academically, professionally, and spiritually, but also are well-equipped with pastoral skills and fit to undertake the challenging task of ministry in today’s world. Assessment is an ongoing process. We spent the academic 2010-2011 listening to various voices in special convocations about our curriculum and how it is being taught. Once in a while, when LTSP alumni visit the seminary, someone will ask me: “What theologians are you reading these days in Systematic Theology?” They don’t often recognize the names I cite. They were expecting me to say, Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, Emil Bruner, Soren Kierkegaard, and the like. I remind them that we live in a different century. The challenges and issues we face and the contexts for life today are vastly different from what theologians once experienced. The necessity to adapt is inevitable. This past fall we embarked on yet another curriculum review. Assumptions and objectives that framed our existing curriculum must be rethought given the changes we are experiencing in church and society, such as declining membership in our congregations, growing numbers of un-churched in society, affordability of a full-time pastor, pervasive biblical illiteracy in society, increased cost of theological education, dwindling financial support from our church constituencies, increased debt load of our graduates, declining number of candidates for ministry, and the emerging reality of religious and cultural pluralism in our midst. LTSP has continually sought to reinvent itself by broadening the range and appeal of theological education in the present context. We recently introduced two new degrees: Master of Arts in Public Leadership (MAPL) was begun in 2009 in collaboration with Fox School of Business and the School of Social Work Administration of Temple University in Philadelphia. This degree is intended to attract students interested in Christian ministry (especially service to social ministry organizations), but who are not seeking ordination. Valuing the importance of qualified teachers in theological institutions we also launched a PhD program in Public Theology in 2005. Committed to Christian ecumenism, we have established a “Methodist Advisory Committee” with faculty member Dr. Karyn Wiseman as director. LTSP is certified by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church (UMC) as a recognized institution for UMC students. An “Advisory Committee for Anglican Studies,” with faculty member Dr. Storm Swain as director, has been in existence for several years. These initiatives, together with the Urban Theological Institute (UTI) program (now over 30 years old!) and geared toward the African American constituency, are intended to provide support for students from a variety of church traditions. We’ve responded to congregational needs by adding concentrations to our MDiv and MAR curricula helpful for these times: Metropolitan/ Urban Ministry, Black Church, Multicultural Ministry/Mission, Latino, and recently, Interfaith Studies. We have made efforts to offer “online” courses in collaboration with The Lancaster Theological Seminary. In addition, our curriculum offers “Spanish for Ministry.” Recognizing the reality that Spanish is becoming the second language in the U.S., we are offering “Basic Spanish” this spring semester for students, faculty, and staff. continued on inside back cover
EDITOR/DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
Merri L. Brown
John Kahler Mark A. Staples
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John Kahler Maria Fumai Dietrich Roxi Kringle
Embracing the Future Strategically: Listening to the Voices of a Changing Church ........................................................12 Chair Perspective: Education That Respects both Tradition and Change ........................................................................................13 Trustee Perspective: Helping Seminarians Embrace the World ..............14 Alumni Perspective: While We Wait, As We Work..............................................16 Student Perspective: Vocational Challenges and Opportunity ........................17 The Future Shape of Theological Education ................................................................18 Global Perspective: Speaking the Universal Language of the Gospel ........................19 Two Faculty Perspectives: The Hunger Crisis: A “Walking the Walk” Public Theology Approach ..........................................................................................................20 An Exhaustive Self-Study: Why? ......................................................................................22
Merri L. Brown Lois La Croix David D. Grafton Louise Johnson John Kahler Philip D.W. Krey John V. Puotinen J. Paul Rajashekar
PS, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119 Telephone: 215.248.6311 or 1.800.286.4616 Email: communications@Ltsp.edu Visit us online: Ltsp.edu
PS is a publication of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, and is distributed without charge to alumni/ae, faculty, staff, and friends of the seminary.
Message from the Dean ....................................................Inside front cover Offerings ............................................................................................................................2 Alumni News ........................................................................................................24 News and Notes..........................................................................................26 Faculty/Staff Activities ..................................................................26 Passages/In Memoriam ........................................................28 Philanthropy..................................................................29 Around Admissions ..............................32
© Copyright 2012 The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia Volume 94 Number 1
Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia seeks to educate and form public leaders who are committed to developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith for engagement in the world.
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ON THE FRONT COVER: President Phil Krey is featured, listening to the voices of a changing church. PAGE 20 PAGE 22
Muhlenberg 300: September 6 Celebration
What a birthday! Tribute to Patriarch Henry Muhlenberg recalls a proud legacy that launched the Lutheran Church in colonial times
Keynoter Martin Marty urged listeners to be inspired by Muhlenberg’s organizing and gathering ideas as a means to think about how to creatively renew and energize today’s church
If only the Rev. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, father of the Lutheran church in North America, could have been there to see the celebration of his 300th birthday party at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) September 6, 2011. Had he been present, he certainly would have been familiar with the drenching, windswept rains he regularly described in his journals and that accompanied his travels through the colonies and beyond to found some 115 congregations located from Savannah, Georgia, to Lunenberg, Nova Scotia. But the inclement weather hardly provided a damper for the day. The highlights? Two sets of remarks were delivered by internationally regarded scholar, the Rev. Dr. Martin Marty, the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the University of Chicago Divinity School, who in his keynote explored the topic, “Henry Melchior Muhlenberg and the Current American Churchscape.” What was a key idea useful for today? “Henry Melchior Muhlenberg was a good example of ‘exemplum,’ one who defines, lights and invites cultivation,” Marty said. In his diaries are found stories of “unimaginable travails, difficulties, physical pain and illness, occasions for disappointment,” Marty noted. But overall, Marty said, Muhlenberg was less into whining about his circumstances than he was passionate about being a minister of the Gospel and an organizer of the church. Marty suggested today’s believers can study and practice the Muhlenberg example as inspiration to “gather and organize” in our time. Marty was introduced by one of his former students, the Rev. Dr. Jon Pahl of the seminary faculty. A stirring opening worship sermon from Bishop Roy E. Riley of the New Jersey Synod described the work of three pioneers through time to explain what he called “…the spirit’s reach of grace and peace that extends beyond even our best imagination.” In November 1891, James Augustin Scherer came to St. John’s Lutheran Church in Charleston, South Carolina determined to serve as a missionary. In 1892 he became the first Lutheran missionary to Japan, “planting” the Japan Evangelical Lutheran
Church. St. John’s, Riley explained, traces its beginnings to 150 years earlier when Muhlenberg arrived in North America and “planted” St. John’s in 1742. Three weeks later against all advice and determined to carry out his call from Halle in Germany to serve three struggling Pennsylvania churches, Muhlenberg boarded an ill-equipped sloop in November for a dangerous, storm-tossed journey to Philadelphia. Riley cited many Muhlenberg journal entries about the trip. Here’s one: “During the past night the wind was so violent we sailed more under the water than on it. The crew lay all over us. Oh, how long the minutes and quarter hours were for me! Around me I had the soaked sailors and dreadful blasphemers, from above the rain fell on me, from below and from the sides the seawater came into my bed. In my stomach the fear of vomiting tormented; in my blood the fever raged, on my body preyed the vermin which were an accumulation of my own and those of the crew. Only one thing comforted and sustained me in patience, and that was the thought that if the ship cracked, it would go down and carry my wretched, sinful body down into the depths and let my soul come to my Redeemer…” “Those of you now serving the church and preparing for it are not likely in your worst days to experience ones like these,” Riley said. His sermonic advice included recalling in Scripture the three times denial before Caiaphas by Peter of knowing Jesus. “This denial was the polar opposite of the missionary zeal” exhibited by Muhlenberg, Riley said. “But in the Gospel we learn that even one who has turned away will be received again by the Lord…The experience of grace and forgiveness is related to the mission of ‘feeding my lambs’, the mission offered Peter by Jesus,” Riley preached. This past July, Riley described sitting in a pew during worship some 110 miles to the north of Charleston in Lexington, South Carolina, with his 88-year old mother to hear the stories of the Rev. Yasunori Tajima of today’s Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church. Tajima described his experience earlier in the year of having been invited by Buddhist and Shinto priests to preside at ceremonies of cremation of hundreds of unidentified remains being shipped to Tokyo in the aftermath of the catastrophic tsunami. “We stood side by side for
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hours saying prayers I knew were being heard by Jesus,” Tajima told the congregation. “It was incredible to feel the mercy of God there in the midst of such suffering and grief.” Riley’s conclusion? With what was achieved then and now through the lives of Muhlenberg, Scherer and Tajima, “who can imagine what else God can accomplish?” Four captivating workshops were led by three LTSP faculty members and a Temple University doctoral student best known for his archeological work at the Henry Melchior Muhlenberg House in Trappe, Pennsylvania. Krauth Memorial Library Director Karl Krueger discussed “From Halle to Philadelphia: Have Call Will Travel.” The Rev. Dr. Jon Pahl, professor of the History of Christianity in North America, explored “The Muhlenberg Matrix: Muhlenberg’s Ministry with Women and Their Influences on Him.” The Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert talked about “Henry Melchior Muhlenberg: America’s First Pastor-Bishop.” Wengert is the Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Reformation History and editor/translator of two volumes of Muhlenberg’s Correspondence. “Discovering the Domestic Sphere in the Muhlenberg Summer Kitchen” was described by the Temple archeologist, Louis Farrell. A few sample snippets from two of the workshops: Krueger talked about the risks inherent in the 14-weeks Atlantic crossing Muhlenberg made aboard a packet sailing ship where one-third of the passengers and crew could expect to die when provisions and water would run out. Contrary winds extended the trip greatly, but Krueger described how passionately determined Muhlenberg was to pursue the ministry in America he had been called to, initially serving congregations in Trappe, Germantown and New Hanover in Pennsylvania in a mission of faith that grew to so much more. Krueger said Muhlenberg brought to the young American church a constitution
in 1762, a hymnal and liturgy so that the church might grow and survive. “Muhlenberg did not have an ‘edifice complex’ (preoccupation with buildings),” Krueger said. Wengert described pastor and bishop Muhlenberg as one who “lived among the people” in his organizational ministry. “He was someone trained in the best traditions of his time” in Germany despite having hailed from a family of simple means. In America, Muhlenberg “was never simply a parish pastor, but he was also a missionary and Evangelical Bishop focused on the zip code of the day. He trained believers to be pastors. He lived and worked with the people around him.” Muhlenberg wrote the first constitution of the young Ministerium of Pennsylvania, an organizational structure of the church he was gathering into place. And he preached that church people are interconnected and interdependent upon each other and that having an aggregate of congregations was crucial to survival of the young church. Wengert said that as passionate as Muhlenberg was for his ministry he was not without his “warts.” Muhlenberg frequently wrote to his benefactors in Germany that his ministry was woefully underfunded — that his congregants were more poor than their Mennonite and Moravian counterparts and thus his colonial churches rested on shaky foundations. Despite his comments about other “competing” churches, Muhlenberg maintained an ecumenical spirit, Wengert said. He added that Muhlenberg suffered from depression at times. “He had a heart for people but constantly worried about finances,” Wengert noted. “The challenges and difficulties Muhlenberg faced were absolutely no different from what our churches face today,” he concluded. Proclamations celebrating Muhlenberg’s legacy were brought to the seminary from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, represented by Barbara Frankel, director of the Pennsylvania
continued on next page
Bishop Roy Riley: “Even one who has turned away will be received again by the Lord!”
President Krey with Mayor Nutter. In remarks he “rescinded” the 1917 rejection of the campus‘s Muhlenberg statue.
Dr. Martin Marty: Encouraged believers today to use Muhlenberg‘s inspiration “to gather and organize.”
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Muhlenberg 300: September 6 Celebration continued… Historic and Museum Commission, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Corbett’s proclamation noted that a Muhlenberg son, Peter, once served as lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and that Muhlenberg’s pioneering efforts to found an organized church in North America was part of a freedom of religion legacy “we continue to cherish” in Pennsylvania. Frankel announced the approval of a Pennsylvania grant of $1.25 million to fund a connector between The Brossman Learning Center and its archives and the Krauth Memorial Library. Nutter’s personally delivered proclamation celebrated the educational traditions of Muhlenberg College and LTSP, co-planners of the day along with local Muhlenberg-founded churches, and he paid tribute to the seminary for the central role it plays as a Mt. Airy landmark. Nutter especially highlighted Muhlenberg’s concern that young people of his day have a chance for the kind of education he was able to obtain as a young person. He referenced the Muhlenberg Statue at the LTSP driveway entrance, taking note that Philadelphia’s leaders in 1917 rejected locating the statue on city grounds because of hard feelings toward Germans due to World War I. Nutter drew a rousing, standing ovation from 190 banquet attendees when, as part of the proclamation, he said that he was “hereby rescinding” the 1917 rejection of the statue by the City of Philadelphia and the “great intolerance” represented by the rejection. Attending the festivities was a direct descendant of Muhlenberg — Daniel Muhlenberg, a self-described rock band drummer who belongs to Advent Lutheran Church in New York City and who works as a sexton in two congregations to help support his musical endeavors. Clearly moved by the birthday spectacle, Daniel Muhlenberg told an interviewer, “I am surprised
to learn about what a man of the people Henry Muhlenberg was. I always thought he was kind of an aristocrat. It’s truly inspiring to me to learn about what he went through and what he accomplished. I’m so glad I could be part of this.” Daniel described himself as a sixth or seventh generation descendant of Henry’s and as most closely related to Gotthilf Henry Ernest Muhlenberg, a botanist who Daniel said was Henry’s youngest son. Muhlenberg and his wife, Anna Maria (Weiser) had 11 children, seven of whom survived to adulthood. Bringing greetings during the evening banquet from Muhlenberg’s birthplace in Einbeck, Germany was Dr. Uwe-Jens Saltzer, who devotes his energies toward historical preservation in Muhlenberg’s birthplace. Saltzer explained that Muhlenberg’s parents were baptized in St. Mary’s Parish in the old town, relating closely to a parish structure that has not survived. “We send you kindest regards from the town that had such a creative son. We are proud of what stemmed from inside our walls, that we laid a strong cornerstone that led to a strong Lutheran Church in America.” The day was co-sponsored by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Reinhard Schwartz, MD, and his wife Helga, MD, of Morristown, New Jersey. A giving opportunity, the Henry Melchior Muhlenberg Legacy Scholarship, was introduced during the banquet by the Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey, seminary president, and the Rev. John V. Puotinen, vice president of the LTSP Office for Philanthropy. The scholarship will be offered each year to a student who embodies the characteristics that defined Muhlenberg. Preference will be accorded graduates of Muhlenberg College or members of congregations Muhlenberg founded. In brief remarks appealing for gifts, Puotinen explained that it costs a seminarian about $31,000
More than 200 participants enjoyed the celebration.
