Tuesday, December 23, 2008

LTSP President's Message for Christmas 2008

Dr. Philip Kreyfrom the Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey, December 2008

As the Church year turns from Advent to Christmas, René and I wish you a blessed Christmas and New Year. May the joy that God is with us in Christ, and the knowledge that the world is reconciled to God in Christ, greet you over these days. At The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, we prepare ordained and non-ordained leaders who witness publicly to the Good news of God in Christ. This 145th academic year has been a wonderful year for the seminary, with a great student body and an excellent faculty getting ready for the church of the future. Our student applications for next year are double what they were last year at this time. We are also celebrating an anniversary of the Krauth Memorial Library: 100 years of Scholarship and Service. Schaefer-Ashmead Chapel at William Allen SquareWe experienced a major overhaul of Germantown Avenue, and the seminary contributed with the opening of the magnificent Allen Square in front of the chapel. In early 2009 we will welcome the bishop and staff of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Lutheran Synod onto the campus.

It has also been a challenging year as our endowment took a beating with the nation's economic downturn, but we are so thankful for the outpouring of support that we have received for the Leadership/Annual Fund as we attempt to reach a record goal of $1 million for the Fund, thus allowing us to protect the endowment for the future so that the seminary will stand like the new retaining wall in front of the chapel. Thanks to you, we are well on our way to this goal by June 30, 2009. It has not been easy, but we are baptized for times like this. God is teaching us to trust in God's loving mercy and to trust God's people to be there for the needs of theological education. Thank you for your trust in our stewardship. Merry Christmas.

- Philip D.W. Krey

You can help us reach our $1 million goal for the Leadership Fund. Please give online using your credit card. Thank you!

above, the Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel at William Allen Square, the LTSP campus

William Allen Square

the space before construction

You'll find an album of photos of the chapel/William Allen Square construction online.

Photos of the first public event on William Allen Square, the December 5, 2008, Christmas tree lighting, also online.

LTSP Students receive academic awards

Several students at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) recently were presented with academic awards by the Rev. Dr. Robert Robinson, acting co-dean. The awards are for academic achievement, and are presented in December of each year. Below is a list of awardees and the award they received; click on each name for more information on the student and award, and a photo.

LTSP is proud of the academic achievements of our outstanding students, who are fine examples of the seminary's mission of preparing ordained and lay ministers of the Word as leaders for the mission of the Church in the world.

Recipients included:

Andrew Goodson - Paul J. Hoh/Elizabeth Reed Award
Kate (Cathryn) Proctor - Paul J. Hoh/Elizabeth Reed Award
Joell McDuffy - Joseph Quinton Jackson Award
Rozella H. Poston - Joseph Quinton Jackson Award
Nancy Beckwith - Traci L. Maul Award

Feeling called to serve as a leader for the mission of the Church in the world? See the seminary Web site - Ltsp.edu - to learn more.

Friday, December 19, 2008

L. Jack Bradt of Easton, PA, earns award of distinction from Lutheran Seminary

Business pioneer honored for ‘outstanding leadership and service to Church and seminary’ during Advent recognition dinner Dec. 7

L. Jack Bradt, a pioneering Easton, PA, business leader for more than 50 years, and also a teacher and dedicated community-minded volunteer, was recently presented with the Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone the Glory) Award for 2008 by The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). The honor was conferred December 7 at the seminary’s annual Advent recognition dinner. The dinner is an opportunity for the seminary to thank those faithful and generous donors who help carry on the mission of LTSP. Seminary President The Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey and Board Chair Dr. Addie Butler took advantage of the occasion to thank those gathered, as well as important supporters including the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation, for their continued support during these challenging times.

Bradt was honored “in gratitude for outstanding leadership and service to the Church and to the mission of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.”

A member of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Easton, where the Rev. Susan Ruggles serves as pastor, Bradt served as a Seminary Trustee for more than 10 years and currently serves on the school’s President’s Council. While a Trustee, Bradt was a key leader for the seminary’s capital campaign steering committee and chaired the finance committee.

“Jack Bradt has been a driving force in the capital campaign and steadily challenged the Board of Trustees and the seminary to move toward excellence,” said the Rev. Dr. Philip D. W. Krey, president of LTSP. “He has introduced many friends and associates to our mission and been a wonderful ambassador for the school. He and his wife, Pat, have been extremely generous supporters.”

Born in St. Louis, MO, Jack Bradt served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1946 to 1948, and graduated from Cornell University in 1953 with a degree in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. He joined Safety Industries in Newhaven, CT, becoming assistant to the president responsible for a program of diversification and expansion. He managed the materials handling division when Safety Industries acquired the Howe Scale Co. of Rutland, VT, first moving his family to Rutland and then to Easton when Howe relocated there in 1956.

When fire destroyed the Easton plant in 1958, the parent industry was not interested in rebuilding. Bradt formed SI Handling Systems to acquire what was left of the company. He was president, chief executive officer and chairman there until 1986 when he relinquished CEO responsibilities to pursue other interests. He continues today as a director. Now part of Paragon Technologies, Inc., SI/Paragon is a world leader in the design, manufacture and installation of horizontal transportation and automated order fulfillment solutions used in factories and distribution facilities.

