Monday, December 28, 2009

St Olaf Choir Feb 8 Philadelphia concert in partnership with LTSP

The renowned St. Olaf Choir, under the direction of Conductor Anton Armstrong, will The 2009-2010 St. Olaf Choirbe appearing in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall on Monday, February 8, 2010, at 7:30 pm. This is the first time in eight years that the choir will be performing in Philadelphia, and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia is partnering with St. Olaf to make this concert a success. The choir's last appearance, in 2001, quickly sold out, so be sure to reserve your seats now.

The St. Olaf Choir, with 75 mixed voices, is considered one of the finest college a cappella choirs in the United States. For more than three-quarters of a century, the St. Olaf Choir has maintained its original purpose - study and preparation of a wide range of representative sacred choral literature for public performance. The annual tour advances the artistic standards of church music and provides means of spiritual inspiration for its many listeners.

More information about the concert, including the program, and links to purchase tickets are online at Group discounts for 15 or more are available, please contact St. Olaf directly by calling 507-786-3646 or emailing

Newly translated letters by Lutheran patriarch reveal the travails of religious and mid-colonial life in the 1750s

Grants to Lutheran Seminary from the National Endowment for the Humanities and The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission made the project possible

He is known as the patriarch of Lutheranism in North America, depicted by many scholars as vigorous and with indefatigable energy. During the mid 1700s, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg served as a founding and sustaining force for more than two dozen congregations in colonial New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. (at right: statue of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg on the seminary campus)

Now, a newly published volume of 48 letters translated from German to English, The Correspondence of Heinrich Melchior Muhlenberg (Volume 3, 1753-1756, Picton Press 2009, $64.50), reveals a more vulnerable picture of a family man worn out by constant far-flung travels to congregations beset by hardship, not enough money, and bickering. (Sound familiar, contemporary church leaders?) His correspondence also describes the disruption in trade imposed upon German Settlers by the travails of the French and Indian War.

Muhlenberg’s letters further offer intimate and authentic insights into the patriarch’s personality not available before in English. According to the volume’s introduction, the letters impressively illumine the roles Muhlenberg played in colonial life: as a German missionary and American pastor, as a subject of George II of Great Britain and citizen of the Pennsylvania colony, as a self-avowed non-political pastor and a backstage political manipulator, as a religious leader and ethnic spokesman, as head of a typical Lutheran parsonage and of a large family, and simply as a public figure and private individual. Beyond that, the letters, often written to Muhlenberg’s sponsors back home in Halle, Germany, paint a defining picture of colonial life and hardships from a distinctive perspective. And the letters reveal the diligence with which Muhlenberg maintained international correspondence.

The volume was made possible by a $150,000 three-year collaborative research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). Key publishing assistance also came from a grant to the seminary from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The letters were painstakingly translated by Dr. Wolfgang Splitter, associated with the Martin Luther University in Halle, Germany, and the Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Wengert, Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Church History at LTSP (at right), who directed the project. Others involved in the initiative were Dr. Jon Pahl, professor of the History of Religion in North America at LTSP; Mary A. Redline, researcher for LTSP’s Krauth Memorial Library and the Lutheran Archives Center at the seminary, and the Rev. Martin Lohrmann, a doctoral candidate at LTSP.

Muhlenberg’s correspondence is spiced with colorful rhetoric. In a letter describing the troubles infusing the life of the Lutheran congregation in Germantown, Muhlenberg at one point writes to his sponsors: “The laws of this country are holy and good but, in contrast to the intentions of their authors, are often misused by tricks and intrigues of unscrupulous jurists so that their magnetic needle points to where there is the most ore. The one who has the most money and like, newlanders, fiddlers and innkeepers, obtains it with little effort, can in some places claim his rights even if he is utterly wrong.” He goes on to say that “some people in leadership (of the provincial government) like to see the German immigrants divided and torn to pieces…”

In the volume’s introduction, Splitter and Wengert note Muhlenberg’s state of despondence at “friends and sponsors seemingly abandoning him to the hazards and temptations of the American wilderness.” Writing in 1756 to Samuel Theodor Albinus, a boarding school instructor in Halle and later a court preacher in the German Chapel in London, Muhlenberg described “Being pressured from within and without on all sides by the war with the cruel and inhumane savages [a reference to the French and Indian War],” by “poverty” and “other plagues…and even abandoned by our best friends and patrons is almost too hard for us.” The letter reveals how Muhlenberg was experiencing burnout and showing signs of overwork at the age of 42. The father of five was at the same time asking his superiors “to grant me for the little rest of my life to weep in secret over the innumerable sins in office and station and over my mistakes, to feed and raise my own underage children, to search in the wounds of Jesus for salvation and mercy for my poor soul, and to get prepared for a blessed end.” He had served more than four times longer than his initial three-year commitment. Yet he went on in his leadership capacity for many more years prior to his death in 1787.

In reflecting on the volume’s historic content, Wengert says, “As director of this project, I believe that it is important to indicate the significance of this work for better appreciating America’s colonial roots. Hearing an eyewitness account of the gruesome details of the French and Indian War and its impact, especially on the predominantly German settlers on the Pennsylvania frontier, provides a different perspective from which to measure the effects of events in the mid eighteenth century on the inhabitants of the middle colonies. From Muhlenberg’s direct, surprisingly honest expressions, one can also begin to grasp the great personal toll that colonial leaders bore in organizing colonial community and religious life with these immigrants. Moreover, Muhlenberg’s direct relation to religious leaders in Halle, Germany (then a part of the Kingdom of Prussia), so completely outlined in these letters, elucidates another aspect of colonial life, namely connections to the wider European community. The flow of money, medicines, people and ideas back and forth across the Atlantic provides yet another proof of the international character of colonial life.”

Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent Vespers: Remembrance, Recognition, Anticipation

Bueschers honored, cherished lives recalled during seminary’s annual Advent Vespers Dinner and Service

In a season filled with the anticipation of Christ, this year’s Advent Vespers Dinner and the following worship included a celebration of lives devoted to The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). The Vespers were held Sunday, December 6, 2009.

The dinner was an occasion tinged with sadness. Attendees recalled that Registrar Emeritus John Augustus Kaufmann, who served the school with inspiring dedication for more than 50 years, had died less than 24 hours earlier. And this past May the seminary had lost another dynamic leader, the Rev. Dr. Robert Bornemann, the seminary’s Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Old Testament, to whom this year’s Vespers service was dedicated. Bornemann, a composer and talented musician, served 35 years as seminary choir director and founder of the Advent Vespers service, part of a teaching career that spanned 41 years at LTSP.