Led by Prof. Jon Pahl, the Groove Daemons provided musical entertainment.
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annually to attend seminary with about 40 percent of that figure in grants providing significant relief, thanks to donor gifts. Anyone desiring to make a gift to underwrite the scholarship can donate online by going to Ltsp.edu/muhlenberglegacy, or by calling the Office for Philanthropy at 215.248.6316. On display during the day was an exhibition entitled “Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Patriarch of American Lutheranism,” a presentation detailing Muhlenberg’s life and legacy. Developed by the The Francke Foundations of Halle, Germany, the exhibit includes 20 colorful banners and is traveling the country. Qualified institutions interested in staging the exhibit, on permanent loan to the seminary, may obtain use of it for the cost of shipping by contacting Carrie Schwab at cschwab@Ltsp.edu. A dinner presenter was playwright Steve Seyfried who briefly described his stage play based on Muhlenberg’s journal entries. Seyfried read moving excerpts from Muhlenberg writings that are featured in the play, entitled “Providence.” The play, free and open to the public, will be performed in seven congregational settings in the near future. The dinner and day concluded with the singing of a powerful hymn, “Now Rest Beneath Night’s Shadow,” composed by Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676). The hymn was sung by Muhlenberg and his wife, Anna Maria, as their son, Samuel, lay dying of pneumonia in their arms. Karl Krueger emceed the dinner. Featured at the reception at the bookstore table of LTSP Books & Gifts was a figurine of Muhlenberg developed through a partnership with Byers Choice Ltd., in recognition of the Tercentenary. The figurines may be purchased for $60. To order a figurine, email hrodrick-schnaath@Ltsp.edu.
Planning for the Muhlenberg Tercentenary took many months. During the dinner Krueger paid tribute to them. The planners included from the seminary family Karl Krueger, Natalie Hand, Tim Wengert, Jon Pahl, John Kahler, Carrie Schwab, and Ellen Anderson. Planning input from regional Muhlenberg congregations came from Herb Michel, Richard Buckmaster, Jean Godsall-Myers, James Knisely, Martha Kriebel, Carl Shankweiler, Karl-John Stone, John Van Haneghan, and Lee Wesner, who served as volunteer photographer for the event. Key volunteers from Muhlenberg College contributing to the planning were President Randy Helm and past chaplain Peter Bredlau. Special guests for the day included Bishop Claire Burkat of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, who presided at the opening worship; Bishop Samuel Zeiser of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, who gave the dinner invocation, and the Honorable Connie Peck, mayor of the Borough of Trappe, where Muhlenberg resided during his colonial ministry. The opening worship also served as the occasion for launching the seminary’s academic year. During his opening remarks as the service began President Krey paid brief tribute to Muhlenberg and referenced the Muhlenberg Statue, dedicated nearly 100 years before the celebration. Assisting ministers during worship in the Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel were Leslie Scanlon and Timothy Hearn, who serve as sacristans. Music during worship was led by Michael Krentz, the seminary’s director of music ministries. The Rev. Dr. Jayakiran Sebastian is the seminary chaplain.
An exhibit describing Muhlenberg’s life was provided by the Francke Foundations.
Muhlenberg figurine developed for the occasion of LTSP’s Muhlenberg 300 celebration through a partnership with Byers Choice Ltd.
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CONGREGATION DAY Celebrating the Life of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg: Something for Everyone
Congregation Day, held this past October 15, celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of North American Lutheran Church organizer Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, had a little something for everyone. If you enjoy listening to thought-provoking, entertaining accounts of larger-than-life figures, then the Rev. Dr. Karl Krueger’s (Associate Professor, History of Christianity, LTSP) stirring lecture on the life and sea-tossed trials of Muhlenberg was right up your alley. Krueger directs the Krauth Memorial Library on the campus of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), which hosted this second initiative recalling Muhlenberg’s life. If you were part of the German Evangelical Lutheran Conference in North America, then the day was an ideal highlight to this year’s conference gathering. If you were a young confirmand from Faith Lutheran Church in Mt. Penn, near Reading, Pennsylvania, and you think in terms of Tweets and texting, then getting to look over Muhlenberg’s 250year-old journals featuring his scripty handwriting with a quill pen might have opened up a “new” old world for you. Plus, you got a chance to try journaling the old-fashioned way in The Lutheran Archives Center in The Brossman Learning Center at LTSP. That exercise was led by the Rev. Ellen Anderson, Director of Alumni and Church Relations for LTSP’s Office for Philanthropy. If you appreciate an important overseas perspective, then the presentation by Dr. Thomas Muller-Bahlke, Director of the Halle Foundations, was for you. Halle, Germany was the place that sponsored Muhlenberg’s missionary exploits to North America beginning in 1742. Muller-Bahlke described the history and impressive work of the Halle Foundations today, with its sponsorship of four schools, including the teaching of gardening and music, and its remarkable library. Finally, if you are captivated by history, then the bus trip to Trappe in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania probably made your day. You got to hear the Rev. Herbert H. Michel, DD, pastor emeritus of Augustus Lutheran Church, tell the story of how farmers, who lived in simple log cabins with dirt floors, helped Muhlenberg construct the church building in 1743. Augustus’s original church is the oldest Lutheran building still in continuous worship use today. The building (no electricity, heat or airconditioning, just as Muhlenberg would have known it) is only used for worship between Father’s Day and around Labor Day, plus for Christmas Eve worship, where candles furnish the only scant warmth. The rest of the year the congregation praises God in the “new” 1850 building next door.
“History detectives” at Augustus Old Trappe Church.
Krueger’s lively presentation to about 70 people attending the day traced Muhlenberg’s birth in Einbeck in Northwest Germany’s Hannover on Sept. 6, 1711, and his historic career in the colonies. He described Muhlenberg’s study of theology at the University of Gottingen, and his efforts with classmates to teach disadvantaged children how to read, write, and learn arithmetic. In Halle in Middle Germany, Muhlenberg spent the year 1738 at an orphanage for 2,000 children, which featured a school and pharmacy and continues a vital mission in education today. During that time Muhlenberg was influenced greatly by August Hermann Francke (1663-1727), and gained a global perspective as well as a knowledge of an important approach to education and social work. Francke’s son, Gotthilf August Francke, was a considerable influence too. Then came Muhlenberg’s call to the agricultural community of Grosshennersdorf, east of Halle, in 1739, following his ordination in Leipzig. He was the assistant pastor until the patron for the congregation died. “Henry was downsized. His salary was reduced,” Krueger explained. “And he began to reconsider his possibilities.” On Muhlenberg’s 30th birthday, he learned he was to be sponsored as pastor to a new land. In May of 1742, he got his letter of call for three years. Of course, once in North America Muhlenberg never returned home, but first he had to get to Philadelphia (via Savannah) from London in what Krueger described as a harrowing trip aboard a packet ship with cargo and 10 cannons, the vessel pushed in zig-zaggy directions by ornery, contrary winds and which ran out of food and water before reaching the East Coast of the colonies. There was another complication, once Muhlenberg announced his presence to the three congregations he had been called to serve in Philadelphia, continued on next page
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REFLECTIONS ONTHE 2011 FALL FORUM
BYTHE REV. DR. CLAIR ANDERSON What does Henry Melchior Muhlenberg have in common with Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg? At the November 7, 2011 Fall Forum at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), an animated, engaging LTSP professor, the Rev. Dr. J. Jayakiran Sebastian, acknowledged that both men were sent out as missionaries by the University of Halle, Germany, to spread Lutheran pietism beyond Europe. In 1706, Ziegenbalg brought the message of salvation through Jesus Christ to South India as the first Protestant missionary, sponsored by the Royal House of Denmark. Realizing the importance of understanding the Indian people before converting them, he engaged them in disputations and published his findings in the book Detailed Description of South Indian Society, showing their need for the Gospel. The book had an impact upon Europe and may have inspired Muhlenberg to seek a missionary appoint-
Congregation Day continued…
Providence, and New Hanover (Falckner’s Swamp). “No one had told them he was coming,” Krueger said. Muhlenberg then had the indelicate task not only of introducing himself and his credentials, but also of unseating his less-qualified predecessors in the three pulpits. Then began his remarkable decades of ministry in the colonies, organizing more than 100 congregations from Savannah, Georgia, to Lunenberg, Nova Scotia. As both Krueger and Michel explained, Muhlenberg was really like a modern-day Bishop for the young church. “He established a constitution for the church, a liturgy and a hymnal, and reviewed the qualifications for those seeking to be pastors,” Michel told visitors to Augustus Church. Krueger told his audience at LTSP that 280 people signed the young church’s constitution in October of 1762, “a declaration of interdependence signed 14 years before the Declaration of Independence in the colonies.” During the 1780s came the liturgy and in 1786 came the hymnal. The opening worship for the day was led by the Rev. Martha Kriebel, United Church of Christ pastor for New Hanover Union Church. The closing worship at Augustus Church was led by the Rev. John H. Van Haneghan, pastor of St. James Lutheran Church in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.
ment to South India. However, Halle responded to the need for pastoral leadership among the infant congregations along the eastern seaboard of America by sending Muhlenberg there. His ministry is described in his Journals and in his Notebook of a Colonial Clergyman. Ziegenbalg imported a printing press so he could have the Bible printed in the Tamal language, as well as a Tamal grammar book and dictionary. Dr. Sebastian began his afternoon presentation with a touching personal story about the impact of missionaries on his own life. The tragic death of his Hindu grandfather led his grandmother to seek refuge in a Christian mission in India, where Dr. Sebastian’s father was raised. As a teenager, his father cranked a missionary’s Victrola and listened to J.S. Bach records. When asked what name he would take, his father requested “Sebastian.” Moving from mission past to mission now, Dr. Sebastian raised the question, “What is the paradigm or motivation for missiology today?” The last 50-60 years have been dominated by Missio Dei, or the mission of God. A theological critique of this paradigm is needed and begins with the question who is responsible for mission? He advocates a new Missio Humanitas, or mission to God, which takes seriously the human condition as well as human responsibility for mission in a pluralistic, post-colonial world. What does the Bible mean for people in our society now? Mission to God forces us to contemplate who God really is and who we are in relation to neighbors we have, not those we might choose. What are the consequences of our choices and actions? How does mission relate to the victims of globalism, those who have suffered and continue to suffer? When asked what mission to God would look like, Dr. Sebastian drew upon a Buddhist image of the person who reaches bliss, but waits to cross over so he or she can help others to cross. Jesus accompanies us on the pilgrim journey as our guide, but instead of going on ahead of us, stands along side and encourages us to pass on. We too serve as guides pointing to God. There was a good question and answer exchange at each session. Dr. Sebastian’s spirited, personal, relational style was wellreceived by those present who greatly appreciated being opened to an unknown area in a stimulating, thought-provoking manner. Dr. Sebastian was born in Bangalore, India, and educated there and in Germany. He served several congregations in India and taught at an Indian seminary for 10 years before joining the faculty at LTSP in 2008 as H. George Anderson Professor of Mission and Cultures, and Director of the Multicultural Mission Resource Center. The Rev. Dr. Clair Anderson is a retired ELCA pastor and LTSP alumnus, living in Hanover, Pennsylvania. He tells his connection to the Muhlenberg Legacy on the Muhlenberg 300 website at Ltsp.edu/MuhlenbergStories.
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MARITIME MINISTRY AMONG “LITTLEKNOWN” BI-VOCATIONAL OR “DUAL CALL ” OPPORTUNITIES ACROSSTHE U.S.
Some opportunities for bi-vocational or “dual call” part-time ministry are little known across the church. Bivocational situations involve someone working part-time as a pastor and part-time in another vocation, such as teaching or engineering. Dual call situations involve a pastor or other rostered leader called to two professional ministry settings at the same time. As economic realities strain the resources of churches and other initiatives in a position to call a pastor or other rostered leader, bivocational and dual calls are becoming more commonplace. An example of such an opportunity is maritime ministry, which has some 150 locations around the country, including Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) in Philadelphia, and Seafarer’s International House (SIH) in New York City. Both ministries offer personal support, encouragement, and advocacy to seafarers from other homelands. The seafarers they contact face many challenges. They are away from their families for many months at a time. Tight port security and stringent working conditions leave most little or no opportunity for even brief shore leave. Recently, five first-year seminarians from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) were part of a firsttime visiting field work experience to SCI. They were Susan Loney of Wilmington, Delaware; Kerri Walsh of Medford, New York; Daniel Spigelmyer of McClure, Pennsylvania; Alexa Epstein of Philadelphia, and Rachel Anderson of Newington, Connecticut. They toured the Maple Mighty, a steel cargo ship from China delivering goods to the Camden-Beckett Terminal in New Jersey along the Delaware River. They found out the 168-year-old SCI initiative, an ecumenical and interfaith ministry, serves 32,000 seafarers annually and visits 1,500 ships in a given year in the Philadelphia Port’s 31 terminals along 125 miles of Delaware River shoreline — from Fairless Hills to Marcus Hook in Pennsylvania and from Burlington to Paulsboro in New Jersey. They learned the vast array of cargo ships bring fruits, cocoa, oil products, steel, wood, and gypsum to make sheetrock to Philadelphia, and that 95 percent of goods made use of by regional citizenry come to consumers by water. The seminarians were hosted by the Rev. James Von Dreele, an Episcopal priest who serves as executive director of SCI; the Rev. William Rex, a Lutheran chaplain to SCI on call from Seafarers International House in New York City, and Mark Staples, seminary writer for LTSP, and a volunteer shipboard visitor for SCI. Arrangements for the visit were made by the Rev. Dr. Charles Leonard, a one-time U.S. Navy Chaplain who supervises contextual education at LTSP. Epstein summed up some of the thoughts of the seminarians by remarking about the “complexity” of those who participate in the life of the Port of Philadelphia. “All the different goods that come through the port, and all the agencies that are a part of the work — the ministry of SCI brings a humanizing dimension to it all.” “I very much appreciate LTSP’s Dr. Charles Leonard’s interest in helping seminarians explore a dimension of ministry that is very much below the radar screen in the church,” explained Von Dreele, who serves as chaplain to the Port of Philadelphia. “I came to maritime ministry somewhat by accident but have found it to be extremely challenging and fulfilling. It is a unique model of ministry in which the local maritime business community expects and demands that the church be a part of its life. There is a definite synergy of values between the church and business for the sake of seafarers who are often quite vulnerable. As many port chaplains are reaching retirement age, there will be opportunities for younger clergy to consider this as a vocational choice. In general, maritime ministry organizations are looking for people who as chaplains will be entrepreneurial, self-starters, and risk-takers.” continued on next page
Five LTSP scholars took part in the first ever field work visit from the seminary to the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) September 24, 2011. From left are Pastor Bill Rex, Lutheran Chaplain to the Port of Philadelphia, called by Seafarers International House in New York City; seminarians Daniel Spigelmyer, Susan Loney, Rachel Anderson, Kerri Walsh, Alexa Epstein, and the Rev. James Von Dreele, SCI executive director and chaplain to the Port of Philadelphia. The seminarians learned of SCI’s ministry of hospitality to 32,000 seafarers visiting the Philadelphia Port each year. They also visited the crew of the Chineseflagged cargo ship, Maple Mighty, seen behind the seminarians. The ship was delivering steel to the Camden-Beckett Terminal in New Jersey.