Bradt has served on the faculty of Lehigh University, teaching Entrepreneurship, Business Policy and Strategic management in the Master of Business Administration program. He at one time was Executive in Residence at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of management, teaching Policy, Strategy and Leadership in the MBA Program. From 1994 to 1998, he was Director of Human Services for Northampton County in Pennsylvania. He has been and is an active officer and director of a number of local, state and national organizations involved in business, education, religion, government and human services.

Bradt’s spouse, Patricia Thornton Bradt, is a 1952 graduate of Cornell. Married that year, the couple has three children and three grandchildren. Dr. Patricia Bradt received her MA and PhD from Lehigh and has served as a principal research scientist at Lehigh’s Center for Environmental Studies. She is currently Professor of Environmental Studies at Muhlenberg College.

in the photo: L. Jack Bradt (center) of Easton, PA, receives the Soli Deo Gloria (To God Alone the Glory) Award December 7 from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. With Bradt, from left, are the Rev. Dr. Philip D. W. Krey, seminary president; Bradt’s spouse, Dr. Patricia Bradt; and co-presenters and Trustees Dr. Robert Blanck and Dr. Addie J. Butler.

LTSP offering Feast of the Epiphany service and reception

On Tuesday, January 6, 2009, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) will be celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany at 7:00 pm and afterwards hosting a special reception for Mark Mummert, seminary musician at LTSP from 1990 to 2008 and now organist at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas. Three of Mr. Mummert's former students, Jennifer Baker-Trinity, Valerie LeFever Hughes, and John Weit will be providing musical leadership. The Rev. Martin Seltz, music and worship editor for Augsburg Fortress Press, will preside, assisted by Profs. Melinda Quivik and Timothy J. Wengert (preaching). All are welcome to join the seminary community for this special service.

Many of Mr. Mummert's own musical settings will be featured in this worship service along with special choirs. Students, teachers, staff and alumni/ae of LTSP are encouraged to attend along with any and all of their friends. Those who wish to sing in the choir, please e-mail John Weit (jweit@ltsp.edu). The choir will assemble at 6:00 pm in the chapel for rehearsal.

The Epiphany service will be held at the Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel at LTSP followed by a reception in The Brossman Learning Center. The seminary is located at 7301 Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. Ample free parking on campus is available in the Brossman parking lot, located behind the chapel.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tree Lighting on LTSP's Allen Plaza a successful opening for December First Friday

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) hosted its first event on the new William Allen Plaza with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and carol sing on Friday, December 5. Part of Mt. Airy's December First Friday, the event attracted over 150 area residents who celebrated the season with Christmas carols led by members of the seminary and New Covenant Church choirs and musicians from the Salvation Army under the direction of Major Andrew Murray. Hot apple cider and hot chocolate helped to keep the participants warm against the chilly evening, and toys for distribution by the Salvation Army were collected.

William Allen Plaza, located at the southwest corner of the LTSP campus at 7301 Germantown Avenue, Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, is designed as a public space that connects the seminary's 14 acre campus to Mt. Airy's revitalized business district along Germantown Avenue. The plaza will also be the entrance to the new offices of the bishop and staff of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, planned for the lower level of the seminary chapel. The bishop and staff will be moving from Norristown to Philadelphia to temporary quarters on campus in January.

In addition to the choirs and musicians leading carols, remarks from dignitaries including Pa. State Senator LeAnna Washington and Philadelphia City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, who both were instrumental in securing funding for the public space, seminary president Philip D.W. Krey, and SEPA Bishop Claire Burkat were shared. Guests were invited to continue the festivities by visiting other First Friday events along the avenue. The event was supported by a grant from the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation.

A collection of photos of the tree lighting can be viewed in an online album. Click on a photo below to download a copy.

Singing while gathered around the tree

Salvation Army musicians

Choir members leading in song

State Senator LeAnna Washington

City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller

SEPA Bishop Claire Burkat

LTSP President Philip Krey

Is there a role for churches in advocating for a new economic world order?

A Lutheran Seminary keynoter and author proposed that the Church once more plays the kind of influential, international diplomatic role in human rights that its leaders were known for decades ago

During the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s influential church leaders profoundly shaped the international diplomacy and human rights issues of the day.

Could it happen again? British author Canon John S. Nurser, whose career has chronicled human rights history internationally, thinks it’s possible despite current challenges. Canon Nurser addressed an audience celebrating the life of the late Professor O. Frederick Nolde, who during the above period hob-nobbed with the likes of former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, Eleanor Roosevelt and President John F. Kennedy while taking part in diplomatic talks surrounding Vietnam and the Suez Crisis. Nolde spent two years with others drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations. Nolde penned sections on Freedom of Religion in the Declaration, which becomes 60 years old next week. In those days he often introduced himself to world leaders as a professor of Christian education at a Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia. The professor, who taught at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) for 40 years prior to his death in 1972, is featured in a chapter of a book authored by Nurser entitled For All Peoples and All Nations (Georgetown University Press, 2005). Nolde directed the seminary’s Graduate School during many of those years and lived in Wyndmoor, PA.