Then came the joyful opportunity to pay tribute and give thanks for the special gifts afforded the church and seminary by Robert and Janet Buescher of Long Island. The couple received the seminary’s cherished Soli Deo Gloria Award for distinguished service to the seminary. Making the presentation were Dr. Robert Blanck, who chairs the LTSP Foundation Board, and the Rev. Dr. John Richter, chair of the LTSP Board of Trustees.

Much of the evening’s spirit shone through brief remarks given by David B. Devan, executive director of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, who came to the dinner to deliver a surprise tribute to Bornemann.

Saying that the late professor emeritus well understood “the intersection between faith and music,” Devan said Dr. Bornemann “worked tirelessly for decades to develop the corps of ‘extras’ who graced the opera company stage.” Devan noted that in that way Bornemann “embodied the spirit of this place – making the community within this school a part of the community outside” by encouraging seminarians to serve as part of the company’s corps of non-singing extras known as “supernumeraries.” Devan drew laughter when he noted that the seminarians Bornemann recruited “got to carry spears and weapons of destruction (on the stage) that are not normally a part of their lives.” And he said their participation through Bornemann’s efforts “made many special moments possible…Robert Bornemann understood that in moments of great joy and sadness we do two things. We pray and we sing.” He urged those present to reflect on a life well-lived that brought joy to so many people.

In presenting the Soli Deo Gloria Award, Blanck noted Robert Buescher’s contributions to the school as an initial member of the seminary’s President’s Council, formed in the early 1990s and as a member of the LTSP Foundation Board, begun in the mid-1990s. Buescher, he said, played a key role in managing the seminary’s investment portfolio and also leading fund-raising efforts for the school. He praised Janet Buescher for her advocacy on behalf of the school, her personal stewardship through the management of a Foundation and for her sponsorship of events promoting the school to prospective and current donors. (In a lighter moment preceding the award presentation, Blanck gave the Bueschers Philadelphia Phillies caps, noting that the couple, fans of the New York Mets, had decided to pledge allegiance to the Phillies in baseball’s recent World Series after their team had experienced a really down year.) Robert Buescher, an electrical engineer, has held key engineering management posts in several industrial organizations and served as a partner for a prestigious venture capital firm. Janet Buescher has devoted her life to teaching and service as a librarian as well as philanthropic leadership, directing the Robert H. and Janet C. Buescher Foundation.

In accepting the Soli Deo Gloria Award, Robert Buescher said, “We don’t really think we deserve it, but thanks be to God. We’ve been blessed more abundantly than we ever could have imagined when we were married 57 years ago. What we have done is a feeble attempt to respond to the love of God.” Buescher cited the words of the Apostle Paul in II Timothy that all are “called not to good works but to God’s own purpose. To God alone is the glory.”

Janet Buescher recalled her days years ago as a confirmation teacher when the lessons urged classes to consider the role of seminaries, and no one around her understood anything about them. She urged those in the room to encourage those they know to become more familiar with the schools that train their pastors.

Invited to speak on behalf of the Bueschers, the Rev. Gary Mills offered remarks. He is the assistant to the Bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod in the area of Global and Multicultural Mission. Mills recalled the significance of the Advent season “when it always seems to surprise us how the Christ child breaks into our lives and the world. I know the Bueschers would not want me to compare their lives to what Christ has done.

“But tonight I think of the great gifts and the surprising example of the Bueschers’ Christ-like humanity and how they have broken into our lives in support of the church, their synod and seminary,” Mills said. “They invite each of us by their example into a more personal relationship with Christ. They have always been concerned about the betterment of all they’ve been called to serve.” He cited Robert Buescher’s role as synod treasurer and the couple’s support of struggling congregations and advice they have accorded to lay leaders and pastors as well as their work on behalf of the seminary.

In other highlights of the evening, Pamela Peterson, president of the LTSP Student Body, thanked dinner attendees and donors for their support of future church professionals studying to be leaders at the seminary. President Philip D. W. Krey described encouraging signs of the seminary’s health and Dean J. Paul Rajashekar also brought greetings and laughter when he said, “Where there is a will….we want to be in it.”

The opening prayer was delivered by Bishop Claire S. Burkat of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod. Bishop Samuel Zeiser of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod concluded the dinner event with prayer.

The dinner was followed by the annual Advent Vespers service at Grace Epiphany Episcopal Church, a few blocks from the LTSP campus in East Mt. Airy. The Seminary Choir under the leadership of Michael Krentz, Director of Music Ministries/Seminary Cantor, led the Vespers. Music included compositions by Robert Bornemann, Edward V. Bonnemere, Georg Philip Telemann, and a South African traditional tune arranged by Nancy Grundahl.

A gallery of Advent Vespers photos can be viewed online

Audio selections from the Advent Vespers service are available as an MP3 file: Dr. Bornemann's composition "Rejoice in the Lord Always" is the final selection in this recording.

Robert H. and Janet Buescher honored for distinguished service to Philadelphia Seminary

Robert H. and Janet C. Buescher of Massapequa (Long Island), NY, were honored Sunday, December 6, 2009 with the Soli Deo Gloria Award for distinguished service to The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). Making the presentation at the seminary’s annual Advent Vespers Dinner were Dr. Robert Blanck, who chairs the LTSP Foundation Board, and the Rev. Dr. John Richter, chair of the LTSP Board of Trustees.

at left: LTSP Board Member The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Krommes, LTSP Board Chair The Rev. Dr. John Richter, Robert Buescher, Janet Buescher, LTSP Foundation Board Chair Dr. Robert Blanck, Esq., LTSP President The Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey

In presenting the award, Blanck noted Robert Buescher’s contributions to the school as an initial member of the seminary’s President’s Council, formed in the early 1990s, and as a member of the LTSP Foundation Board, begun in the mid-1990s. Buescher, he said, played a key role in managing the seminary’s investment portfolio and also leading fund-raising efforts for the school. He praised Janet Buescher for her advocacy on behalf of the school, her personal stewardship through the management of a foundation, and for her sponsorship of events promoting the school to prospective and current donors.