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SEMINARY HONORS STATE SENATOR LEANNA WASHINGTON
The inscription beside a newly unveiled portrait of State Senator LeAnna Washington (D-PA 4th Senatorial) said simply, “Without her support and that of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, this facility would not have been possible.” The facility in question is The Brossman Learning Center at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), and the portrait hangs outside of Brossman’s Benbow Hall, which hosts scores of community events each year. Washington spearheaded efforts to secure funds from the Commonwealth to help pay for the structure. Sen. Washington, whose district includes the seminary and the surrounding community, has supported the seminary’s development of several facilities including The Brossman Center. Most recently, the senator secured a $250,000 grant to aid in construction of a connector between The Brossman Center and the century-old Krauth Memorial Library, giving handicap access to this historic and important resource. While integral to the academic work of the seminary, both the library and The Brossman Center are open to the public, with the library often used by members of the community for research, and The Brossman Center hosting a variety of community events. Perhaps the prayer petitions by Washington’s pastor, the Rev. J. Louis Felton of Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ, best summed up both the spirit of the occasion and the momentous community partnership with the seminary that led to the gift of state funds. “We have separation between church and state, but we do not have divorce,” Felton said. “We still have visitation rights.” Those visitation rights were also referenced in remarks by Dan Muroff, former president of East Mt. Airy Neighbors, a community organization, when Muroff referred to The Brossman Learning Center as “the Town Hall in Mt. Airy.”
Leanna Washington, with portrait, is flanked, from left, by President Krey, the Rev, John Richter, chair of the LTSP Board, and Dan Muroff of East Mt. Airy Neighbors.
Maritime Ministry continued…
Pastor Rex is serving a dual call. His other “hat” has him serving as pastor of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Ferndale, Pennsylvania. Rex and Von Dreele both say maritime ministry is truly “incarnational.” “We provide the only hospitality most seafarers receive,” Rex said. “That makes us the face of Christ to them, and also the face of America.” Information on Lutheran seafarer chaplaincies around the U.S. and Puerto Rico may be found at the web site for Lutheran Advocates for Maritime Mission (LAMM) where the Rev. Martha McCracken is President of the Board of Directors: lammworld.org. She may be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In brief remarks paying tribute to Washington, LTSP President Philip D.W. Krey said, “No public official has done more for this school than you have.” Krey described as an example of Washington’s life of public service her passion on behalf of victims of domestic violence, and described an event exemplifying the seminary’s partnership with the community — an annual banquet hosted at LTSP on their behalf and organized by Washington. “These are challenging times for the seminary and challenging times for political leaders,” said the Rev. John Richter, chair of the seminary’s Board of Trustees, who expressed thanks to Washington on behalf of the Trustees. “We are grateful for your partnership and generous commitment to do what you have done for this little corner of God’s kingdom.” After the portrait was unveiled, a grateful and visibly moved Washington, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from LTSP two years ago, said the initiative to raise support for the seminary was an example of her low profile commitment over 18 years in office to “getting things done” in the name of public service. “As soon as I met President Krey, I came to appreciate his vision for the seminary and its relationship to serve the community,” she said. “And I felt an immediate connection to that vision and a desire to help make his dream for that vision of a broader community relationship become a reality.” She cited the seminary as an example of putting public funds to good and visible use in terms of the community. The Rev. Dr. Jayakiran Sebastian, chaplain of the seminary, led a brief religious service during the event, featuring the prayer of gratitude for the seminary and the service of Sen. Washington delivered by Pastor Felton.
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JOHN AND ROBERT ASHER HONORED WITH SOLI DEO GLORIA AWARD AT PHILADELPHIA SEMINARY’S ANNUAL ADVENT VESPERS DINNER
For noted candy executive and philanthropist John L. “Jack” Asher, Jr., the dinner honoring him and his brother, Robert, featured a big surprise. Asher and his brother were this year’s recipients of the Soli Deo Gloria Award for outstanding leadership and service to the church and to the mission of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). (Robert was unable to attend the annual Advent Vespers in the seminary’s Brossman Center.) LTSP Trustees Robert Blanck and Board of Trustees Chair John Richter presented the award to Jack Asher, and just as he stepped to Soli Deo Gloria recipient “Jack” Asher gives the audience background on the Keystone State the microphone to extend remarks of gratitude, Boychoir. The Philadelphia native described the seminary “as one of the signature places I always Blanck asked him to stop. And into the hall for a remember.” surprise performance tribute to Asher and the dinner audience came donors, “We live in troubled times. This is a challenging time for the 60 members of the 150-member Keystone State Boychoir featuring church, institutions and the country. It is a tall order to keep directors Joe “Fitz” Fitzmartin and Steven M. Fisher. Jack Asher is venerable institutions like the seminary stable and thriving. Thank the choir’s founding Board member. The surprise tribute was you for understanding the challenge. I count you as our best arranged by the seminary’s Director of Communications, Merri friends…” Krey said in the current time of transition improvements Brown. Her son, Graeme, was a soloist for the occasion. to the seminary’s Krauth Memorial Library, including a connector Visibly proud and moved, Asher explained the accomplishments to The Brossman Center, are beginning to unfold. Highlights of of the vocal group, who call his congregation — The First current seminary life include plans for a new curriculum, the Presbyterian Church in Germantown — their home. The choir, he ongoing 300th birthday anniversary celebrating of the life of said, has performed on every continent. Lutheran Patriarch Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, and a recent Jack Asher, who has served on LTSP’s President’s Council, has gathering of Philadelphia religious leaders, who strategized over “the been a driving force behind the seminary’s capital campaigns and increasing challenge of hunger in our city.” strategic planning. In opening remarks LTSP President Philip D.W. Seminary Student Body President Laura Gorton, who is studying Krey thanked Jack Asher “for helping me to make the right associations and meet the right people when I became President.” In for a Master of Arts in Religion with a focus on Christian Education, told the audience she is striving for a career as a director expressing appreciation for the honor, Jack Asher, a native Philadelphian, called LTSP “one of the signature places that I always of Christian Education (DCE) and urged the audience to keep in mind the rich diversity of graduates, including pastors, DCE’s, remember.” directors of music, social workers and diaconal ministers. “Thank In his greetings to dinner attendees, Krey noted that the annual you for supporting us with your gifts in these tough economic Advent Vespers program to follow under the direction of Michael times,” she said. Krentz, seminary choir director, is in honor of the Rev. Dr. Robert “We watch and wait expectantly for the Christ who was given to E. Bornemann, the late professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at us as a child, brother, and Savior,” Dr. John Puotinen, said in brief LTSP, who directed the Seminary Choir he founded from 1955 to 1990. Krey told the audience that gifts to the Bornemann Memorial remarks. Puotinen is Vice President for Philanthropy and Executive Director of the LTSP Foundation. “I welcome you to this Fund secure the present and future of a vibrant program of music at celebration of God’s generosity,” Puotinen said. “I thank you and the seminary. The vespers were held in the Schaeffer-Ashmead thank God for sending you here to provide leaders for the church — Chapel following the dinner. Krey told his audience of invited
10 PS SPRING 2012 Ltsp.edu
making use of gifts already given to you by God.” Brief remarks were also delivered by Richter and seminary Dean J. Paul Rajashekar. Rajashekar introduced the Rev. Dr. Jayakiran Sebastian of the seminary faculty. Sebastian becomes LTSP’s new Dean next academic year as Rajashekar returns to the classroom. The Dean also introduced the Rev. Dr. Richard Stewart and his spouse, Dawn. Stewart retired from the faculty at the end of 2011. The opening prayer for the dinner was given by Trustee, Dr. Addie J. Butler. The closing prayer was delivered by Bishop Claire S. Burkat of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. After his father’s death in 1966, Jack Asher and his younger brother, Robert, took over Asher’s Chocolates in Philadelphia’s Germantown section and expanded the business. In 1991, Asher’s acquired the Goss Candy Co. in Lewistown, PA, and renamed it Asher’s Chocolates, Lewistown. The enterprise has grown dramatically over the years to become nationally known. In 2006, Jack Asher was elected to the Candy Hall of Fame while serving as president of the firm and co-chair of Asher’s Chocolates. His honors have included being named Small Business Person of the Year (Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, 1988). He’s served on many boards including as President of the Germantown Business Association, President of Whosoever Gospel Mission, Germantown, President of the Germantown Historical Society, and the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. He’s served as a volunteer firefighter for 35 years and today helps direct re-enactments of the Battle of Germantown from the Revolutionary War period. He has served his congregation — The First Presbyterian Church in Germantown — as Deacon, Trustee, Elder, Head Usher, and President of the Couples Club. Jack and his wife, Carolyn, have three adult children. Native Philadelphian Robert “Bob” Asher serves as co-chair of the Board of Asher’s Chocolates as well as President of Robert Asher Associates. He is a member of the Session of Oreland Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Oreland, Pennsylvania. He is a Pennsylvania member of the Republican National Committee and served as co-chair for the Tom Corbett for Governor Campaign. Bob Asher serves on several boards including the Delaware River Port Authority, Philadelphia Hospitality, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation and Greater Philadelphia Executive Committee Chamber of Commerce. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and Commerce and is a U.S. Army veteran. He has been recognized for public service by the Montgomery County Association for Retarded Citizens, Boy Scouts of America and the Union League of Philadelphia. Bob Asher has been a key networker on behalf of LTSP, facilitating the securing of grants for seminary capital projects. Bob and his wife, Joyce, have three children and seven grandchildren. Both brothers are members of the Union League of Philadelphia.
Cookin’ with Who Best Chef Rabbi George Stern (in chef’s hat).
COOKIN' WITH WHO?
What better way to bring together the community than to offer great and interesting food, community leaders, and the chance to support three key community organizations than with a celebrity chef competition? That is the concept behind the first annual “Cookin' with Who?” event held November 3, 2011 at The Brossman Center. LTSP, along with community groups East Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN) and Neighborhood Interfaith Movement (NIM) were both sponsors and beneficiaries of a night full of tasting, bidding on auction items, more tasting, and voting for the Best Chef. Most of all, many participants noted, it was a fun, informal way for the Northwest Philadelphia community to gather, chat and, yes, eat while supporting the sponsors. The smell of good food prepared by chefs from LTSP’s food service vendor, Cura Hospitality, and sounds of a good time filled Benbow Hall for several hours. In the end, best chef prize, the now coveted “Mt. Airy Platinum Spatula” (designed by EMAN Executive Director Elayne Bender) went to NIM’s Immediate Past Executive Director Rabbi George Stern, who shared his take on traditional beef brisket and latkes, both the traditional potato and his own creation, curried sweet potato latkes. LTSP’s chefs were President Philip Krey and his mother’s impossible-to-resist donuts, Prof. Tim Wengert’s favorite, his mother’s German potato salad, and LTSP alumna the Rev. Ann Colley’s own recipe of vegetarian spaghetti.
To see all the chefs talk about their recipes, and more on the event, go to Ltsp.edu/CookinWithWho.
PS SPRING 2012 Ltsp.edu 11
EMBRACINGTHE FUTURE STRATEGICALLY:
Listening to the of a
Voices Changing Church
BYTHE REV. DR. PHILIP D.W. KREY, PRESIDENT
THE LUTHERAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY AT PHILADELPHIA (LTSP) is well known for its innovative and imaginative tradition by which it reads its context and proposes cutting edge programs for the church of the future and not the church of the past. While faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our wonderful Lutheran tradition, we also embrace the future that God provides. As the global, national, and ecclesial context has changed once again, at LTSP we are going back to the drawing board and drawing upon our faith, tradition, and visionary capital in our alumni, leaders, staff, and faculty to develop new strategic directions for the school. We are not starting from scratch as we spent the last two years listening to consultants, current students, alumni, and one another about the state and future of the church and theological education. Two years ago the faculty, staff, and board, with the leadership of our dean and the planning committee of the board, adopted a new mission, vision, and values statement for the school (See Ltsp.edu for our new mission statement). We are also currently listening to all stakeholders about what they need in leaders and the changes that are going on in their churches, congregations, and ministries. We want to know what you think as well. Send emails or letters to me at pkrey@Ltsp.edu or come, visit, and teach us.
Institutions do not change quickly. They change course like ships that turn slowly and deliberately.
We need to value the many things that we are doing well. Among them we cherish the biblical and confessional tradition for which we have been made stewards. We have a shared vision of ecumenical partnership and passion for public theology. Our Mt. Airy community loves our commitment to public service. We have a rich diversity of offerings in degrees and programs. We have a long tradition of academic excellence and preparation for ministry and have wonderful alumni who demonstrate what they have learned in their various congregational and institutional settings. We attract a diverse and extraordinarily gifted student body year after year. As you will learn from the dean’s editorial in this issue, (see the inside front cover) our curriculum receives high marks from our alumni for its effectiveness. Our worship and community life on campus is faithfully rich and filled with diversity. Our library and librarians are a treasure. After 30 years our Urban Theological Institute (UTI) has renewed itself once again and is thriving. We do urban ministry well. Recently a Lutheran college president came to see me and proclaimed, “You have beautiful buildings and a gorgeous campus!” We do and thank God for this gift. We are grateful for all of you who have given so generously and all the faculty and staff who work so hard to make LTSP such a wonderful school. Of course, we need you to continue your support because of this fragile time in the midst of the present economic climate for the church and the nation.
