Friday, June 22, 2007

LTSP Awarded $150,000 NEH Grant to Translate Colonial Correspondence

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) has been awarded a three-year, $150,000 collaborative research grant by The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The award will support the preparation of an English edition of the correspondence of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (1711-1787), the patriarch of American Lutheranism. The translations will be completed by Dr. Wolfgang Splitter of Germany. Others involved in the grant include Dr. Jon Pahl, Professor of the History of Christianity in North America at LTSP; Mary A. Redline, researcher for LTSP’s Krauth Memorial Library and the Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia; and Rev. Martin Lohrmann, a doctoral student at LTSP. Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert, Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Church History at LTSP (pictured right), will be directing the project.

Professor Wengert notes, “As we approach the three-hundredth anniversary of Muhlenberg’s birth in 2011, it is fitting that we give to his spiritual descendants and to the country he finally called his own a more complete record of his deepest thoughts and severest struggles as a colonial clergyman.”

Muhlenberg played an important role in 18th century America both as a leader in colonial Lutheranism and in cultural and political developments across the colonies. He left behind more than 15,000 pieces of correspondence, with figures such as Benjamin Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Hanoverian Court in London. Wengert explained that the letters, written during the tumultuous years of the Revolutionary War, will be translated from the original German into English for the first time. Translating the entire body of Muhlenberg’s correspondence will allow scholars to discover anew “just how complicated life was at that time for the Christian clergy and laity alike,” Wengert continued, “Muhlenberg served as a religious leader for the single largest group of immigrants, the German-speaking, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These letters will also depict the countless hurdles that this diverse group of immigrants overcame to establish their religious life and culture in a world dominated by English-speaking people.”

LTSP received one of just 79 awards for We the People projects in U.S. history and culture, a special recognition by the NEH for model projects that advance the study, teaching, and understanding of American history and culture. In announcing the awards, NEH Chairman Bruce Cole noted “With these grants, NEH continues its support of wide-ranging and substantial projects that explore the great ideas and great events of both our own culture and other cultures throughout the world.”

LTSP (, one of eight schools of its kind in the 5-million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (, is committed to preparing ordained and lay ministers of the Word as leaders for the mission of the Church in the world. LTSP awards first professional and advanced-level degrees to present and future church leaders. Located in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia on the site of the historic Battle of Germantown of the Revolutionary War, almost 500 students study at the seminary. The student body is comprised mostly of Lutherans, but more than 35 percent are from over 30 other faith backgrounds, including Episcopalian, Baptist, Presbyterian, United Methodist, United Church of Christ, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Church of God in Christ.

LTSP Alum Victor M. Rodriguez, Former Lutheran President of Caribbean, Dies

(this story is from the ELCA News Service, June 21, 2007)

Victor M. Rodriguez, Former Lutheran President of Caribbean, Dies

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Victor M. Rodriguez, a synod president of the former Lutheran Church in America (LCA) and retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), died June 18 from injuries sustained in a car accident in Ocala, Fla. He was 81.

A memorial service for Rodriguez was held June 20 at his home congregation, Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Ocala, Fla. Another memorial service will be held July 15 at Iglesia Luterana La Santisima Trinidad (Holy Trinity Lutheran Church), Lomas Verdes, Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

Born in Orocovis, Puerto Rico, Rodriguez received a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, in 1952, and a master of divinity degree from Mount Airy Seminary, Philadelphia, in 1955. The seminary became the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia -- one of eight seminaries of the ELCA. As a seminarian, Rodriguez started the first Lutheran Latino ministry in Camden, N.J. In 1969 Rodriguez was awarded an honorary degree from Wagner College, Staten Island, N.Y. Wagner is one of 28 colleges and universities of the ELCA.

Ordained in 1955 in the former United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA), Rodriguez was pastor of Iglesia Luterana Nuestro Salvador (Our Savior Lutheran Church), Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, from 1955 to 1957. He was pastor of Iglesia Luterana Santisima Trinidad from 1957 to 1964. There Rodriguez helped start the first Lutheran school -- pre-kindergarten to grade 12 -- in the Caribbean Synod.

In 1964 Rodriguez became president of the ULCA's Caribbean Synod. During his tenure the ULCA became the LCA, and Rodriguez continued his role as president until 1976. The LCA merged with two other Lutheran churches in 1987 to form the ELCA in 1988.

After serving 12 years as synod president, Rodriguez became a mission developer and started two congregations -- Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey (Christ the King Lutheran Church), Carolina, Puerto Rico, and Iglesia Luterana Christo Victorioso (Christus Victor Lutheran Church), Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. Rodriguez retired in 1991 and moved to Ocala, Fla.

"His life and ministry were a witness of God's work in the world. Our family affirms his ministry and sees him as our mentor. My uncle has a brother, some nieces and nephews who serve at the ELCA churchwide office, seminaries and congregations," said Carmen Rodriquez-Rivera, director of Latino ministries, ELCA Multicultural Ministries, and a niece of Victor Rodriguez. "We continue to live in the hope that he is now living in the Church Triumphant," she said.

"For us it has been a sincere loss. He is deeply cared for among members of the ELCA Caribbean Synod, and we ask God to console his family," said the Rev. Francisco L. Sosa, interim bishop, ELCA Caribbean Synod.