Robert Buescher, an electrical engineer and chartered financial analyst, graduated from the College of Engineering of the University of Missouri. Career highlights have included serving as Project Manager at General Electric’s Space and Electronics Division, Director of Engineering for Litton Industries’ Maryland Division, and General Manager of Fairchild Industries’ Electronics Division. During the later stages of his career he served as Partner for Bessemer Venture Partners, a national firm that has provided financing to numerous small businesses, spawning scores of successful national companies. In addition to his volunteer role to the seminary as an investment advisor and in fund-raising, Robert Buescher is treasurer for the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and has co-chaired a capital funds campaign for the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering. He is a past chair of the Nassau Symphony (Symphony of Long Island).

Janet Buescher directs the Robert H. and Janet C. Buescher Foundation, benefactor for many organizations, including the seminary, Dowling College in Oakdale, NY (from which she graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Business Management), Winthrop-University Hospital and WLIW (Channel 21). Her volunteer posts have included Master Gardener with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County, and instructor of religion and member of the Christian Growth Committee at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Seaford, Long Island, New York. Both Robert and Janet sing in Our Redeemer’s choir.

In accepting the Soli Deo Gloria Award, Robert Buescher said, “We don’t really think we deserve it, but thanks be to God. We’ve been blessed more abundantly than we ever could have imagined when we were married 57 years ago. What we have done is a feeble attempt to respond to the love of God.” Buescher cited the words of the Apostle Paul in II Timothy that all are “called not to good works but to God’s own purpose. To God alone is the glory.”

Janet Buescher recalled her days years ago as a confirmation teacher when the lessons urged classes to consider the role of seminaries, and no one around her understood anything about them. She urged those in the room to encourage those they know to become more familiar with the schools that train their pastors.

Invited to speak on behalf of the Bueschers, the Rev. Gary Mills offered remarks. He is the assistant to the Bishop of the Metropolitan New York Synod in the area of Global and Multicultural Mission.

“Tonight I think of the great gifts and the surprising example of the Bueschers’ Christ-like humanity and how they have broken into our lives in support of the church, their synod and seminary,” Mills said. “They invite each of us by their example into a more personal relationship with Christ. They have always been concerned about the betterment of all they’ve been called to serve.” He cited Robert Buescher’s role as synod treasurer and the couple’s support of struggling congregations, along with the advice they have accorded to lay leaders and pastors and their work on behalf of the seminary.

You'll find more about the Advent Vespers here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tree Lighting Kicks Off December in Mt Airy

The Mt. Airy and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) communities came together the evening of December 5 for the second annual Tree Lighting and Caroling, held on William Allen Plaza on the LTSP campus in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia.

Led by the Salvation Army Philadelphia Citadel Brass Ensemble, traditional carols were sung, and all ages enjoyed the chance for fellowship in the clear, cool weather. LTSP President the Rev. Dr. Philip Krey, East Mt Airy Neighbors President Dan Muroff, and Pennsylvania Senator LeAnna Washington offered greetings, and Sen. Washington flicked the switch to light the tree at the plaza's corner. Cookies provided by the Trolley Car Diner and warm cider helped warm the crowd. Toys for the Salvation Army's Toy Drive, especially needed in these difficult economic times, were collected from community members.

William Allen Plaza for the 2009 Tree Lighting

Bringing Greetings:
LTSP President Philip Krey

East Mt. Airy Neighbors President Dan Muroff

Pennsylvania Senator LeAnna Washington

Sen. Washington lights the tree

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Lilly Endowment Extends Grant to Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries for Project Connect Initiative

(Gettysburg, PA) The Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries (cluster) has been awarded a $1.5 million grant by the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. to extend its 2005 initiative called “Project Connect,” which is strengthening the network of congregations, institutions, and agencies that encourage those who will become the next generation of church leaders.

The grant will help the cooperative cluster of three Lutheran seminaries -- the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (Gettysburg), The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (Philadelphia), and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (Southern) – deepen and extend programs and partnerships designed to increase the number of persons preparing for a vocation in the church. The Rev. Marcus Miller, president of the Southern Seminary, and executive director of the cluster, said, “This generous $1.5 million grant allows the three Seminaries of the Eastern Cluster to deepen connections to discernment partners and to continue this fruitful work of raising up leaders for the church. We are very grateful to Lilly Endowment for their honest feedback and support.”

The three seminaries are affiliated with the 4.8 million member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The cluster received a start up grant of $3 million in 2005 from the Endowment, when it appointed Mr. Donald G. Johnson of Freedom, NH as its first executive director. Johnson, who came to Project Connect with more than three decades of experience as a director of outdoor ministry at New England’s Camp Calumet, is a rostered leader of the ELCA, serving as an Associate in Ministry.

Johnson described the program’s next phase as a focus “to help move this initiative toward long-term sustainability. The focus of Project Connect will continue to be young adults (ages 18-30) and we will continue to work together to identify young adults who have gifts for public ministry, provide opportunities for theologically sound vocational discernment, and, for those who are sensing call to public ministry, encourage and sustain them as they continue on their discernment journeys. A major change in this next phase will be to switch from a central, administratively driven initiative to having the energy for the initiative generated by a widespread, grassroots involvement of the vast network of leaders throughout ELCA Regions 7, 8, and 9. This is what one program director at the Endowment refers to as ‘initiative inversion.’ One of the central components of Project Connect during the next few years will be the development of ‘Network Initiative Grants’."

In this second phase of Project Connect, according to Johnson, “Grants will be provided to synods to implement strategies they develop for strengthening the ‘culture of call’ throughout synods in Regions 7, 8, and 9. In this way, there will be local versions of the Project Connect endeavor operating in different synods, rather than one version operating throughout all three regions as has been the case in the first grant.”

The seminary cluster project, entitled “Connect: Calling Leaders for a Changing World” is designed to help the church address a growing rate of pastoral vacancies in the ELCA, and to enlist the church’s leaders and ministries to fulfill their task of helping young adults discern a call to ministry.

Together the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries enroll approximately 800 students in theological degree programs. Currently, Vocation and Education staff of the ELCA project an unprecedented need for more pastors and rostered leaders over the next decade, increasing the expectations for the number of future graduates from its eight seminaries. Project Connect and the Eastern Cluster have developed an expansive network of colleges, outdoor ministry centers, campus ministries, Lutheran Volunteer Corps and other agencies, synods, congregations, and pastors to plan a comprehensive program of vocational discernment and seminary recruitment directed at college-aged students.