“What the ecumenical Christians of the 1940s called ‘Christendom-thinking’ accepted that in a global era that there no longer ought to be faith-based states, but that world Christianity is called to ask for a specific set of rights in secular states, provided those rights are equally available to all citizens, whatever their faiths,” Nurser said in remarks he titled, “Human Rights Needs the Churches: The Gospel Needs Human Rights.” “Whether that can hold today remains a vital question. Its fundamental assumption is the divine and human imperative of hospitality, of being ‘serious’ that our neighbors, within reasonable limits, should be at ease in their life situation. A Christian who follows St. Paul is above all concerned that a neighbor’s conscience should be so at ease. This is in my opinion a happy companion to the Golden Rule offered by Jesus and indeed by many others.” Nurser’s remarks were part of this year’s observance connected with the O. Frederick Nolde Ecumenical Lectureship and Seminar at the seminary.

Nolde, among other things, founded the World Council of Churches’ Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) and convened a May, 1945 meeting in San Francisco that decided on a commitment to human rights in the Charter of the United Nations.

But what of today? Could churches play a role in helping to establish a new and responsible economic world order with the United Nations and issues of human rights as part of the focus for a just world? “In our own time I suggest churches may be sensing a vocation to become ‘serious’ about the present economic and financial arrangements of the world,” Nurser said.

“These two, as was the case of matters in the 1950s, need to answer gospel questions and be changed. In the area of greed and economic privilege – so much closer to our daily life – we have become vulnerable. In my judgment, moving to a global economic order worthy of the task will be a long and painful struggle. Without the stamina that comes from religious conviction it will fail.”

Nurser said there is no way that global and economic financial life can be governed “without first agreeing on what institutions have to be set up to begin to undertake such regulation, and then establishing them. And how is such authority to be made to relate to political authorities? The United Nations’ human rights bodies have been emasculated from inside by precisely the states that have the most to answer for at that bar. Perhaps the United Nations itself will have to be reformed first. After all, for the first 10 years of its life the UN’s Economic and Social Council (to which the Human Rights Commission was responsible) was at the same level as the Security Council.”

Nurser called for the kind of spirit that can be found in an examination of Nolde’s life work, recognizing that “many voices in the public square, including Christian churches, are calling for a better way to be found to manage global economic and financial life.” He suggested that could lead to churches working together to set up an informed conversation about global markets – one that could lead entrusting an agreed-upon agenda to an appropriate officer and staff empowered to act on their behalf.

Following Nolde’s approach of decades ago, such an office would cultivate familiarity with the range of economic expertise, both practical and academic, he said. Those involved would get to know the relevant players in international conferences personally, as Nolde did, he said.

“Many Non Governmental Offices (NGOs) now do this, and follow where the CCIA led,” he said. “Perhaps the churches no longer have bodies that are sufficiently heavyweight and representative and trans-national in such a field,” he said. “Perhaps – above all – the churches have still to work at the mobilization of public opinion of which they are capable” in order for the original vision to be rekindled with relevance for today.

Nurser concluded by reading a paragraph, a kind of “credo”, framed by Nolde in 1954 for the occasion of the second assembly of the World Council of Churches in Evanston, IL, a credo that Nurser feels holds continuing relevance for today:

“This troubled world, disfigured and distorted as it is, is God’s world. He rules and overrules its tangled history. In praying ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’, we commit ourselves to seek earthly justice, freedom and peace for all men and women. Here as everywhere Christ is our hope – The Fruit of our effort rests in His hands. We can therefore live and work as those who know that God reigns, undaunted by all the arrogant pretensions of evil, ready to face situations that seem hopeless and yet to act in them as men and women whose hope is indestructible.”

Video of Canon Nurser’s lecture, along with responses by LTSP students and alumni, and photos can be found online: www.Ltsp.edu/noldelecture

photo above: LTSP President Philip Krey with Nancy Nolde and Canon John Nurser

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Human Rights Needs the Churches: The Gospel Needs Human Rights

Nolde Lecture explores the role of churches in human rights and the global economic 'meltdown'

Tuesday, December 2, 2008 11:30 am, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Brossman Learning Center

During the current global "economic meltdown," what is the role of today's churches and other faith organizations in establishing an effective global economic order? And how do the United Nations and the issues of human rights connect to the process? Those critical issues were explored by British author Canon John S. Nurser, whose career has focused on human rights issues internationally, with an address for the O. Frederick Nolde Ecumenical Lectureship and Seminar on Human Rights. Nurser's remarks are entitled "Human Rights Needs the Churches: The Gospel Needs Human Rights."

The Nolde Lectureship and Seminar honors the work of the late LTSP professor O. Frederick Nolde. Read more at Ltsp.edu/noldelecture.