Rodriguez is survived by his wife of 59 years, Sara, and their two adult children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

For information contact:

John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or ELCA News Blog:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Help us exceed the 2007 Leadership Fund goal!

LTSP is approaching the end of the 2006-2007 fiscal year, and your gifts can help us exceed our goal of raising $600,000 for the Leadership Fund. The Leadership Fund helps provide LTSP students with financial assistance so they can enter ministry while carrying a minimum of debt. Your gifts toward this year's goal will help give the seminary the funds it needs to assist our students.

LTSP Board of Trustees chairperson Dr. Addie Butler shares her thoughts on the Leadership Fund... You can give online here.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

143rd Commencement Highlights online

The 143rd commencement of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia was a glorious event on a glorious day. Read highlights, see photos and listen to the addresses from the event, held for the first time outdoors on the quad in front of The Brossman Center.

Start here on the seminary Web site:

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Come and see what LTSP has to offer: Seminary invites you to Open House on Thursday, June 21, 2007, 6:30-8:30pm

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Is God inviting you to learn, to lead, to be formed? Asking you to be a leader in the church? Is God calling you to something new?

We can help. The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) will host an Open House on Thursday, June 21, 2007, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. You’ll have an opportunity to reflect on these questions, to meet others who may be feeling God’s call, and to consider what in the world God wants you to do. You will meet seminary students, staff, and faculty, and experience our convenient yet retreat-like campus and state-of-the-art Brossman Learning Center.

You can register for the LTSP Open House by web, email, or telephone. To register online, please visit You can also register by sending an email to or by calling 1-800-286-4616, ext. 7302.

Our fully-accredited Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Religion programs prepare those with undergraduate degrees to serve as pastors and church leaders. Concentrations such as Black Church, El Instituto de TeologĂ­a y Pastoral, and Metropolitan/Urban offer opportunities for specialized study. LTSP also offers advanced degrees: Master of Sacred Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Theology. And for those who wish to explore faith questions or become better church leaders, the Urban Theological and Faith and Life Institutes offer a wide range of certificate and non-credit programs.

Learn more about The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia on the Web: Interested in academic programs? Contact the admissions office – or 215-248-7302. Interested in the latest at LTSP? Sign up for the eNewsletter:

Can’t come to the Open House? Our admissions office can arrange a personal visit at your convenience. A personal visit gives you the chance to consider your call to leadership in the church by spending a day or two on campus with the seminary community. For more information, please contact the LTSP Admissions Office at 1-800-286-4616, ext. 7302 or

Come and see!

The seminary reflects the diversity of God’s church with a student body that represents many different denominations, including Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist, African Methodist Episcopal, and Church of God in Christ. Our day, evening and weekend classes offer a number of options to meet a wide variety of needs. Our campus in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, is both beautiful and convenient to major highways and public transportation.

LTSP presents unique summer learning program for children – “Kids’ College at the Sem”

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Kids’ College at the Sem is a three-week program starting July 9, 2007, that will give youth beginning grades 5 – 9 in September experiences in entrepreneurship, career self-exploration and hands-on experience in architecture and interior design. Kids’ College will expose area children to academic and vocational opportunities that will contribute to their education and broaden their cultural knowledge and talents. Participants can register for one, two or all three weeks.

Classes each week will run from 9:00 am to noon. The first week, July 9 –13, will be taught by The Business Center on Youth Entrepreneurship. The second week, July 16-20, will focus on career and self-exploration taught by Career Consciousness. The third week, July 23-27, will provide a hands-on experience learning about architecture and interior design as taught by Philadelphia University. Each week-long course costs $60 per child. Register online at or by mail: Kids College at LTSP, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119. For more information, contact Terri Youngblut at 215-248-7313 or Space is limited so register early.

Kids’ College at the Sem is modeled on a successful program run by Ohio State University, Marion, Ohio. The program at LTSP brings together local institutions in one central Mt. Airy location. Kids’ College at the Sem allows children, families, community organizations, and academic institutions to work together to raise healthy, happy, and employable future generations.

Through a generous grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, LTSP is able to channel additional resources to support local non-profit organizations. This initiative, Freed to Serve our Neighbor, is a coordinated effort to pool resources and greatly expand involvement directed at helping the Northwest Philadelphia community. As coordinating institution for Kids’ College at the Sem, LTSP brings together resources already in the neighborhood to create a program that will make a significant difference in the lives of our neighbors in concrete ways, providing resources for families’ emotional and financial health, and contributing to improved education for children.

As part of the Freed to Serve our Neighbor initiative, this year Kids’ College at the Sem classes will be taught by two local businesses, The Business Center and Career Consciousness, and a local institute of higher education, Philadelphia University. While each class can be taken individually, all three will broaden career possibilities for the children. For example, a student may discover he or she has a “green thumb,” decide to start a business growing flowers, fruits or vegetables with classmates as a school fundraiser, while another student can design and build a stand to sell the flowers or produce.

LTSP (, one of eight schools of its kind in the 5-million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (, is committed to preparing ordained and lay ministers of the Word as leaders for the mission of the Church in the world. LTSP awards first professional and advanced-level degrees to present and future church leaders. Almost 500 students study at the seminary. The student body is comprised mostly of Lutherans, but more than 35 percent are from 16 other faith backgrounds, including Episcopalian, Baptist, Presbyterian, United Methodist, United Church of Christ, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Church of God in Christ.