More information about “Project Connect: Calling Leaders for a Changing World” can be found on the Web site

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Rev Dr. John Kaufmann has died

(scroll down to read and enter memories of Dr. Kaufmann)

A memorial service for Dr. Kaufmann is planned during the Spring 2010 Alumni Convocation. More information is at

See the related story $2 million gift by longtime registrar John Kaufmann ’44 largest in seminary's history from March 1, 2010.

The Rev. Dr. John A. Kaufmann, who for 44 years served The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) as registrar, keeping track of seminarians and their records of academic and personal progress from 1944 to 1990, died December 5, 2009 at age 89. He resided on the seminary campus in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia.

Until illness recently slowed him down, John Augustus Kaufmann could still be found most days in his office on the third floor of the seminary's Hagan Administration Building, fulfilling special assignments for seminary President Philip D. W. Krey. A graduate of Lehigh University (B.A. History 1941 Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and LTSP (1944), Dr. Kaufmann observed the 65th anniversary of his ordination in May 2009. Remembering Dr. Kaufmann, President Krey noted, "At the beginning of my presidency, John asked if he could continue his service and made a pledge that he never broke. 'I will speak my mind in the privacy of your office, and even work you over,' he told me, 'but once you make a decision, I will never contradict you in public.' His advice was indispensable and not once did he break his pledge. We have lost a great friend."

While his official title was Registrar, for many of his 44 years at LTSP Dr. Kaufmann fulfilled a wide variety of “other” duties. He oversaw the refectory food service. He managed buildings and grounds maintenance including construction and repair projects. He served as treasurer, preparing budgets for the school. He handled public relations, including tours, edited the Seminary Bulletin (now known as PS magazine), and held the post of bursar – filling an accounting role, processing bills, managing payroll records and tax forms. Kaufmann was liaison to the President from the faculty, held the post of alumni secretary, and related to synods. For many years he handled admissions as well. These responsibilities today are divided up and managed by a considerably larger staff. Once, Kaufmann was one of only four administrators.

Over the years, Dr. Kaufmann got to know hundreds of seminarians who he helped through the process of entering, learning at and graduating from seminary. Alumnus the Rev. Laura Csellak, now a pastor in Easton, PA, recalled the evening seminarians placed a sheet bearing the face of a jack-o-lantern over the Krauth Memorial Library clock on Halloween. Ever vigilant, Dr. Kaufmann quickly saw the prank and removed the sheet. “I always kept a special eye out during holidays and special occasions,” he recalled in an interview this summer. “The trouble was the sheet got caught up in the clock hands. It would have burned out the motor inside.” Years later, Kaufmann made a donation to replace the clock’s complex and difficult-to-maintain mechanism with a simpler digital device. “Not many people are around these days to repair tower clocks like ours,” he said about his gift. According to President Krey, "John secretly looked forward to the pranks of the students and loved their imagination."

Kaufmann during the interview recalled several life milestones that led him to seminary service and beyond. Reserve Officer Training Corps study was required at Lehigh, and in the late 1930s Kaufmann greatly enjoyed the program’s study of European and World War I history. A teaching officer urged him to apply for advanced ROTC study, likely leading him to become a military officer. “I flunked the physical,” he recalled. The military officer, frustrated by the outcome, urged him to take it again. “I flunked the second time too. I often wonder what would have happened in my life had I passed.” Wondering what to do with his training, his father, Harry, Pastor M. LeRoy Wuchter (Atonement Lutheran Church in Wyomissing, PA, where Kaufmann went to church) and his father’s cousin, seminary professor and President Paul Hoh, persuaded him to undertake seminary study.

After ordination, Kaufmann thought he would accept a call to a small congregation when in 1946 he was unexpectedly invited to be seminary registrar and treasurer. In 1986, LTSP President John Vannorsdall initiated a measure, approved by the seminary board, that would permit Kaufmann and his wife, Doris, to remain in their campus home after his retirement in 1990. “That was a very telling step,” he explained. “That I have been able to remain on campus all of these years is why I believe I am still alive, why I am here today. It gave me purpose, something to do. I have served under nine of the seminary’s 11 presidents. All of them have been exceedingly generous to me. ”

After retirement, Dr. Kaufmann indeed continued to live on the LTSP campus. He remained involved in the work of the seminary, providing invaluable and trusted guidance and counsel to the school, from his work with the seminary board of trustees, including his serving as board Assistant Secretary, to his involvement in the major construction projects of the Wiedemann Center and The Brossman Center on LTSP's campus.

Dr. Kaufmann's wife Doris and one of his two sons, Alan, died in 1993. The second son, Bruce, resides in a community living arrangement in Northeast Philadelphia. Arrangements for a private funeral will be made by the Ruth Jacob Funeral Home of Chestnut Hill, and, at Dr. Kaufmann's request, a memorial service will be scheduled at the Chapel of The Lutheran Theological Seminary. Memorial gifts may be made for the John A. Kaufmann Enrollment Services Center at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119, or online

About the photos (click any image for a high-resolution version):
1. The Rev. Dr. John Kaufmann
2. John Kaufmann as a seminarian, recording a practice sermon on a disc recorder.
3. Dr. Kaufmann talking with LTSP's Mark Staples.
4. Dr. Kaufmann had an encyclopedic knowledge of the campus infrastructure. During construction of The Brossman Center, he would often be on the construction site consulting with workers.

updated 3/1/10 with link to Dr. Kaufmann's gift story.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A Conversation with the President - December 2009

In the latest A Conversation with the President, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia's President the Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey talks with the Rev. Dr. Quintin Robertson, Director of the seminary's Urban Theological Institute (UTI). Dr. Robertson joined the seminary staff in July, and talks about his vision for the UTI and UTI's 30th Anniversary in 2010.

Celebrating 30th anniversary in 2010 and new leadership, UTI expanding its vision

Dr. Robertson teaching at Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ

Founded in 1980 as a program designed to provide new theological education opportunities for African American church leaders, the Urban Theological Institute (UTI) at LTSP is expanding its horizons under the leadership of new director the Rev. Dr. Quintin L. Robertson (at right, Dr. Robertson teaching at Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ).