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Education that Respects both Tradition and Change
BY THE REV. DR. JOHN C. RICHTER, CHAIR, LTSP BOARD OFTRUSTEES
Our global, national, and church contexts have changed. We need to reread them well and continue to aim the school in the right direction for the sake of the church’s leaders and the world. By God’s grace we will have read our contexts appropriately. We will inevitably make mistakes, and difficult challenges like the current economy will arise. We pray that God will help sustain our historic momentum so that these challenges do not overwhelm our capacity to once again contribute to the future positive trends in theological education. At the last seminary Board of Trustees meeting the faculty, staff, and trustees spent a day reviewing the new landscape for theological education. The denominational, financial, and environmental challenges that Christian ministry as a profession is facing are dramatically different than they were a generation ago. We noted that while many congregations are struggling in the current environment, many including those led by our alumni are thriving. continued on next page
The Board of Trustees of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) serves as stewards of the treasure that is LTSP. Our task is to sustain the seminary’s role as servant to the church, and to provide the next generation of leaders for the church. We seek to do this in the midst of new financial realities, changing demographics, and the needs of the church. When I was ordained in 1975 and called to serve a congregation in Brooklyn, New York, there were no “social media.” The church bulletin was printed on a mimeograph. There were no cell phones, no emails, no Internet, no texting. Of course we can’t imagine living without these technologies today. And, as with most technological advances, life has been made both more manageable and more challenging. While we are grateful for improved means of communication, the speed and constancy of such hi-tech wonders (among many other sociological realities) have contributed to the reshaping of the culture. The church lives in this rapidly changing society, and the seminary seeks to educate church leaders with both respect for our tradition of sound preparation (Biblical Studies, Church History, Theology, Pastoral Care, Homiletics, Administration) and the reality of a changing culture that seems to be less anchored to the church that nurtured many of us over the years. Therefore, in addition to providing the foundation of a seminary education in the traditional sense, LTSP emphasizes the need for future leaders to engage ministry at the intersection of faith and public life. If in fact people no longer easily find their way to the doors of the congregation, how might the congregation go forth from the pews to meet people where they are? How does the education we provide create faithful, creative, entrepreneurial leaders who are visible and competent both in the parish hall and on the sidewalk, comfortable and proficient in both the pulpit as well as the bleachers of a high school athletic event, speaking meaningfully with someone who has grown disenchanted with the church, or even someone who has never been a part of any faith tradition? How do we teach the prophetic voice, and challenge systemic poverty? So there is curriculum review and revision. Strategic plans have shorter horizons. We converse with the church about perceived needs. What specific skills will church leaders need as we move into this future that God has set before us? And how will LTSP provide it? Societies have relentlessly evolved over the last 2,000 years, and the church has evolved as well. The history of the church, as much as we respect and often embrace tradition, is also about change. Worship and congregational life seem very different today compared to what I experienced in that congregation I served back in 1975. In a little more than a generation, the changes have been profound. The seminary’s Board of Trustees seeks to respond to those changes in a manner that serves the church, and all the people of God.
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continued from page 13
ASSUMPTIONS AND STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS
Helping Seminarians Embrace the World
BY SARA E. LILJA, LTSP BOARD OFTRUSTEES
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) Board of Trustees recently adopted this mission statement... Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia seeks to educate and form public leaders who are committed to developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith for engagement in the world. This mission statement communicates the direction of theological education at LTSP. The seminary will educate leaders who are “centered” in Jesus Christ. While the seminary is a “multi-denominational” teaching, learning, worshiping, and living community, we maintain our Lutheran identity and theological understandings. We seek to educate students to live in the world, embracing our neighbors of all faiths and traditions. Living in the world involves dialogue, cooperation, and shared community — building activities with people of other faiths or no faith. This task is more urgent in the midst of broken or fractured communities of our society. We seek to educate leaders to engage in building up the Kingdom of God, seeking peace and advocating for justice. You may have noticed that the language to “teach pastors” is not present in this mission statement. We believe that it is our responsibility to educate all believers for public leadership. Some may be called to ordination, while others may be inspired toward various other vocations of service in the world. We understand that congregations may be served by bi-vocational leaders who practice and model their faith in daily life. The learning process includes academic formation but is primarily the development of a “habitus,” a way of living and practicing the gift of faith. You may have also noticed that the language of “church” is not in the mission statement. The church is a community of saints and sinners, but it is not monolithic or singular — even within a denomination. The seminary seeks to nurture leadership so that students have the ability to relate to diverse forms of communities. In some ways we see the future direction of the seminary as expanding our expressions of church. As the prophet Jeremiah says, “Enlarge the place of your tent; stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your pegs.” (Isaiah 54:2) During difficult days, trust in the promises of God. The mission statement is our attempt to express what we see as the future of theological education at LTSP. We are living into this statement as the curriculum is being revised and programs developed to embrace this vision. LTSP is moving into the future with an understanding of God’s activity in the world, ever changing and challenging, ever comforting and compelling. For more thoughts on LTSP’s mission statement, please visit Ltsp.edu.
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The following points represent some assumptions and strategic directions that we will be addressing over the next two years. Again, your input is welcome and expected. • Fewer congregations can afford to call full-time ministers, thus increasing the demand for bi-vocational ministers; nevertheless there will always be congregations that will be able to call full-time clergy and staff, and we need to continue to prepare these candidates. The days in which we will only prepare ordained clergy are over. Our student body will become more and more diverse. • Minority and immigrant churches will likely grow. Denominations with a critical mass of ethnic congregations may have a better chance of attracting minority communities. Seminaries with a critical mass of minority students and faculty will attract others like them, and this diversity is a strength of LTSP. • In 2012 our accrediting standards for the MDiv will change, giving us more flexibility in terms of the structure, content, and duration of the program. • We need a paradigm shift in training for ministry. The feedback loop from experience in a variety of current congregations and faith-based institutional contexts to the classroom must be fluid. We need to strengthen our model that values the best experience in practice, reflection, and academics. • We will reduce the number of course requirements and develop more flexible scheduling, especially for part-time students, many of whom will be serving in parishes, communities of faith, or institutions already. We need to review how courses are selected, especially the electives, in relation to the curriculum. All courses currently taught need to be reevaluated based on a set of objectives and outcomes.
• We will require full-time faculty to teach in distance education courses and on evenings and Saturdays on a rotational basis. We will offer courses throughout the year (except July 15August 15) and increase offerings of distance education courses with the help of adjuncts. • A student will be able to finish a program by taking regular daytime courses, courses online, evening and weekend courses, intensives, and summer courses. Less travel and less moving should make completion of their programs less expensive with less debt. • This economy would make it possible for bi-vocational students in all denominations to prepare to be bi-vocational mission developers and congregational redevelopers. A bi-vocational minister will make it possible for congregations that need redevelopment to afford professional leadership. • We will organize a track for mission developers and redevelopers who are both ordained and not ordained. Any student who would be in this track would receive substantial scholarship aid. • We need to listen ever more closely to our second professional/advanced students and alumni to let them define the courses and program offerings that they need, and we will help provide the faculty and resources for them. • We will also prepare a cadre of laypersons in a certificate program who will work as leaders in witnessing in their communities. • We will rethink the division of faculty areas and consider developing crossdisciplinary areas in redesigning the new MDiv curriculum. The traditional faculty areas may work best at the advanced-level degree programs. • Our new Master of Arts in Public Leadership and our traditional Master of Arts in Religion programs have significant potential for development and growth. • We will focus on redeveloping the TEEM (Theological Education for Emerging Ministries, a non-degree certificate) and Latino programs. • We will continue to have a strong Lutheran and ecumenical residential student body that will prepare for thriving congregations that have adapted to their new contexts. We covet our wonderful relationships with the synods of Region 7 and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). We will, of course, continue this strong tradition. We will also develop our strong relationships with ecumenical partners and constituencies in the Philadelphia area. • God has given us a new day. To greet this new day we need to be good stewards of our resources and reach our target for the 150th anniversary initiative of $32 million in student scholarships, faculty development, endowment growth, including the renovation of perimeter student and faculty housing.
Here are the goals we are shaping: 1. Complete a thorough revision of the curriculum to begin in the academic year 2013-2014. 2. Arrive at financial equilibrium through collaboration with our partners and good stewardship of our resources. 3. By 2015 complete the $32 million endowment initiative for student scholarships, endowment growth, faculty development, and the renovation of perimeter housing. 4. Grow the student body to 500 by 2014 by increasing the admissions by 20 per year in all programs. 5. Prepare for the 150th anniversary of the seminary by embracing the future that God is sending. What do you think? How would you shape or reshape these goals? Will you vigorously support LTSP so that we can be a witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by developing leaders and communities of faith for the sake of the world? To comment, email President Krey at pkrey@Ltsp.edu.
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While We Wait, As We Work
BY THE REV. CHRIS HALVERSON, MDIV ’11
I left my apartment at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) on June 28, 2011. I was called to be pastor of St. Stephen Lutheran Church in South Plainfield, New Jersey, on September 11, 2011. In those 75 days between leaving seminary and being called I did many things. I lived in a friend’s attic, worked at an inner-city church camp, trained a Boxer puppy to heel, preached at a couple of churches, and sent out emails — lots of emails. I asked a representative from every synod and each regional coordinator, as well as a variety of recently graduated seminarians and bi-vocational pastors, a set of questions about bi-vocationality and waiting for a first call. Why did I do this? Because my classmates had been hearing a lot about waiting an extensive time for a first call, as well as a need for pastors to become bi-vocational (sometimes called practicing shared-time ministry, but strictly defined means working in two vocations at the same time). As we explored the implications of these two realities for our future ministry we quickly realized that we were in fairly uncharted territory — at least in recent history. In order to change this, we’ve decided to create a booklet of advice for seminarians awaiting call and for bi-vocational ministers. It will also contain recommendations to various expressions of the church on both of these subjects. We will present the finished product to our various synod assemblies. I am spearheading the initial data collection aspect of this project, but we will “crowd source” the writing of this booklet via an online document readily available for and editable by anyone willing to help better the lot of bi-vocational pastors and seminarians waiting a first call. Reading responses from fellow firstcallers has been enlightening, and heart breaking.
Some candidates have used their wait time to learn a new skill. Some have relished their last few Sundays as non-pastors by either skipping church entirely or going to churches outside the Lutheran tradition. Yet, almost everyone has described the period of waiting as “paralyzing.” Many tell of broken leases and uprooted daughters and sons. Several speak of this period of waiting nearly breaking apart their marriages. Some complain that seminary only gave a description of the ideal call process — not what seminarians are actually experiencing. Many plead that synods and regional coordinators communicate with candidates, even if it is just to check in — communicate! Synod and regional representatives have responded with “best practices” for their colleagues, as well as advice for those awaiting call. They recommend that synods tell potential candidates right from the start that the landscape of the church has changed and that waiting quite a while for a call will be the new normal. They also recommend synods help “fine tune” candidates’ Rostered Leadership Profiles and hold mock call committee interviews for candidates who wait for a call. To first callers they say, “Trust the process.” Know that the waiting is not about you, it is not a reflection of your value to God, to the church, or to your future calling congregation. The waiting is, however, “part of your baptismal vocation and, thus, the context in which God is now drawing you to serve the world for Christ’s sake.” Bi-vocationality has been a hard nut to crack. For example, once we use terms like vocation we are linguistically sanctifying what we are talking about. That means bi-vocationality has to be about more than getting a second job in order to pay the bills.
For that matter, all pastors are bi-vocational; our baptismal vocation isn’t subsumed in our pastoral vocation. If a pastor is a parent, a daughter, a neighbor, a brother, or a husband, he or she is already bi-vocational. Nonetheless, talking with both bi-vocational pastors and synod leadership, a few things about bi-vocationality have become clear. All of these people have affirmed that the non-church vocation is truly a vocation and so it must not “be treated as of secondary value” — a means to an end. Seminaries need to prepare students to be bi-vocational ministers. How? The two biggest tasks of bi-vocational ministers are properly empowering lay folk and communicating expectations clearly. Seminaries need to both model these two things and teach them. I am still acting the ecclesial “Alfred Kinsey,” so if you have had experience with waiting for first call or bi-vocational ministry and would like to fill out my questionnaire please contact me at email@example.com. For that matter, if you want to be part of the crowd sourcing process or introducing the eventual booklet to your synod assembly please do the same.
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Vocational Challenges and Opportunity
BY DAVID HOXTER, MDIV ’12, UTI
Mt. Airy was a great place to grow up. Over the years I passed The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) many times and never thought that one day I would be enrolled as a student. When it came time to seriously consider where I would pursue my theological education, I only added LTSP to my short list when I saw a sign for its wonderful Prospective Student Day prominently displayed on Germantown Avenue! I heard of the Urban Theological Institute (UTI), although I couldn’t remember where, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to attend the event, so I registered. What stuck in my mind most about that day was the running theme of preparation that was available for the professional ministry, post-graduate studies or both. I was interested in both, as well as the study of the Black Church, and it seemed like a perfect fit. Now in my final year of study, I can reflect on the seminary’s ability to deliver what initially drew me to the school as I look toward the future. I have engaged in many interesting conversations with classmates on the subject of moving into professional ministry and how church finances relate to that pursuit. Most of us who intend to enter ordained ministry as full-time pastors after graduation expect to be paid for our services. Some very interesting dialogue between us has speculated on what that pay structure will look like. Being a Baptist, my perspective on the subject seems to be somewhat different from my classmates who belong to churches that are part of a “connectional” system, particularly those in mainline denominations. In recent conversations with fellow UTI classmates — many of whom are already serving in a ministerial capacity at their home church — I learned that they do not have the expectation that upon graduation they will be called to a church that will pay them a livable wage
David Hoxter: urged a strong collaborative effort to help seminarians plan for their futures.
and allow them to quit their jobs. Their attitude is that if the church can afford it then great, but if not, the pastor needs to work to grow the ministry to the point where it can become a full-time job and work a second job in the meantime. Those I spoke with who are part of a mainline denomination have the expectation that they will not have to work a second job. If they are placed at a smaller church that cannot support their full salary, it is only fair that the larger churches in the system who can afford to do so will pick up the slack so that everyone at all of the churches in the system gets paid — two opposing but very interesting views on what to expect after graduation. As budgets continue to tighten in all churches, I am certain that the seminary is wrestling with how it can help ensure the next generation of LTSP graduates has a realistic view of what lies ahead with respect to being able to survive as a pastor. There is a point that one’s student loan debt will be higher then a new pastor can typically afford to repay. Does the seminary have a responsibility to get involved in this type of planning, or should the institution stay out of the conversation altogether and
leave it to the students to make their own choices? Can an individual who does not have a second career, spouse, or some other source of financial support expect to be able to afford to pay all of his or her bills solely on a new pastor’s salary? Again, does the seminary have a responsibility to enter into this conversation with students in a formal way to help provide solutions that students can work on while they are matriculating? Many students expressed an interest in counseling, education, and various other fields that would complement their work as pastors and help new pastors earn a livable wage. Whatever path students or the seminary decide to take, there are going to be challenges. I suppose that’s the good news. Whenever challenges are present, so is opportunity. We live in a world that needs the church more then ever, and we should face these challenges head-on so that we are able to exercise our spiritual gifts as fully as possible. The challenge for seminarians is developing a financial plan that gives a realistic picture of what is to come. I am sure that is a challenge that we can all meet head-on.
