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