Dr. Robertson, who hails originally from Newark, NJ, and is an ordained elder of the Church of God in Christ, describes the UTI as an umbrella program administering the Black Church Concentration within the MDiv degree program and the Black Church Specialization in the Master of Arts in Religion degree program. The concentration and specialization are aimed at professional church leaders and focus on Black Church issues. The UTI also oversees a certificate Dr. Robertson teaching a UTI Certificate Program classprogram in Church Leadership available to all lay leaders of the church. Dr. Robertson sees his efforts as continuing and expanding upon the vision of the Rev. Dr. Stephen Ray, his immediate predecessor, who created the Black Church Concentration within the LTSP curriculum. (at left, Dr. Robertson teaching a UTI Certificate Program class)

“I hope to also be more involved as well with students here who are pursuing Advanced Level Degrees – the Master of Sacred Theology and Doctor of Ministry – especially in instances where these scholars are focusing on Black Church issues,” Dr. Robertson says.

When the UTI was founded at LTSP 30 years ago by the Rev. Dr. Andrew Willis and the late Rev. Dr. Randolph Jones, the program was reaching out to many African American clergy (and others) who did not hold graduate degrees but aspired toward earning one part-time while continuing to work as a professional leader or in some other capacity. (In addition to working church professionals, candidates in the program also included lay leaders seeking to become pastors, Christian educators or outreach coordinators.)

Dr. Robertson notes that many black denominations have not historically required their pastoral leaders to attend seminary, but theological education is increasingly valued by them. A new goal of Dr. Robertson’s is to expand the UTI’s current Certificate initiative to include a Certificate in Christian Ministry to reach a population of church leaders who do not meet the current requirements for seminary admission but who are already serving as pastors of congregations. “These leaders, we think, could both benefit from and enrich the community at the seminary,” Robertson says.

Another goal of the UTI is to expand the public programming aspect it has always valued. Throughout most of its existence, the UTI has sponsored each March a Preaching with Power initiative, inviting nationally noted African American preachers to pulpits throughout the Philadelphia community. The guest preachers conduct workshops related to their preaching style and content after each worship service. Preaching with Power annually attracts thousands of attendees. Dr. Robertson hopes to add quarterly seminars, both academic and practical in nature, working with various African American religious communities in the area. “Through this type of effort we want to cultivate a deeper understanding, appreciation of and respect for African American theological inquiry and religious history,” Dr. Robertson explains. “It’s a way we can develop opportunities for intellectual inquiry, practical insights faithful to our goal of inclusivity for the sake of enriching the church and the seminary community,” Robertson notes. Over the years, seminarians from the traditional “day” degree program have described the value to their perspectives of participating in UTI classes, which customarily have been held evenings and Saturdays to benefit UTI seminarians who hold regular jobs.

Dr. Robertson earned his Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Howard University in Washington, DC, and his Master of Business Administration Degree from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA. He was awarded his M.Div. and D.Min. degrees from the Charles Harrison Mason Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta. He formerly served as director of admission and recruitment at ITC and directed campus ministry at Atlanta University Center for a time as well. He is a member of the Board of Directors for All Saints Bible College in Memphis, TN, and has mentored many students in ministry throughout the U.S.

(LTSP MAR student Rozella Poston contributed to this article. Ms. Poston wrote an original piece for the LTSP student publication The Seminarian.)

Advent Vespers to Celebrate Dr. Robert Bornemann

The Annual Advent Vespers, to be held Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 7:30 pm, will be on the theme Repent! Prepare! Rejoice! The service is free and open to the public.

The Vespers will celebrate the life and ministry of The Rev. Dr. Robert Bornemann, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at LTSP for 41 years, and director of the seminary choir from 1955 to 1990.

The Seminary Choir under the leadership of Michael Krentz, Director of Music Ministries/Seminary Cantor, will lead the Vespers. Music will include compositions by Robert Bornemann, Edward V. Bonnemere, Georg Philip Telemann, and a South African traditional tune arranged by Nancy Grundahl.

Join us for Advent Vespers at Grace Epiphany Church, 224 E. Gowen Avenue, Philadelphia. More information and directions are online:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Start Mt. Airy December First Friday at the Tree Lighting at William Allen Plaza

Start Mt. Airy December First Friday at the Tree Lighting at William Allen Plaza

Friday, December 4, 2009, 6 pm
LTSP Campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Mt Airy, Philadelphia

✶ Caroling with the Salvation Army Philadelphia Citadel Brass Ensemble
✶ Refreshments
✶ Bring unwrapped toys for children ages newborn to 12 years

Start off your December Mt. Airy First Friday and celebrate the first event on William Allen Plaza on the campus of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) with a Tree Lighting and Carol Sing! Join the community on Friday, December 4 at 6 pm at the plaza, next to the Schaeffer-Ashmead chapel at the southwest corner of the LTSP campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Mt. Airy, Philadelphia. There is free parking on campus adjacent to The Brossman Center. The celebration is free and open to the public, and will be held rain, clear or snow!

New, unwrapped toys appropriate for children ages newborn to 12 will be collected for the Salvation Army's Stockings for Kids program, see the list of suggested items below. Caroling with the Salvation Army Philadelphia Citadel Brass Ensemble will add to the festive time.

After the festivities, explore the Avenue in Mt. Airy and special Mt. Airy First Friday offerings:

Sponsored by LTSP and Mt. Airy community partners

Suggested Holiday Items

  • Age 0-1 (Boy or Girl) Teether, Rattle, Bibs, Baby Wipes, Lotion, Shampoo, Brush, Soft Toys, Stuffed Animals, Bath Toys, Socks, Hats, T-Shirts and Sleepers

  • Age 2-3 (Boy or Girl) Dolls, Beanie Babies, Boat, Cars, Books, Little People, Lego Set, Bath Toys, Socks, Mittens, Caps, T-Shirts and Education Aid Toys

  • Age 4-7 (Girl) Ink Pad, Stamps, Crayons, Clay, Lego Sets, Jump Rope, Jacks, Stickers, Hat, Gloves, Beanie Babies, Doll Clothes, Scrunchies, and Barrettes

  • Age 4-7 (Boy) Fun Pad, Videos, Crayons, Coloring Books, Hand-Held Games, Puzzles, Lego Set, Action Figures and Baseball Cards

  • Age 8-10 (Girl) School Supplies, Videos, Puzzles, Books, Scarf, Hat, Gloves, Jewelry, Stuffed Animals, Barbie Doll, Clothes, Paint Set, Markers, Colored Pencils

  • Age 8-10 (Boy) School Supplies, Hand-Held Electronic Games, Hats, Gloves, Airplane Kit, Star Wars Figures, Puzzles, Dominoes, Nerf Football, and Velcro Glove

  • Age 11+ (Girl) Videos, CD's, Radio, Books, Card Games, Fast Food Certificates, School Supplies, Calculator, Brush, Comb, Soap, Lotion, and Walkman

  • Age 11+ (Boy) Videos, Cassettes, CD's, Electronic Games, Calculator, Books, Card Games, Fast Food Certificates, School Supplies, Baseball Cap and Glove, and Walkman
download poster pdf file: | 8.5X11 | 11X17 |

Thursday, October 29, 2009

LTSP President's Message - October 2009

In the October edition of A Conversation with the President, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia's President, the Rev. Dr. Philip Krey, is joined by two senior seminarians, Steven Wilco and Elizabeth Nees, to talk about the seminary and internship experience.