David Hoxter can be reached at dhoxter@Ltsp.edu.
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The Future Shape of Theological Education
BY THE REV. DR. WILLIAM B. MOORE
AS A FAITH COMMUNITY, we are at a place where we are experiencing rapid transition. Church as we once knew it is changing rapidly. The stability and consistency that we were once able to rely on is slowly becoming a thing of the past. We no longer live in the days where nuclear families are the norm. Young people seem to be disappearing from the pews. Societal factors have crept into the church and caused us to reevaluate the way we do ministry. The transition we are now experiencing may have contributed to Frederick Schmidt’s article, “Is It Time To Write The Eulogy? The Future Shape Of Seminary Education.” Schmidt argues forcefully that seminaries are dying and the Master of Divinity has lost the credibility it once carried. As a seminary graduate and as a pastor, I strongly disagree with Schmidt. The benefits of a quality seminary education are evident throughout one’s career. Countering the author’s argument, I contend that a seminary education is more necessary than ever. Reflecting upon my seminary experience years ago at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), and comparing that experience to my observations of the contemporary scene, there has been a shift in focus in many places from praxis and faith learning to theological study. This shift is most visible at mainline seminaries seeking to prepare students for the professorate, rather than the parish. This shift is obviously a change in the direction of many institutions. Previously, seminaries and divinity schools were institutions where people matriculated to be trained in theology and thus enter into the parish with the skills that would be necessary in order to effectively minister to God’s people. Theological education was not set apart from ministerial praxis. The two were linked and intertwined, and the seminary’s classrooms were in constant conversation with the churches to which their students would eventually be called to serve. In this way, Karl Barth’s concept of theology as a secondary language and the church’s vernacular as primary was continually realized. The tangible relationship between clergy and the academy was also reflected in the academy’s professorate; nearly all of whom were former or current pastors. Today, however, seminaries’ and divinity schools’ mission is not about the parish, but academic scholarship. In recent years, the emphasis on theology as a separate discipline has marked a change in the approach and nature of theological study. Students no longer enter into the classroom expecting to leave and one day enter the pulpit. They now come into the classroom to earn multiple degrees
not as practitioners but as scholars and researchers. As a result, they are equipped with the tools that are necessary to function as fulltime academicians, rather than full-time pastors. Despite this shift and its obvious consequences in the parish, many mainline denominations have continued to stress the necessity of traditional theological education for their clergy. In several denominations, one need not consider candidacy for ordination without first obtaining an MDiv. The consequences of these faith-based institutions’ consistent reliance on academic institutions that no longer foster faith may be catastrophic. In fact, many within the mainstream lines have come to question the value of a theological education today. This transition that we are experiencing is indeed shaping the way we view ministry in the twenty-first century and, in turn, shaping how we must train men and women for ministry. In order to remain effective in the context in which God has called us to serve, what we define as ministry must be constantly reassessed. There is a multiplicity of needs, and we must be best equipped to meet those needs. There is no other place than seminary and no other degree than the MDiv for pastoral candidates that will allow us to understand what we do and how we do it through the lens of the Bible. There are many other degrees that will help one be a better business person and a better counselor, but these will not help you to be the best well-rounded pastor. Only a seminary education will offer that. Seminary is a crucial component in ministry as a calling and as a career. We can adequately and safely wrestle through ministry as our vocation. It is within the four walls of the seminary that we are able to come to grips with the calling the Lord has ordained us to fulfill. It is there that we learn to best utilize gifts and talents to carry out responsibilities in the faith community. There is a theological perspective that can only be obtained within the confines of seminary. There, we can safely and adequately learn to think theologically about everyday matters that take place within the church. The author, an LTSP alumnus, is senior pastor at Tenth Memorial Baptist Church in North Philadelphia and chair of the Advisory Committee of the Urban Theological Institute (UTI) at LTSP.
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Speaking the Universal Language of the Gospel
BY RAY RANKER, MDIV ’11
About a day into my yearlong service in Argentina through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) young adult in global mission program, I realized I did not know Spanish. I had studied it for years, beginning in the sixth grade and on through my final year of college. Sure, I knew some of the grammar and vocabulary and could read a bit, but I did not know how to speak Spanish or how to really understand its basic and essential skills when it comes to communicating in another language. That year, being immersed in the culture and language, I slowly became more comfortable communicating in my second language. And not only that, I also managed to learn more about English in that one year than I had in my previous decades in school (with apologies to my English teachers). I am quite sure that my experiences with a foreign language are not unique. Many of us learn things in the classroom, but when we get out in the world, we find we have trouble communicating those things. After being in a seminary or on internship working in a church for the last four years, how can I communicate with the people in my new context? How can I talk about Jesus and faith in a way that makes sense to someone who has not taken Biblical Hebrew or Koine Greek? How can I learn from being immersed in a language and culture other than my own? Seven months after my ordination, I am learning how to communicate. This crash course has certainly included some crashes. In my first call I am serving as the Lutheran Campus Pastor at the University of Maryland (UMD), while also providing pastoral care at Good Samaritan Lutheran Church in Lanham, Maryland, a nearby
church that is currently without a full time pastor. I quickly learned that, although I was completely fascinated by what I learned in lectures at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, (LTSP), teaching college students with that same style quickly puts them to sleep, and they will not bother to come back. Enticing the students to come to our Lutheran student group at UMD using food will only go so far. How can we lift up the good news of Jesus Christ in a way that will not put them to sleep? How can we communicate with these students and tell our story, the story of Christ, when we are competing with so many other stories that, frankly, have nice jingles and flashy commercials (compared to our boring fliers and below average web site)? For the last seven years, I have had the privilege of serving on Echos, the World Council of Churches commission on young adults. With 24 other young adults from around the world and across confessional lines, we have met every year-and-a-half. Our last meeting, which concluded at the end of October 2011, was held at a Roman Catholic monastery outside of Beirut, Lebanon. As part of our experience, we met many local Christians, including regional leaders in the World Student Christian Federation from Lebanon and Syria. They shared with us their experiences of what it is like to be a Christian in the Middle East at this time. The question that each of them wrestles with today is whether they should stay in their homeland or whether they should
move out of the region and go to Europe or North America, where they would feel more secure. What a hard decision. Youth after youth shared with us that they fear for their personal safety, and struggle to live in the hope and promise of the Gospel and to not be ruled by this fear. But none of these youth was ready to leave. They felt that God was calling them to be there. After all, they said, what kind of witness would it be to the people of the Middle East if all the Christians left? For the sake of the Gospel, they must stay. After their moving testimony, I had the opportunity to talk further with one of these Lebanese Christians. She reminded me that struggle between fear and the Gospel playing out in their lives is not something unique to Middle Eastern Christians. It is something that Christians everywhere are struggling with. It is not easy to be a Christian in any culture, especially, as she said, in a culture like North America, where money, power, and military might rule the day. What the students at UMD shared seems to be consistent with her analysis. These students have said, as they try to be humble and to serve others, they are getting the message on a lot of levels that they have to think only about themselves and prop themselves up. With the competitive job market today, they are constantly told their classmates are not friends, but competitors. An attitude of suspicion toward our neighbor and even strangers should not be the norm. Several years ago, while volunteering at a home for street kids in Arusha, Tanzania, I led them to a nearby field to play soccer. Upon arriving, I noticed a Lutheran church nearby. During halftime, all sweaty and in a t-shirt and shorts, I wandered into the church. Inside the evangelist told me they were about to have a worship service, and that I must come. Underdressed, smelly, and with white skin, I stuck out like a sore thumb. As it came time for the offering, a young girl next to me leaned over and asked if I had any money for the offering. Having just come from the soccer field, I was penniless. She reached in her pocket, took out some money, and gave it to me. continued on next page
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Speaking the Universal Language of the Gospel
continued from page 19 I walked up with the rest of the congregation and dropped something in the offering plate. Not only did she give me something to offer to God and the church on that day, but she also gave me another gift that continues to affect me to this day. She taught me a little more about the kingdom of heaven, about what it means to communicate God’s love. And, thanks to her gift, I will share her story and her example, hoping it will help others understand the good news. Being in an ecumenical and indeed interfaith setting, and in a global context, immerses us in a language of faith. People around the world, through their stories, have taught me how to communicate the good news with those here in my context. Experiencing God, the church, and the world on a global scale only helps us to do this, as interactions with those with different theologies help us to understand our own theology as we learn more about who God is. The stories of the saints help us to think about our own story and remind us of the church universal, which transcends all time and place. Pastor Ray Ranker is a 2011 graduate of LTSP from Reisterstown, Maryland, currently serving as Lutheran Campus Pastor at the University of Maryland. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
TWO FACULTY PERSPECTIVES
The Hunger Crisis: A “Walking the Walk” Public Theology Approach
BY DR. KATIE DAY, CHARLES A. SCHEIREN PROFESSOR, CHURCH AND SOCIETY; DIRECTOR, METROPOLITAN/URBAN CONCENTRATION
Public theology, as is well known, is the organizing paradigm of the curriculum at LTSP. But public theology is not just academic — something we teach in the classroom and read about in the library. Public theology is what we do as well. As tough as the recession has been on churches and seminaries, it has been harder for the poor. One congressional district in our city has become the “second hungriest” for two years now. As unemployment and poverty rise, our neighbors increasingly cannot afford to eat — approaching one in three people in Philadelphia now. In response to this crisis, a few of us at LTSP quickly organized a project called City Soup in the winter of 2010. Diane Loucks (a recent LTSP graduate and hunger activist), Marissa Krey (from LAMPa), and I developed a pilot program with others, including representatives from NIM (Neighborhood Interfaith Movement), EMAN (East Mt. Airy Neighbors), the Presbytery of Philadelphia, the Hunger Coalition, and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. City Soup is an educational resource for congregations to spend six weeks learning about hunger, sharing a simple meal, praying together, and taking action. Although we originally intended this to be a Lenten journey, we learned that those from other traditions were also interested. The first year, over 30 groups participated, setting aside funds that would have been used for their normal dinners and contributing $4,000 to local feeding programs. They also walked in the Walk against Hunger, and sent letters — hundreds of them — to legislators asking for more permanent solution-oriented policies to be put into place.
The situation continued to get worse and our commitment continued to deepen. Last spring, in addition to the City Soup journey, we held a Prayer Breakfast at LTSP, thanks to a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Over 150 faith leaders came and were led in prayer by Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergy. Mayor Nutter and Congressman Chaka Fattah attended. Our speaker for the day was Joel Berg, a nationally known hunger advocate from New York. There will be a Prayer Breakfast this spring — 2012 Interfaith Prayer Breakfast: Hungry for Justice — Friday, April 20, at 8:00 am at LTSP. Please visit Ltsp.edu/PrayerBreakfast for more information and to register. This past fall we continued our efforts to resource the faith-based community about the crisis of hunger in our region. There are many churches that have food pantries and soup kitchens — over 700 throughout the city. (The numbers of those relying on these efforts have tripled in the last few years.) These faithful congregations are reaching the limits of their capacity, however. We look to our public leaders therefore, to develop policies that will coordinate non-profit efforts and ensure that nutritious, affordable food is accessible to all in our city. We also sponsored the “Orange Card Campaign,” in which we distributed 30,000 bright orange postcards that were delivered to Mayor Nutter, calling for new, effective food policies to be put in place. On campus, we had a One Seminary One Book initiative, with the whole community reading Exodus from Hunger by David Beckmann (President of Bread for the World). The author led a convocation at LTSP this past February.
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Left: Leaders involved in hunger advocacy include, from left, Diane Loucks, MAR ‘09, Marissa Harris Krey, MDiv ‘08, and Prof. Katie Day.
Bottom left: Prof. Karyn Wiseman discusses the origins of food served at LTSP with Robert Wilson, a seminary food services employee.
In September, 2011, we held a preaching workshop led by Prof. Wiseman and Diane Loucks, equipping participants to preach about hunger on World Food Day (October 16, 2011) and beyond. Students and clergy took advantage of the workshop and the word is spreading: more and more of our sisters and brothers are “food insecure.” As people of faith, we are called to feed those who are hungry, as if they were Jesus (Matt. 25). City Soup is striving to equip congregations to work both faithfully and effectively for food justice so that all may be fed. We are grateful to both the ELCA and Presbyterian Hunger Programs for their support. We hope you will join us! For more information, go to hungercoalition.org/citysoup.
