Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lutherhostel to explore Penn's influence

Lutherhostel program to explore
William Penn’s legacy for today

PHILADELPHIA, PA (May 19, 2008) – “William Penn’s Holy Experiment: Religious Freedom Then and Now” is the theme for the ninth annual Lutherhostel program June 16-20 at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP).

The annual program is a residential or commuter learning experience for older adults (aged 50 or more, non-Lutherans welcome!) co-sponsored by the seminary and the Association of Lutheran Older Adults, based in Baltimore, MD. Participants come from around the country. The program is made possible through a generous grant from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.

“Quaker statesman William Penn cast a long and historic shadow over the development of colonial Philadelphia in the late 17th century, and he espoused formative ideas about liberty of conscience and religious freedom that he put into practice as an English colonizer,” says Mark Staples, Lutherhostel project manager and director of the seminary’s life-long learning initiative called The Faith and Life Institute. “We’re going to take a look at his life and times, his approach to partnering with colonists of differing religious persuasions and the Native tribes of his day. And we’ll consider lessons from his legacy that offer a perspective for today. What are our current religious freedom challenges? How might his approaches guide us as we consider the local to global challenges before us now?”

Keynoters for the week include Quaker presenter Nancy V. Webster, curator/historian for the national Friends Historical Association; Dr. Jon Pahl, professor of the History of Religion in North America at LTSP; Dr. A. Gregg Roeber, professor of Early Modern History and Religious Studies at Penn State University; “Living History” Performer William C. Kashatus, who appears regularly for the National Park Service; and the Rev. Bruce Davidson, director of the Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry in New Jersey. LTSP Professor Katie Day will show her pictorial research on the faith communities along Philadelphia’s historic Germantown Avenue, including commentary on several historic or “mother” churches from several traditions. The week will include a bus tour of historic Pennsbury, Penn’s distinctive residence for a time when he lived in Philadelphia. Also appearing will be Susan Plaisted, a Pennsylvania Humanities Council presenter who will explore “Dining with William Penn” during a Wednesday afternoon session.

The cost for participating in the program is $430 (residents) and $330 (commuters). The registration fee covers 13 meals, refreshments and the bus tour of Pennsbury. Register on line at www.Ltsp.edu/Lutherhostel08. Detailed information about the program is available there. For additional assistance, contact Staples at 215/248-7352 or email him at Mstaples@Ltsp.edu. The program begins with checking in Monday morning June 16 for a 1:30 p.m. program opening. The program concludes with lunch Friday noon.

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