Learn more about Peter Muhlenberg's robe referred to by President Krey on PBS History Detectives.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

LTSP Presents Student Achievement Awards

Awards for student achievement were presented during the October 27 convocation at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) by Dean J. Paul Rajashekar.

The Paul J. Hoh/Elizabeth Reese Award recognizes achievement, dedication, and contribution to this institution and is given annually to students, who are Lutheran, one student from the second year class and one student from the final year class. The Auxiliary of the Seminary has made this award possible. It serves to advance scholarship and ministry and also seeks to honor the memory of the Rev. Dr. Paul J. Hoh, a much-revered and respected former President of this institution. The award was given to second year student Brett Meredith Wilson (below left with Dean Rajashekar) and final year student Steven Tousley Wilco (below right).

The Traci L. Maul Award is given annually in memory of Traci Maul, a beloved graduate of the class of 1995. This is a special honor given to a student who exemplifies qualities of Traci - outstanding leadership potential for ministry, active contribution to seminary community life, and academic strength. This award was given to Christine Jane Stratton (below with Dean Rajashekar) .

The Karl Elser Wurster Memorial Award is made according to faculty selection and is given to a student of the second year class, who demonstrates academic merit, promise of ministry and exhibits financial need. This award was given to Yvonne Jones Pettice Lembo (below with Dean Rajashekar).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Prof. Jon Pahl 2009 Distinguished Quodlibet Lecturer

Prof. Jon PahlDr. Jon Pahl, LTSP Professor of the History of Christianity in North America and Director of MA Programs, is the 2009 distinguished presenter for Quodlibet, where each year a member of the faculty at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia is presented with "any question whatsoever" and responds in this tradition-based, rigorous academic exercise. The Quodlibet answer session will be held Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 11:30 am in Benbow Hall, The Brossman Center, on the seminary campus at 7301 Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. The event is free and open to the public.

Following LTSP tradition, students, faculty, and others are invited to present any question whatsoever at a session on Tuesday, October 27, 11:30 am, also in Benbow Hall. While recognizing Quodlibet is an academic tradition, any question, on any topic, is accepted, and Prof. Pahl will present his responses on November 3.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The mystery of Chief Justice William Allen's burial place

William Allen, the British loyalist who lived on what is today the LTSP campus, might well also be buried there, speculates historian/writer Frank Whelan.

Whelan, retired from the staff of the Allentown Morning Call newspaper and author of four books and thousands of articles on local history, gave a fascinating historical perspective on Allen Sept. 26, the day William Allen Plaza was dedicated only hundreds of feet from the location on the LTSP campus where Allen's principal residence was once located. Whelan noted he's never been able to figure out the location of Allen's final resting place, or that of Allen's third son, James, about whom Whelan is now writing. But the historian said that Allen, the Pennsylvania colony's Chief Justice for 24 years in the colonies prior to the American Revolution and founder in 1762 of what is known today as Allentown, died in 1780 during the Revolution, which sometimes raged outside his front door (during the Battle of Germantown). He is believed to have died at the residence, later confiscated by the newly independent state. Whelan concludes that it is logical Allen, a loyalist who could be critical of British policies like the Stamp Act, but who feared the anarchy that could arise if the colonies gained independence, probably wouldn't have been removed to a burial place of honor in Philadelphia or elsewhere. It's more likely he would have been buried near where he died.

Whelan detailed much of what IS known about Allen, a staunch and shrewd business leader and trader in the colonies whose demeanor could dramatically differ depending on whether he was in his commercial element or living the more relaxed country lifestyle he loved in Mt. Airy. First and foremost for Allen is that "everything he did was to try to better and secure the future for his family." But in later life, despite all he did as a philanthropist, Allen, once the wealthiest man in the colonies, lost nearly everything because of his loyalist leanings. He had been a gifted land speculator and owned more land in the colonies than anyone else outside of the Penn family, Whelan told his seminary audience.

A diary kept by Daniel Fisher of Williamsburg, VA, who sought employment from Allen in 1755, gives insight to Allen's Mt. Airy residence. Fisher described Allen's home on what is now the LTSP campus as a small stone structure close to the road, making dust a troublesome issue. He described the home as "dusty and tasteless." Fisher described the lack of landscaping and, though Allen fashioned himself as a gardener, Fisher wrote of his doubts a garden would survive well in the scorching open heat of Mt.Airy. (Allen was fond of cauliflower and beans and he raised edibles only in his garden. He also loved cheese and wine, which led to troubles with gout. His antidote was tea.) Fisher was treated sternly when visiting Allen at his counting house seeking work, and was told to go home to Williamsburg. But when the insistent young man later came to Mt. Airy, he was greeted hospitably at the front door by Allen himself, and offered a tankard of beer, conversation, a tour of the garden and later on tea.

Whelan said that even though Allen received an education in law in early life and sat on the colonial Pennsylvania bench for 24 years, he exhibited no real interest during his lifetime in the practice of law. He formed a highly successful business trading enterprise with Sea Captain John Turner, and traded directly with with French, Spanish and Dutch colonies, violating regulations demanding that traders "stop at London first," Whelan noted. Later on, Allen shifted to land speculation, believing that direction to be more secure than dealing with trans-Atlantic trading, where ships could sink, leading to a ruinous outcome.