BY DR. KARYN L. WISEMAN, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF HOMILETICS; DIRECTOR OF UNITED METHODIST STUDIES
Public Theology is at the heart of all we do at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). We teach and model for our students a theology that walks and talks both in the pulpit and in public in profound and important ways. In our classrooms we want our lessons — regardless of the subject matter — to be lived in our students, in our own and in their communities, in our congregations, and in our wider world. This kind of public engagement is a hallmark of what we do at LTSP. Our own website states, “Centered in the Gospel of the crucified and risen Christ, LTSP forms leaders for public ministry.” Your time here as students will prepare you to be a Christian public leader. Whether your call is to care for the dying, advocate for those who have no voice, lead a congregation struggling to meet the needs of a rapidly changing community, teach, preach, or be about the work of the Gospel in any way.” This is what we have centered our work on and it is a core value we honor. One area of theological engagement that we have spent significant time addressing over the past year has been the issue of poverty and hunger. In spring 2011, a Hunger Breakfast was held on our campus inviting persons from throughout the wider Philadelphia community to come together to address the startling fact that one in four Philadelphians is food insecure. (go to Ltsp.edu.PrayerBreakfast for information on this year’s Prayer Breakfast being held April 20, 2012) That means that 360,000 people, 108,000 of whom are children, have to skip meals due to a lack of money and resources. One of the events that sprang from that meeting was the September 23, 2011 workshop on Preaching and Justice, also held on our campus. This event trained area preachers to address the issues of poverty and hunger from the pulpit on World Food Day, October 16, 2011. The participants spent time discussing what it means to preach the Good News with a hurting and hungry world from a framework of justice. The partnership between LTSP, LAMPa (lutheranadvocacypa.org/) and City Soup to hold this training event is just the type of public leadership we are about. City Soup’s work on the issue of hunger and poverty is known throughout the community. Their own website hungercoalition.org/citysoup provides a wide variety of resources, including a video, hunger data, a weekly congregational study guide, and other materials to help interested persons get involved. Hunger is an issue that we as a country have tackled in the past and once had nearly wiped out of existence. If hunger and poverty are top priorities for us to eradicate — we have to walk and talk that into reality. Being an advocate for those who have no voice is what we are led to do. Being a public leader on issues that affect so many in our communities in adverse ways is what we are called to do as Christians. Spend time preaching and teaching about this issue — and together we can change the world for the better.
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An Exhaustive Self-Study: Why?
BY DR. DAVID D. GRAFTON, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, ISLAMIC STUDIES AND CHRISTIAN-MUSLIM RELATIONS AND DIRECTOR OF GRADUATE STUDIES; SELF-STUDY DIRECTOR The current Self-Study has focused upon the theme of “change. If anything is true in ” the world of theological education it is that “change” is the new normal. The dramatic changes in our North American society over the last 10 years have affected the way education is undertaken, the way teachers teach, the way students learn, and the way institutions evaluate their effectiveness.
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) has been involved in a two-year evaluation process under my supervision. The purpose of this “SelfStudy” is for LTSP to comply with an accreditation process undertaken every 10 years to evaluate its mission of higher education. This is done through the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). These accrediting agencies visited the campus March 4-7, 2012. This Self-Study has been an institutionwide endeavor involving more than 60 persons (students, staff, administration, faculty, board members, and alumni). Six working groups were organized to respond to particular questions about our mutual life and mission as an institution and to provide a report for the Self-Study Steering Committee. These six working groups are: • Educational Assessment • Faculty and Administration • Information Resources • Institutional Mission and Integrity • Institutional Resources • Student Services
AN EXHAUSTIVELY THOROUGH PROCESS
The steps to arrive at the Self-Study have been exhaustive. Following an introductory training period with ATS and MSCHE, a 10-person steering committee representing all these constituencies has kept the process on track over most of the two years. In March 2010, a public convocation was convened to apprise the community of the purpose and plan of the Self-Study, as well as its goals. A Self-Study web page was created on the LTSP website in order to provide public information regarding the process (Ltsp.edu/selfstudy). The Steering Committee next invited approximately 60 persons to serve on six different working groups to assure adequate representation, according to ATS and MSCHE standards. Updates to the community on our progress were reported each term to the to the student body, staff and faculty. The Board received formal reports of the Self-Study process at each of its meetings in April 2010, October 2010, April 2011, and October 2011. The working groups were provided Mandates and Research Questions to answer based upon the ATS and MSCHE Standards within their area of seminary life. Each group was provided a platform on a seminary-wide Blackboard Site in order to store and share documents. The working groups worked in different styles, some assigning questions on an individual basis, others working together as a committee of the whole, and others using the Blackboard Site as a discussion board for conversation.
By March 2011 the final reports from the working groups were compiled into an Executive Summary of the Self-Study, which was presented to the Board of Trustees at its April 2011 meeting, which spent time discussing some of the initial findings of the Self-Study. In June 2011 the working groups officially concluded their work and were disbanded. In October 2011 a final report, nearing 100 pages, was presented to the Board of Trustees. Once passed by the Board the document will be shared with the community and placed on the seminary website for public view. The document was forwarded to the accrediting agencies in December 2011 in preparation for the accreditation visit in March 2012.
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Prof. David Grafton: Seminary is enduring “dramatic changes.”
THEME OF THE SELF-STUDY
The current Self-Study has focused upon the theme of “change.” If anything is true in the world of theological education it is that “change” is the new normal. The dramatic changes in our North American society over the last 10 years have affected the way education is undertaken, the way teachers teach, the way students learn, and the way institutions evaluate their effectiveness. The dramatic changes in affordable technology have provided ever-shifting expectations about the availability of and access to information. The dramatic changes in the church in North America, especially among the “mainstream” denominations, have tested traditional residential long-term theological education. The dramatic changes in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have led to the loss of subsidized theological education and higher debt of graduates. These dramatic changes have all impacted LTSP in ways unthinkable 10 years ago. To this end, this Self-Study has focused upon the question, “What is our mission in the midst of the changing landscape of the church and theological education in North America?” LTSP is situated in the midst of dramatic changes within the church and theological education. As noted in one working group report, much of the work that was done over the past few years has anticipated these massive changes and is responding to those challenges. A new mission statement (see sidebar by Sara E. Lilja, page 14) and an anticipated new curriculum driven by this mission statement will serve the institution well. With a diverse student body, invested in high quality theological education and ecumenical engagement, and a committed faculty, LTSP has the core of an exciting and effective place of teaching, learning, and research. The campus and its resources have proven to be a major asset for recruiting students, maintaining a quality campus life, and serving the educational needs of both the institution and the local community. With the library situated next to The Brossman Center, the seminary provides roots in its historical legacy as well as its commitment to twenty-first century education. Teaching technology will require continued investment in IT infrastructures to maintain a high quality learning experience. An ever-increasing amount of financial, state, federal, and accrediting regulations regarding everything from academic guidelines to liability issues has undoubtedly put pressure on the private institutions, and will continue to do so in the future.
LTSP… educates and forms public leaders who are committed to developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith for engagement in the world.
Reduced income from traditional ecclesiastical partners, increased debt load of students, and an unstable world economy have prompted the seminary to engage in a review of its fundraising and the school has embarked on ambitious efforts. As a seminary of the church, LTSP has worked hard at remaining firmly within its Lutheran heritage while being inherently ecumenical. The continued strength of the Urban Theological Institute (UTI), the hiring of faculty from different denominational backgrounds, partnership with a local Anglican diocese and the United Methodist Church, and a diverse student body, demonstrate both the commitment and the ability of the seminary to engage in critical, free inquiry within an engaging, exciting, and supporting community of teaching, learning and research. LTSP currently educates and forms public leaders who are committed to developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith for engagement in the world and will continue this ministry into the future.
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PHOTO COURTESY STEVE JENSEN.
LTSP Alumnus Steve Jensen finds a Wounded Warriors Ministry in Retirement
on their medical, mind, body, spirit, relationship issues, but also building trust,” Jensen explained. “They come to my home regularly for a cookout and discussion, finding it a safe place where people don’t ask probing or uncomfortable questions. There aren’t large crowds, and no loud noises startle them. “Since I didn’t have access to any funds to help with emergent needs, the Lutheran Church of Honolulu (LCH) established a discretionary account, and with local support I was able to create Friends of Windward Wounded Warriors,” Jensen continued. Local church conference lay members help as mentors, he noted, provide intern positions at their businesses, host monthly barbecue meals at the barracks, invite individuals and small groups to sail, fish, and play golf, sponsor family days at places like Wet ’N Wild, and more. “In turn, the Wounded Warriors enjoy giving back to the community by painting out graffiti or doing beach clean-ups, bringing their service dogs to encourage children to read, or allow homeless kids in a local program to pet them,” Jensen continued. “They send notes and Christmas gifts to Silver Springs-Martin Luther School (located near LTSP in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania), assist with Special Olympics or Veteran Paralympic games; and much more. Friends, churches, and strangers contribute to the fund so Jensen can buy new baby items, provide work clothes for internships, sponsor a date night for two couples a month, celebrate birthdays with cake and ice cream, and the like,” Jensen said. “I take about a dozen with the most severe PTSD each quarter for a retreat to a neighbor island,” Jensen explained. “The United Service Organization and Armed Services YMCA help underwrite the costs of lodging and transportation, while Lihue Lutheran (Church, Kawai) for example, uses its contacts or funds to provide recreational activities and meals. LCH provides free tickets to church/symphony concerts and St. John (Lutheran Church, Kailua) cooks at barbecues and provides secretarial support for me. Prince of Peace (Lutheran Church, Waikiki) paid for the Thanksgiving meal at my home. Other churches have gathered materials for care packages to the units from which these Marines and Sailors came, still fighting in Afghanistan. And on it goes. “Because I am also greatly concerned about what happens to them after they are discharged, I am now a member of the Veterans Administration’s Institutional Review Board, at which we scrutinize all new programs and services being developed for veterans and their families,” Jensen said. “I have agreed to be a Navy League board member beginning in January so I can further develop contacts and resources for the detachment. Slowing down in retirement? What’s that? As Jensen puts it, “It seems I have been given a second chance at ministry for which all other military and civilian experience and training has equipped me. I don’t want to squander a day of this opportunity, so I go at it ‘all ahead full.’ As a friend said, I want to be all used up when my time comes, and I can’t think of a better way to expend myself in service to others.”
LTSP alumnus and retired U.S. Navy Chaplain Steve Jensen enjoys a visit in Hawaii with First Lady Michelle Obama, who was on hand to encourage Wounded Warriors in Hawaii that Jensen ministers to as a volunteer chaplain.
IT BEGAN A YEAR AGO WITH A REQUEST FROM A FORMER OFFICER in charge of a Wounded Warriors ministry in Hawaii. Would retired U.S. Navy Chaplain Steve Jensen, an alumnus of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), provide pastoral counseling to a couple having a particularly difficult time with the husband’s IED wounds, traumatic brain injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and coping with a dozen or more medications? “There was no funding for a chaplain’s position,” Jensen explained. “However, I quickly was embraced by the patients and families I met — hungry for someone to help them deal with spiritual issues you might expect: Why was God AWOL when I was injured and my friends killed? Why did the best of us die and I was kept alive? Is there a purpose for me to be here? “I spend a great deal of time encouraging them (Wounded Warriors) to work
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The Rev. Lena Warren ‘08 Installed June 12, 2011, pastor, Immanuel Lutheran and Salem Lutheran Churches, Naugatuck, CT The Rev. JoAnna Novak Patterson ‘09 Installed June 5, 2011, associate pastor, St. Philip’s Lutheran Church, Wilmington, DE The Rev. Lorraine Peterson ‘09 Ordained September 17, 2011, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church,Torrington, CT The Rev. Carla Rush ‘09 Ordained September 18, 2011, First Lutheran Church, Dayton, OH Called to serve Bethany Lutheran Church, Kaleva, MI The Rev. Bradley Burke ‘10 Ordained May 2, 2011,Timothy Lutheran Church, Ashton, PA Called to serve as associate pastor at St. Michael Lutheran, Unionville, PA The Rev.Tim Garman ‘10 Ordained October 23, 2011, Allegheny Evangelical Lutheran Church, Mohnton, PA Called to serve as chaplain/ campus pastor, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Center, Allentown, PA The Rev. James Goodyear ‘10 Installed, June 31, 2011, pastor,Trinity Lutheran Church, Fort Washington, PA The Rev. Kevin O’Hara ‘10 Ordained June 3, 2011, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, NewYork City, NY Called to serve on the pastoral staff at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, NYC The Rev. James Smith ’10 Appointed October 6, 2011 as chaplain at Wagner College, located atop Grymes Hill in the NewYork City borough of Staten Island. The Rev. George W. Dietrich ‘11 Ordained September 18, 2011,Trinity Episcopal Cathedral,Trenton, NJ Called to serve as pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church, Haddon Heights, NJ The Rev. Christopher Halverson ‘11 Ordained September 18, 2011,Trinity Episcopal Cathedral,Trenton, NJ Installed October 2, 2011 as pastor, Saint Stephen Lutheran Church, South Plainfield, NJ PS SPRING 2012 The Rev. Ray Ranker ‘11 Ordained August 21, 2011, Memorial Chapel at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD Called to serve as Lutheran campus pastor at University of Maryland. The Rev. Deborah Stein ‘11 Ordained September 17, 2011, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church,Torrington, CT Installed October 9, 2011, pastor, St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Syracuse NY The Rev. Keith Walbolt ‘11 Ordained August 6, 2011, University Lutheran Church, Gainesville, FL Called to serve as pastor at Lutheran Ministry in Christ of Coral Springs, FL The Rev. Nancy Beckwith ‘09 Installed October 17, 2011, Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, Oxford, MA
The Revs.Taryn Montgomery ‘11 and Christoph Schmidt ‘11 announce the birth of Magdalene Esther Montgomery Schmidt ‘36 on October 15, 2011.The name Magdalene is inspired by Christoph’s maternal grandmother and byTaryn’s favorite biblical lady, and Esther forTaryn’s maternal grandmother. Maggie’s parents serve in the Minot, ND area.
Visit Ltsp.edu/alumni-news for more alumni news!
CHANGE OF CALL
The Rev. June E. Bair ‘06 Installed, June 12, 2011, Pastor, Zion Lutheran Church, Womelsdorf PA
ALUMNI UPDATES: Please keep us up to date on ministry calls, ordinations, and other alumni news to be included in upcoming issues of PS by emailing Ellen Anderson, at eanderson@Ltsp.edu.
Spring Convocation 2012
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
Tuesday and Wednesday, May 1 and 2, 2012 Ltsp.edu/convocation2012
Class reunions (Classes ending in “2” or “7”) will be held from 3:00-5:00 pm in The Brossman Center on Tuesday, May 1. Alumni reception, Easter Vespers, and the annual Alumni Banquet will follow.
To register: Ltsp.edu/convocation2012 OR call 215.248.7301.