Whelan said Allen was not alone in his loyalist views in the colonies. "One third of the colonists opposed the move toward independence, and 80,000 to 100,000 crossed the Canadian border" in the 1770s rather than choosing to be disloyal to the British cause.

in the photo: (rear) LTSP Librarian Dr. Karl Krueger, LTSP President The Rev. Dr. Philip Krey, EMAN President Dan Muroff, Author/Historian Frank Whelan, (front) LTSP Grants Director Natalie Hand, Researcher Mary Redline

William Allen Plaza dedicated as community ‘place of solace’

New space cited as a meeting place for culture, commerce, history and the arts

On a day filled with colorful flags, colonial dancing, an historical marker unveiling, and warm words of gratitude, William Allen Plaza was dedicated on September 26 at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) as a connecting point for faith, history, commerce, culture and the arts.

“I dedicate this William Allen Plaza as a place of solace, rest, historical remembrance, commerce and the arts to delight all of God’s people,” said LTSP President Dr. Philip D. W. Krey. Then came the unveiling of an historic marker defining the significance of the Plaza’s namesake, colonial Pennsylvanian William Allen. The Plaza is located about 200 feet from the spot on the LTSP campus where the Pennsylvania colony's Chief Justice William Allen once made his summer home and principal residence.

The ceremonies made it clear to strangers and those familiar with the project alike that only a unique collaborative endeavor could have made the $1.5 million plaza initiative possible.

In addition to Krey, several speakers spoke of the partnership.

Dan Muroff, president of East Mount Airy Neighbors (EMAN), noted that a once-imposing 12-foot wall had physically cloistered the seminary campus from the community, but added that Krey and others in the campus community “had been committed to a change to integrate” the seminary and the community. The EMAN offices are now housed on the campus.

“This would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts of the city, state, commerce and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod,” said Wayne Spilove, chair of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, also a project partner. Spilove said the Allen historical marker furnished by the Commission was “the newest of 2,300 markers” throughout the commonwealth, at least at that moment.

Noting that Allen once served briefly as Philadelphia’s mayor, Terry Gillen, representing City Mayor Michael Nutter, said the Plaza spot “symbolizes what is starting to revitalize the city – the intersection of a commerce corridor and its major institutions – in this case one that happens to be Lutheran – in a city that is an authentic place of history.” Gillen is the executive director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. She praised the efforts of City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller in advocating for Commercial Corridor funds from the city to be used for the plaza. Vernon Price, representing Miller, gave words of appreciation.

In his remarks Krey added to the list of project advocates the names of Pennsylvania Rep. Cherelle Parker and Pennsylvania Sen. LeAnna Washington, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which has offices on the campus. He also thanked West Mount Airy Neighbors for their partnership.

In his invocation, seminary Krauth Memorial Library Director Karl Krueger took note of Allen’s witness and commitment to the City of Philadelphia, and a commitment to peace between the colonies and the British “that made him an exile.” Allen was a Presbyterian whose position as a loyalist took him to England in 1774. Five years later he returned to Philadelphia, and died in Mt. Airy in 1780. Before the Revolutionary War the wealthy Allen used his resources to support the building of the state house (now Independence Hall), establishing Pennsylvania Hospital and the Academy and College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania). He served as Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for 24 years and founded the City of Allentown in 1762.

And William Allen was present in colonial dress, noting that Colonial Philadelphia was made a safe place of diversity by Quaker Statesman William Penn “where all peoples could not just be friends but also be free and safe.” He described the new Plaza and the disappearance of the wall that once stood there as a welcoming point for a school where “people can come inside to be entertained and learn how to be better citizens and people.”

Colorful new flags along the Plaza and Germantown Avenue celebrate the Krauth Memorial Library, a renewed campus bookstore, and East Mt. Airy Neighbors, as symbols of community integration, Krey noted. “This Plaza belongs to the community,” he said.

Ken Weinstein of the nearby Trolley Car Diner donated refreshments for the occasion, and the Germantown Country Dancers provided rich entertainment on the sun-splashed Plaza.

(click any image to view a larger version)
Find a photo gallery from the Plaza and Historical Marker dedication at

Friday, September 25, 2009

Opening of the 146th Academic Year at LTSP - a report

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 marked Opening Day for the 146th academic year at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). The day started with Opening Eucharist with a sermon by LTSP President Philip Krey and a lecture by LTSP Professor Richard Stewart entitled Who Saitheth that: IT IS NOT E-SAY TO BE GREEN? President Krey in the monthly President's message video also reflected on the opening of the new year with comments from 4 students in the incoming class and conversation with LTSP Director of Admissions Louise Johnson and Associate Director of Admissions Matt O'Rear.

Opening Eucharist Sermon by President Philip Krey

We have a God who breaks the boundaries that separate us from each other and from him

The story of Jesus' healing of a Greek woman's daughter because of her faith in Mark 7: 24-29 reveals far more than the significance of healing. "Healing is important, and we shall continue to pray for people in our community who are in need of healing," said the Rev. Dr. Philip D. W. Krey, as he preached a sermon to open the 146th academic year at LTSP.

Beyond healing, the Mark text story and others in the Gospels reveal "a God who works beyond boundaries and traditional identities...It is a God who breaks the boundaries that separate us from each other and us from him," Krey preached. Krey noted that boundaries are important. "Unboundaried leaders are destructive to the communities they lead...When you write a paper for colleagues here you will never never finish your work if you do not set boundaries. But being overboundaried can be destructive too if it means as part of your ministry you will never make a hospital call when you have a day off," Krey said. As may be true of modern day church leaders, Jesus appears to have been caught by contradictions regarding boundaries. He was on retreat and crowds were pursuing him when he healed the Greek woman's daughter. "You can't hide when you are on vacation when you are a church leader," Krey said. He also noted that when leaders and believers are willing to cross lines of diversity and boundaries they have an opportunity to learn from people God draws forth from the margins of cultures and societies.leading to an ever greater inclusiveness for people of faith.

Krey noted that at times when an individual may not be able to hear God, others with faith in our communities may sustain us. "We have a God who speaks across diverse boundaries, a God who listens to our cries and prayers and who has spoken plainly as a force for our healing."

Watch the sermon:

Who Saitheth that: IT IS NOT E-SAY TO BE GREEN?

Being green (good stewards today) means thinking outside the box of our experience

"When we mistreat our natural resources we are mistreating ourselves," said Associate Professor Richard N. Stewart in his keynote address kicking off the 146th academic year for The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Stewart, who teaches stewardship and parish administration at LTSP, challenged his audience of seminarians, faculty and staff, to prepare themselves to "think and act outside the normal boxes of your experience and your own training" in order to make best use of the resources entrusted to us by God in our own "small portion" of God's kingdom.

In challenging remarks entitled "Who Saith that It Is Not E-Say to Be Green?" Prof. Stewart said that the "e" forms of stewardship involve the following descriptors – electronic, ecological, evangelism, environmental, ecumenical, equality, equity and egalitarian. He recounted numerous examples of out-of-the-box use of resources, ranging from a Lakewood, OH, church's garden on its property that furnishes food for the hungry to unselfish and long-term disaster-relief experiences he'd known early in his career in Xenia, OH, in a four-year effort to rebuild after a tornado. He talked about the meaning of tithe and "giving as you are able" as described in scriptural passages in Deuteronomy and Genesis. And he described technological innovations and practical initiatives, such as the green teams of the seminary and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod that support believers and their leaders to "think green" creatively in today's church.

He illustrated his points with inspirational stories,including the work of two LTSP alum mission pastors, the Rev. Matthew Cimorelli in New jersey and the Rev. Marilyn Lange in San Antonio, TX. Both have used innovative approaches with their congregations to make the best use of resources in their place and time.

Stewart has taught at the seminary for 20 years and recently completed a sabbatical in South Africa. He is now the senior member of the seminary faculty.

Watch the lecture:

President's Message: September 2009

Continuing with introductions for the start of the 146th academic year at LTSP, in his newest message LTSP President Philip Krey and his guests talk about the new academic year and introduce some of the newest students at the seminary.

Watch the video:

Photo Gallery:

Here is a photo gallery from opening day events.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"William Allen" to be part of Sat., Sept. 26 Dedication, Public Event

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) will celebrate its connection to the community and its history with the dedication of the new William Allen Plaza and Historical Marker on Saturday, September 26, 2009. The Plaza and Historical Marker are highlights of the new public space connecting the LTSP campus at 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, with the heart of the Mt. Airy business district. The dedication and accompanying lecture are free and community members are encouraged to attend.

Honoring colonial Philadelphian William Allen, the dedication starts at 12:30 pm, and will include remarks by community and Pennsylvania dignitaries, colonial dances and music by the Germantown Country Dancers, unveiling of the William Allen Historical Marker, and an appearance by William Allen interpreter Robert Gleason, from Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

Following the dedication, visitors are invited to hear the lecture William Allen: The Squire of Mount Airy, presented by writer and historian Frank Whelan. More information is available online at

A reproducible flyer for the event can be found at


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.

Historic Philadelphia, Inc. enhances the visitor experience and helps strengthen Philadelphia’s tourism industry through interpretation and interaction, making our nation’s history relevant and real. Historic Philadelphia, Inc.’s programs include the Betsy Ross House, Once Upon A Nation storytelling and Adventure Tours, Franklin Square, and the Lights of Liberty Show. For more information, call 215-629-4026 or visit

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Middle East implications for Americans to be explored at LTSP Oct. 20

Experts from Lebanon to appear at Lutheran Seminary Oct. 20; also at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church Oct. 21.

Two Lebanese experts on Islamic/Christian relations in the Middle East will help Philadelphians explore Middle Eastern implications for Americans at a convocation at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia on Tuesday, October 20. The visits of Dr. Mary Mikhael and Dr. Mohammad Sammak are co-sponsored by LTSP and Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, where they will be appearing on October 21. Both presentations are free and open to the public.

Addressing the topic "Living Together in the Middle East: Muslim and Christian Challenges, Opportunities, and Implications for Americans” will be Mikhael (left), president since 1994 of the Near East School of Theology in Beirut; and Sammak (right), syndicated columnist for three newspapers in the Middle East and counselor to the Grand Mufti of Lebanon. Their remarks will be offered at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 in Benbow Hall on the LTSP campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue, in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia.

Mikhael, the first woman to ever serve as president of a seminary in the Middle East, has held that post since 1994 and been associated with the school since 1992. She’s also held the post of academic dean there. Mikhael is currently a member of the executive committee and the theological committee of the Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical churches. She has written numerous articles on theology and the position of women in the church and has lectured extensively in the U.S. Europe and Middle East regarding women’s issues in universities and churches.

Sammak, an expert on Islamic thought and political science, is a syndicated columnist for newspapers in Beirut, Abu Dhabi and Cairo. He is secretary-general for the Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue in Lebanon, secretary-general for the Islamic spiritual Summit there, and also secretary-general in Lebanon for the executive committee of Christian-Muslim Arab Group. He has argued in the past that American church policies regarding Arabs are more balanced than the policies of the U.S. Government, but that the American Church views are not well understood in the Middle East because they are not presented in the Islamic press there. He has also written that it is not well understood that the American values regarding human rights, liberty and democracy are rooted as well in Islamic culture.

Drs. Mikhael and Sammak will be appearing at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church at 7 pm Wednesday, October 21.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Congregation and Community Day September 26

"Your Congregation and Your Community"

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) is proud to present Congregation Day at LTSP, a day to celebrate and support you and your congregation in your mission in areas of ministry specific to your needs. This year Congregation Day is Saturday, September 26, 2009, and the theme is "Your Congregation and Your Community." Economic stress, population changes, greater connections with global communities, changing needs for outreach and mission, challenges of technology, and more, call for congregations to revisit their mission and place in their local communities. Creating and establishing a strong connection between your congregation and your local community is essential for congregational growth, sustainability, and mission development.

Congregation Day offers learning opportunities for youth and adults, providing ideas and resources that will help build and strengthen connections with their community. Workshops include: Who are the people in your neighborhood?, Media and Your Congregation, Partners for Sacred Spaces, Partnering with Non-Profit and Service Organizations, Walking the Walk, and Serving your Community in Tough Economic Times.

You will be able to experience the importance of connecting with your local community as LTSP celebrates the dedication of the William Allen Historical Marker on the new William Allen Plaza. The plaza was created by the seminary to connect the LTSP campus to the Mt. Airy community and provide a gathering place open and inviting to all. The dedication follows our morning lecture, William Allen and American Crisis: Then and Now, where LTSP Professor Jon Pahl will explore how people of faith today revive the ethical commitments and community engagement of colonial leader William Allen (see schedule of the day for more information). For those interested in learning more about William Allen, an hour lecture, William Allen: The Squire of Mount Airy, will be held following the dedication.

As part of Congregation Day, LTSP will be recognizing one congregation from each Region 7 synod with the Excellence in Ministry Award. Congregations receiving the award will be chosen for their connection to their local community and their support of theological education.

Come join us! Register online.