To vote for Alumni Association Board members: 1. Go to Ltsp.edu/ convocation12award to vote online 2. Call the Rev. Ellen Anderson at 215.248.7301
DR. KATIE DAY
The Charles A. Scheiren Professor, Church and Society; Director, Metropolitan/Urban Concentration
DR. DAVID D. GRAFTON
Associate Professor, Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations and Director of Graduate Studies
June 2011 presented lecture at a conference on Global Public Theology in Bamberg, Germany entitled: “Gun Violence in the U.S.: the Challenge to Public Theology”; July 2011 led seminars for clergy and lay leaders for two days on “Gun Violence, Gospel Values” at the national gathering of the Presbyterian Church (USA), an event called “The Big Tent” in Indianapolis; October 2011 presented paper at meeting of Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in Milwaukee entitled: “After Tucson: the Mobilization of Communities of Faith in Responding to Gun Violence”; November 2011 presented papers at AAR in San Francisco, “The new Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, English Edition, as a Teaching Tool” and “Public Theology and the ‘Post-Secular’ Condition: Politics, Pluralism, and Public Discourse”; continue work on Faith on the Avenue, to be published by Oxford University Press next year.
DR. WIL GAFNEY
Associate Professor of Biblical Hebrew and Jewish and Christian Scripture
PARTICIPATION June 2011 “Muslims in America,” Temple Lutheran Church, Pennsauken, New Jersey; September 2011 “Radical, Reformed, and Progressive Islam,” Upper Dublin Lutheran Church; “9/11 Interfaith Dialogue,” Wissahickon Interfaith Clergy Association PAPER July 2011 “For God and Which Country?: Lutheran Pietists and their role in the nineteenth-century Anglican Mission Societies in the midst of the ‘Eastern Question,’ 18251898”, Aram Conference: Western Missions in the Levant, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford PUBLICATIONS May/June 2011 “German Lutherans and Assimilation: Lessons in the Current Atmosphere of Islamophobia,” The Journal of Lutheran Ethics (elca.org/What-WeBelieve/Social-Issues/Journal-ofLutheran-Ethics/Issues/May-June -2011/German-Lutherans-andAssimilation.aspx#_ednref11); July 2011 “Defining the term Jihād in the Arabic New Testament: Contested Arab Christian Identity Within the Contemporary
Islamic Environment of the Middle East,” Islam and Christian Muslim Relations 22:3; “The Word Made Book — Translating the Van Dyck Arabic Translation of the Bible and Arab Christian Views of Wahy” in Jesus and the Incarnation: Reflection of Christians from Islamic Contexts by David Singh, ed. (Oxford: Regnum Books, 2011).
DR. ERIK M. HEEN
John H.P Reumann Chair . in Biblical Studies
shop at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Philadelphia; March 2011 “Hospitality and the Bible,” four-week Adult Forum, Upper Dublin Lutheran Church, Ambler, PA LECTURER April 2011 “The Antikythera Mechanism, the Bible and the Cross,” Inaugural Lecture as first recipient of the John H.P. Reumann Chair in Biblical Studies,” LTSP.
DR. JON PAHL
Professor, History of Christianity in North America; Director, MA Programs
PARTICIPANT October 2011 “Word Alive: Planning the Future of the Book of Faith Initiative,” ELCA National Church Headquarters, Chicago, IL; August 2011 “2011 Convocation of Teaching Theologians: Sources of Authority in the Church: Lutheran Traditions in North American Contexts,” Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN. PRESENTER September 2011 “The Movie Babe: Romans 12 and the Transformative Role of Christian Civility,” Dinner and a Movie, Emanuel Lutheran Church, Hartford; June 2011 “The Gospel of Matthew,” twoweek Adult Forum, Upper Dublin Lutheran Church, Ambler, PA; May 2011 “The Interpretation of the Bible in the ELCA,” Work-
On sabbatical as Scholar/Priest-inResidence at All Saints Episcopal Church in the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii. Completed two-month Scholar’s Program at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem. Published blog on time in Israel: http://jerusalem40daysnights.blo gspot.com. Spent time with LTSPReconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) students there.
Dr. Wil Gafney in front of All Saints Episcopal Church in Kapaa, Hawaii.
March/April 2011 Invited by The Fountain Magazine to go on world tour of sorts, with lecture stops in Tirana, Albania; Singapore; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. While in Sydney, was interviewed on ABC Radio (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) on the topic of his recent book, Empire of Sacrifice: The Religious Origins of American Violence; May 2011 lecture at Cambridge University, England “In Guns We Trust: American Civil Religion and Violence”; June 2011 appeared at the Rumi Forum in Washington, DC, where he was interviewed for television show dedicated to his book Empire; keynote speaker at Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA’s Assembly, “Malls, Muhlenberg, and Mission”; July 2011 studied Turkish and lived in Istanbul, Turkey, conducting research for two book projects; published a chapter entitled “Homicide and American Religion,” in Religion, Death, and Dying, ed. Lucy Bregman; continues active as co-chair of the American Academy of Religions Group on “Religions, Social Conflict, and Peace,” and as saxophonist for “The Groove Daemons.”
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DR. STORM SWAIN DR. NELSON RIVERA
Associate Professor, Systematic Theology and Hispanic Ministry; Director, Latino Concentration Associate Professor, Pastoral Care and Theology; Director of Anglican Studies
July/August 2011 taught course on “The Christian Faith and the Philosophical Life” for the Summer Academy of Theological Education with Youth (TEY) at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.
DR. QUINTIN L. ROBERTSON
Director, UrbanTheological Institute (UTI)
Published Trauma and Transformation at Ground Zero: A Pastoral Theology (Augsburg Fortress, August 2011). From personal interviews with chaplains at the temporary mortuary at Ground Zero and her own experiences as an Episcopal priest, psychotherapist, and chaplain, Dr. Storm Swain offers a new model of pastoral care grounded in theology and practice. Reflecting on experiences of suffering faced in ministry, Swain considers what it means to love in these instances and what is involved in ministering in these contexts. Within this model, caregivers can move from a place of trauma to a place of transformation, which enables wholeness and healing for both caregivers and those for whom they care.
Implemented annual UTI Lecture and Worship Celebration each fall and will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of Preaching with Power this spring due to the success of UTI’s 30th anniversary celebration.
DR. J. JAYAKIRAN SEBASTIAN
H. George Anderson Professor of Mission and Cultures; Director, Multicultural Mission Resource Center; Seminary Chaplain
DR.TIMOTHY J. WENGERT
Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor, Reformation History
DR. KARYN L. WISEMAN
Assistant Professor of Homiletics; Director of United Methodist Studies
PUBLICATIONS “The Guide Who Stands Aside: Confessing Christ in India Today,” in Asian and Oceanic Christianities in Conversation: Exploring Theological Identities at Home and in Diaspora, eds., Heup Young Kim, Fumitaka Matsuoka, and Anri Morimoto, Studies in World Christianity and Interreligious Relations Vol. 47 (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2011), pp. 135 – 148; “Intertwined Interaction: Reading Gregory of Nazianzus Amidst Interreligious Realities in India,” in William F. Storrar, Peter J. Casarella, and Paul Louis Metzger, eds., A World for All? Global Civil Society in Political Theory and Trinitarian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI and Cambridge, U.K.: Eerdmans, 2011), pp. 162 – 177; “The Baptism of Death: Rereading the Life and Death of Lakshmi Kaundinya,” Mission Studies, Vol.
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28, No. 1 (2011), pp. 26 – 53; ENGAGEMENTS April 2011 “Christian Hospitality and Pastoral Practices in a Multifaith Society,” organized by The Association of Theological Schools, Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh Airport Hotel; participant and panelist, World Catholicism Week, “The Discourse of Catholicity,” DePaul University, Chicago, IL; panel presentation on “Catholicity in the Fathers of the Church,” entitled “Interrogating Relevance — Reaching Back in order to Move Forward”; panel presentation entitled “Public Theology in a Multicultural Context,” at book presentation — A World For All? Global Civil Society in Political Theory and Trinitarian Theology; May/June 2011 faculty mentor, Asian Theological Summer Institute 2011, LTSP.
April 2011 presented paper, “Philip Melanchthon and John Calvin’s Reaction to Andreas Osiander” for the North American Luther Conference; preached at Trinity Episcopal Church, Moorestown, NJ, on one of the seven last words; May 2011 presented overview of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg’s life at St. Daniel’s, Robesonia; June 2011 Led study of what it means to be Lutheran for the ELCA East Central Synod of Wisconsin in Appleton, WI; July 2011 keynote speech on Henry Melchior Muhlenberg for German-American Museum in Washington, DC; September 2011 workshop on Henry Melchior Muhlenberg at LTSP’s celebration of the 300th anniversary of his birth; September/October 2011 visited Strasbourg, France at the Ecumenical Institute for meeting of an international team of Lutheran and Roman Catholic scholars who will produce an ecumenical commentary on the 95 Theses.
April 2011 preached at ELCA Region 7 Regional Assignments; May 2011 preached for Alumni Gathering at LTSP; June 2011 speaker on Church Planting at The Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina; July 2011 Fellowship participant in Wabash Institute’s Pre-Tenure Seminary Faculty Colloquia, Crawfordsville, IN; July/August 2011 preached at Christ Lutheran Church in Upper Darby, PA; August 2011 preached at The Village Church in Oledo, OH; September 2011 Workshop on Preaching and Hunger at LTSP; Commentary, Westminster John-Knox Lectionary Commentary Series, Feasting on the Word, Vol. XII. (Homiletical Commentary on: “Joshua 24: 1-3a, 14-25;” “Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18;” and “Ezekiel 34: 11-16, 20-24.”); Article, “Bridging the Gap: Creating Intimate Preaching Encounters in Spaces That Separate Us,” Encounter, Fall 2011.
Death of Ellen Harper McGarr saddens many at LTSP; but her memory recalls much joy
Ellen Harper McGarr died at home in Boise, Idaho last April 15 after a struggle with cancer. She was 50. McGarr was the seminary’s original coordinator of student services, a position she held beginning in 1999 for a brief period, but those who experienced her capable skills first-hand will likely best remember her for her wit and engaging personality tinged with a hint of southern drawl and charm. Much of McGarr’s humor could be expressed at her own expense. In an obituary she wrote for the Idaho Statesmen last April 21 she tells of moving to Philadelphia to attend seminary to prepare for ordained ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. “She managed a few semesters before realizing what a terrible mistake she had made. Miss McGarr quit full-time study, but stayed at the seminary to work as a staff member and attend classes part time. This enabled her to remain a part of the seminary community she enjoyed so much while still quitting something. Quitting was an activity she had come to love and would enjoy for the rest of her life.” Ellen, better known as Harper in recent years, actually began her seminary career with studies at LTSP’s old New York Center during the 1994-95 academic year. She took one course there. In the fall of 1995 she enrolled on the Philadelphia campus of LTSP and completed one full semester, but continued to take classes from time to time before she withdrew in 2001. In the meantime, she began working for the seminary. “She was so darned engaging and helpful that we liked having her around,” explained René Diemer, LTSP’s Registrar, a McGarr administrative colleague. McGarr wore many hats at LTSP. When Mark Staples arrived in July, 1997 to become director of communications, he found McGarr filling in most capably as the interim director. McGarr next became an assistant to the director of admissions and provided backup administrative support to the President’s Office. In what Diemer called “the mass retirement of 1999,” President Robert Hughes, Registrar William Shafer, Admissions Director George Keck, and Business Manager Ed Schofield, all stepped down. “Ellen became the first and original coordinator of student services, and I became registrar,” Diemer said. McGarr was part of an administrative planning group consisting also of the dean, director of admissions, and registrar. During those years McGarr also headed up an influential hospitality task force appointed by President Hughes to improve seminary practices. While in Philadelphia, McGarr met her partner, Judy Troyer. She writes in her obituary that the two “would share many lovely vacations and several questionable real estate transactions.” They moved to Idaho in 2002.
The Rev. VirginiaThomas, MAR ’78
The Rev. Virginia Thomas, (MAR, ’78) died April 30, 2011. One of the first women to be ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church and the founder of the Dolphins Program of the Merion Deanery in the Diocese of Pennsylvania was born in Utica, New York, on November 22, 1917. She graduated from Cornell University, majoring in French, in 1938, received an MAR from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1978, and was ordained by the Rt. Rev. Lyman Ogilby that same year. From 1979 to 1988, she led the Dolphins Program, a visitation ministry of volunteers who call on lonely people in nursing homes and become their one-on-one companions. Upon her retirement in 1988, she and her husband moved to rural Vermont, where she continued to serve as a deacon at St. Matthew’s, Enosburg Falls. Until a month before her death, she regularly preached sermons that were known for their good humor, sound theology, and thoughtful insights into family life and the world around her. She is survived by three children from her marriage of sixty-eight years, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
LTSP alumnus The Rev. Karl Schneider (MDiv) died February 7 2012. In , addition to being a pastor, he was a teacher and coach, and served the community, synod, and greater church in his work on addictions. His teaching included German language and English as a second language, and he was a German visitation pastor. John H. Schneidmiller, 82, of Cabot, PA, formerly of Butler, passed away on Aug. 9, 2011, in the Good Samaritan Hospice in Cabot, PA. He was an alumnus of Capital University class of 1950, and LTSP class of 1953. The Rev. Stephen Paul Gerhard, 65, died Friday, May 20, 2011, in WinstonSalem, his home for the past 16 years. He graduated from Thiel College in Greenville, PA, where he met his wife of 42 years, Barbara Jeanne Foreman Gerhard. Pastor Gerhard received his MDiv from LTSP and a Master of Theology from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He served his internship (during which time he became the church’s full-time pastor) at Lord God of Sabaoth Lutheran Church in Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI. After being ordained in the Western Pennsylvania/West Virginia Synod in 1971, he served at Messiah Lutheran Church in Moundsville, WV, then moved to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Raleigh, where he was designated a pastor emeritus on May 31, 2009. Pr. Gerhard retired from Lutheran Church of the Epiphany in 2008, and became capital campaign director of the Lutheran Services for the Aging for the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America until March of 2011. Dedicated to his calling to serve, Pr. Gerhard also held various other church-related positions. The Rev. Ralph R. Hellerich died on October 24, 2011. Following his ordination in 1944, Pr. Hellerich served as pastor of St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Philadelphia (1944-1948), and St. John Lutheran Church, Woodbury, NJ (19481958). For the rest of his career he served as an editor for various church organizations and offices: the ULCA Board of Parish Education (1958-1960), Luther League (1960-1962), the LCA Board of Parish Education, and later the Division for Parish Services (1963-1982).
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YES, IT ’S A NEW NAME. Same people, same phone numbers, but a new name. Why the change? Over the years our work has been described as “fundraising,” then “development,” and more recently, “advancement.” By contrast, the word “philanthropy” may seem a bit abstract, but the meaning is rock solid: “the desire to promote the welfare of others.” “Philanthropy” is more about what is at the heart of what you are doing than it is about our work, our plans, or even our institution. It is gratifying to hear about what our donors care about, and we are blessed as we listen to those dreams. The “others” that we hear about in those conversations include: The Church, that it remains strong in its saving mission; The Congregation, that it continues to nurture and serve; The Leaders of the Church, that they preach, teach, and minister boldly; The Seminary, that it has resources to carry out its mission; The Students, that their gifts for ministry will grow in this learning community; The Faculty, that they find joy in helping shape lives of meaning and service; All who are included in this list are strengthened through your philanthropy, and to those of us in the Office For Philanthropy, there is nothing more satisfying than helping deliver the blessings of your gifts. So to you, our philanthropist friend, we send our thanks. Feel free to call or stop by your office at LTSP! Sincerely,
Greetings from the LTSP Office for Philanthropy!
The Rev. John V. Puotinen Vice President for Philanthropy 215.248.6316 philanthropy@Ltsp.edu
2011 ANNUAL REPORT OF DONORS IS NOW ONLINE AT
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LTSP NAMES YVONNE LEMBO FIRST RECIPIENT OFTHE DR. GROVER C. AND IRMA S. WRIGHT SCHOLARSHIP
YVONNE JONES LEMBO, A THIRD-YEAR SCHOLAR at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), has been named the first recipient of the Dr. Grover C. and Irma S. Wright Scholarship for African American Lutheran Students. The Wright Scholarship Fund was established with a $75,000 gift from Irma Wright, the widow of African American Lutheran pioneer Grover Wright, who persuaded dozens of Black scholars to serve as Lutheran professional leaders. The gift was made possible through proceeds from the dissolution of the Black Lutheran Community Development Corporation (BLCDC), a non-profit enterprise founded in 1987 by Grover Wright to provide affordable housing and support services to single parent families in order to help them become self-sufficient. This is the single largest African American Lutheran gift to LTSP in its nearly 150-year history. Lembo is a candidate for rostered ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She joined Little Zion Lutheran Church of Telford, Pennsylvania, in 2006, and in 2008 began Master of Divinity studies at the seminary. As a field education student, Lembo served as Vicar at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, where the Rev. Dr. Charles Leonard, LTSP associate professor of Practical Theology, is pastor. Leonard also is director of Contextual Education at LTSP. Recently, Lembo assisted Bishop Claire Burkat, of the ELCA’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod (SEPA), as pianist and worship leader for the Synod’s “God is Doing Something New” series of three Fall Gatherings. She has served as part of LTSP’s Office for Philanthropy since 2009, first as a work-study student, then as an administrative assistant, and since October 1, 2011, as a Philanthropic Advisor. In this capacity, she is devoted to cultivating strategic relationships in support of LTSP’s Urban Theological Institute (UTI), which provides resources for equipping African American scholars and Black Church leaders for twenty-first century ministry, and funds like the Grover and Irma Wright Scholarship. Lembo has excelled as a Pictured from left: Yvonne Lembo, with Irma Wright and The Rev. Dr. Rudolph Featherstone at the May 1, 2011 celebration. student. Two years ago she was honored with the Karl an opportunity, and a dare’ to minister with Elster Wurster Award, recognizing her integrity in new ways and new settings to academic merit and “promise of ministry.” expand the frontiers of the Gospel. When Sharing her thoughts on receiving the I’m moving in that direction, I feel their first Grover and Irma Wright Scholarship wind beneath my wings.” award, Lembo said, “I’m inspired and Since the Wright Scholarship was deeply, deeply moved by Grover and Irma’s established in 2010, there has been a welllife of faith, courage, hope, perseverance spring of support from African American and humility, and incredible investment Lutherans. A Celebration of Thanksgiving in raising up African American Lutheran Service this past May generated nearly leaders for the church. Mrs. Wright could $3,500 in additional gifts for the Grover have chosen to do many things with the and Irma Wright Scholarship Fund. funds she received from the BLCDC. But This past August, New Hope Lutheran she chose to invest in the future of African Church in Jamaica, New York, an African American Lutheran leaders. I feel as if American Lutheran congregation, desigGod has lavished these gracious gifts — nated a gift of nearly $6,000 to the Wright of receiving the scholarship and this opporScholarship Fund. tunity to raise funds for the seminary — In her capacity as Philanthropic Advisor, as part of a wonderful plan to extend and Lembo has organized a Grover and Irma enlarge Grover and Irma’s incredible legacy. Wright Scholarship Fund Task Force to So it’s not only the financial gift, but also follow through with the goal of increasing the Spirit behind the gift that is a blessing the Fund from the original $75,000 gift to to bequeath to each succeeding generation. $100,000 or more in 2012. The Task Force It’s a vision of hope and promise for the includes the Rev. Jessie Brown, Dr. Addie future of African Americans in the Butler, the Rev. Daniel Shook, and Sister Lutheran Church. It’s an investment in Cecilia Wilson, all of whom have been the future of our communities — to raise longtime friends of Grover and Irma up caring qualified leaders who are sensitive Wright and who served on the original and responsive to giving a hand up to those Scholarship Task Force. in need. In Grover’s words, it’s ‘a challenge,
COURTESY OF JESSEBROWN.COM
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Lembo is excited about continuing to build momentum and support for the Wright Scholarship Fund. “The Task Force is working with Dr. Charles Leonard, Larry House and, of course, Mrs. Irma Wright, to produce a short DVD that will tell the Grover and Irma Wright story through footage and photos from Grover’s life and interviews with Irma and several of Grover’s key colleagues and protégés.” The DVD will be used to invite others to join in the Wrights’ spirit of philanthropy and investment in African American Lutheran leaders. It is scheduled to be ready this spring and to be introduced at an African American Lutheran History Day at LTSP — “Let It Shine” — that Lembo is working on with LTSP faculty member the Rev. Dr. Richard Stewart. The History Day is Saturday, May 26, 2012, and more information and registration is at Ltsp.edu/letitshine. Pastor Larry Smoose and his congregation, Reformation Lutheran Church of Media, Pennsylvania, have taken the lead in supporting the Grover Wright DVD and 2012 fund-raising initiative by pledging $2,500 for DVD production costs and an additional $2,500 matching gift that will double the impact of those who contribute to the Grover and Irma Wright Scholarship over the next year. For more information about the Grover and Irma Wright Scholarship Fund, contact Yvonne Lembo at the LTSP Office for Philanthropy at 215.248.6318, or ylembo@Ltsp.edu. The LTSP website also features information about the Grover and Irma Wright Scholarship and photos from the May Celebration of Thanksgiving at Ltsp.edu/GroverIrmaWright Scholarship. For information and to register for African American Lutheran History Day, go to Ltsp.edu/letitshine.
LTSP RECEIVES “STEWARDS OF ABUNDANCE” GRANT FROMTHE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA
THE LUTHERAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY AT PHILADELPHIA (LTSP) received a grant from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) entitled “Stewards of Abundance” that has been implemented in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod (NEPA) this past fall. This venture is a joint effort of the LTSP Office for Philanthropy (formerly Advancement) The Stewards of and Office of Admissions to raise awareness in congregations of the church’s need for ministry Abundance grant leaders, and to increase financial support for students will fund a cadre of who answer that call to leadership in the church. volunteer visitors The need now is greater than ever. With half the ELCA clergy at retirement age, the rising cost who will visit of theological education, and increasing levels of congregations over student indebtedness, the seminary needs your the next two years. help in partnering with us on this initiative. These visits will The Stewards of Abundance grant will fund a educate congregation cadre of 25 volunteer visitors who will be recruited and trained to visit 100 congregations in the members and inspire NEPA synod over the next two years. These visits them to support will educate congregation members on the situation theological education. facing the church and inspire them to be a part of the solution, supporting theological education. It will encourage congregations to lift up prospective students and commit to supporting them financially as they answer God’s call into ministry. Congregational events can be tailored to each congregation’s preferences for a visit. Temple talks, a presentation to the congregational council, or meeting with small groups of influence are examples of ways a congregational visit can be structured. In addition, two synod-wide events will be held to thank, inform, and inspire potential donors and prospective students. This will enable potential donors to “put a face” on to whom their contributions might go, as well as enable prospective students to recognize there are committed individuals willing to help them financially in their journey to public ministry. A steering committee comprised of seminary staff from the Office for Philanthropy and Office of Admissions, current LTSP students, as well as rostered leaders from the NEPA synod is currently working to implement this endeavor. If you are in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod and are interested in serving as a volunteer visitor, having your congregation visited, or simply want to learn more, please contact Tom Henderson in the Office for Philanthropy at thenderson@Ltsp.edu or 215.248.6315. For more information or to be a “Steward of Abundance” with your generous gift to student aid, go to Ltsp.edu/stewards ofabundance.
PS SPRING 2012
Changing Church: Project Connect
THE REV. LOUISE N. JOHNSON, DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS, LTSP
FOR THE PAST DECADE AND THEN SOME, I have had the opportunity to work with young adults as they are discerning God’s call. As a seminary admissions director, I have the particular privilege to work with those who are discerning calls to public ministry. The Holy Spirit at work in them is what reminds me of the hope we have in Christ. In addition to being deeply faithful, so many of the young adults with whom I have worked are bright, creative, bold, and born to lead. They are beginning new ministries and reviving old ones. They are writing about God and human existence from brand new perspectives. And they are calling the rest of us to a deeper engagement with God and new ways of thinking about church. Project Connect, an initiative of the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries (Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia) called a number of these young leaders together in February, 2012, to hear what they had to say about the challenges facing our church and world. The retreat was called, “Changing Church,” which we hope called to mind both the changes that are happening in the landscape of the church, and the ways in which they might change things for the sake of the mission of the gospel. They had the chance to serve together, to reflect, imagine, write, and dream. We hope the time was a gift to them. We know it was a gift to the church. We will also commission several young adult writers to capture both the ideas and the theology that emerged from our time together. Look for them soon.
PS SPRING 2012
MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN continued from inside front cover
Also this spring, we are offering a series of seminars on “Educational Formation in Congregations” open for credit or non-credit for our students and pastors (see details on our website Ltsp.edu/non-credit). Since 2007, LTSP has pioneered the “Asian Theological Summer Institute” (ATSI), a national program supported by the Henry Luce Foundation, for Asian/Asian American doctoral students from all across North America. Over the years, LTSP has sought to offer a global, ecumenical, interfaith, and multicultural education in preparing leaders for the church and society. These emphases, we hope, will continue in the revised curriculum that the faculty is seeking to develop. Our curriculum of the future will certainly add more emphasis in renewing/developing congregations in the current environment of declining church membership. As our name indicates, LTSP is a “Lutheran” seminary, but our outlook is ecumenical, global, urban/metropolitan, multicultural, and inclusive. This outlook is represented by a distinguished faculty who are not merely acclaimed academic scholars, established authors, and excellent teachers, but who are also deeply committed to the future of the church and its renewal in a challenging environment. Martin Luther once remarked, “Change is easy but improvement is difficult.” It seems the more we change our curriculum, the more it remains the same! The books LTSP students read these days and the issues they wrestle with are different. And yet, the mission of theological education remains by and large the same, though our emphases may change from time to time. As dean of the seminary, I am confident that LTSP’s commitment to the pursuit of quality in theological education and our mission to “educate and form public leaders who are committed to developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith for engagement in the world” will not be diminished or undermined.
C A L E N DA R
E V E N T S
The Philadelphia Weekend Visit
Friday, April 13, 2012 – Sunday, April 15, 2012, LTSP Campus Ltsp.edu/visit
Convocation — Social Ministry
Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm The Brossman Learning Center, LTSP Campus
2012 Interfaith Prayer Breakfast: Hungry for Justice
Friday, April 20, 2012, 8:00 am – 10:00 am, The Brossman Center Ltsp.edu/prayerbreakfast
Prospective Student Event
Saturday, April 21, 2012, 10:00 am – Noon, LTSP Campus Ltsp.edu/visit
Earth Day Celebration
Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm William Allen Plaza, LTSP Campus
Muhlenberg 300 Spring Convocation 2012
“A New Frontier: Mission Then, Mission Now” Tuesday and Wednesday, May 1-2, 2012, LTSP Campus Ltsp.edu/convocation2012
Friday, May 18, 2012, 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm, Trinity Lutheran Church, 1000 West Main Street, Lansdale, PA, 19446 (at the intersection of Routes 63 and 363)
African American Lutheran History Day
Saturday, May 26, 2012, 11:30 am – 3:30 pm, LTSP Campus Ltsp.edu/letitshine
Asian Theological Summer Institute at LTSP (ATSI) Tuesday, May 29 through Saturday, June 2, 2012, LTSP Campus
Prospective Student Event
Thursday, June 14, 2012 and Thursday, July 12, 2012 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, LTSP Campus Ltsp.edu/visit
J. Paul Rajashekar Dean
SEMINARS ON EDUCATIONAL MINISTRY IN CONGREGATIONS
Spring Semester 2012 • Open to Pastors and Congregational Leaders
LTSP is pleased to present a series of five one-day seminars/workshops exploring various facets of educational ministries in congregations. Each daylong seminar is taught by a qualified practitioner and aims to provide a concentrated focus on a theme. The seminars are open to students (for credit) and to interested pastors and congregational leaders (for non-credit or Continuing education credit).
Please visit Ltsp.edu/non-credit for seminar descriptions, dates, and registration information, or contact: Kathie Afflerbach, Coordinator for Non-Credit Education, LTSP kafflerbach@Ltsp.edu. ,
7301 Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19119-1794 Ltsp.edu
HENRY MELCHIOR MUHLENBERG LEGACY SCHOLARSHIP
THE NEED To recognize the contribution Muhlenberg made to theological education, and on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of his birth, LTSP has established the endowed Muhlenberg Legacy Scholarship, and we invite you to help build that endowment. This scholarship will be awarded annually to an LTSP student who embodies the characteristics that defined Muhlenberg: a commitment to academic excellence, strong leadership skills, and a distinct pioneering approach to ministry. These qualities are intrinsic to the mission of LTSP as well as defining characteristics of Muhlenberg, whose dedication to language and study made him the innovative leader we celebrate today.
HOW YOU CAN HELP Make a gift to endow the Muhlenberg Legacy Scholarship and continue in the tradition of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. Ensure that the Lutheran church will have leaders who have received the classroom and practical training needed to serve.
Go to Ltsp.edu/muhlenberglegacy to donate online or call the Office for Philanthropy at 215.248.6316.
Henry Melchior Muhlenberg Legacy Scholarship
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