Monday, February 23, 2009

Intersections Institute Receives Grant from Thrivent - Updated

Efforts by the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries to create a leadership development program for Church and faith-based social ministry organizations received a major lift thanks to a $215,000 grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation.

The new Intersections Institute (II) creates a partnership among the three eastern cluster seminaries in Gettysburg, Philadelphia, and Columbia, SC, with social ministry organizations and schools of business to develop post baccalaureate certificate and Masters programs to develop leaders who can navigate the changing environment.

“We are delighted to assist the Intersections Institute through this grant," said Karen Coonen, executive director of the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation. “We trust that this support will enable the organization to jump start this venture education ministry with current and future social ministry organizational leadership.”

The grant from the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation will support the initial start up implementation of the new program for the three seminaries in the cluster, which includes The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. The Rev. Dr. Richard Carlson, Glatfelter Professor of Biblical Studies, and Director of Graduate Study at Gettysburg Seminary, has led a foundation-laying phase funded by grants from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and DIAKON social ministry organization. A search is underway for a permanent director who will coordinate work among the seminaries, colleges, and businesses schools that will deliver various components leading toward a degree or certificate.

We “need leaders who understand and demonstrate core competencies in both management and theology at the intersection of church and world,” said Gettysburg Seminary president Michael Cooper-White. Carlson added that “there is no lack of talented and passionate individuals willing to serve the Church’s social ministry in leadership positions. There is, however, a notable lack of educational opportunities to prepare such individuals for the complexities of social ministry leadership.”

The grant is part of the foundation’s Lutheran Grant Program. This program is designed to help Lutheran institutions and organizations take advantage of unique growth and service opportunities. It also supports the interests and needs of the Lutheran community. In 2007, the program distributed approximately $5 million through 100 separate grants.

Update: The Intersections Institute Director position has been posted. The position will be housed at Gettysburg seminary. You'll find the posting here:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Interpret Boldly: God's Good News is for You

Hearing the Word: Lutheran Perspectives on Biblical Interpretation is the topic for the 2009 Hein-Fry Lecture, presented by Esther Menn, Professor of Old Testament and director of Advanced Studies, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. The lecture was presented at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia on Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 11:30 am in Benbow Hall, The Brossman Center, on the LTSP campus at 7301 Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. Hearing the Word: Lutheran Perspectives on Biblical Interpretation was chosen as the 2009 theme in order to engage the crucial conversation facing the ELCA concerning various Lutheran approaches to scripture and what resources and challenges those approaches bring to diverse North American contexts. The hope for these lectures is that they will raise awareness about the various ways the Lutheran church has traditionally interpreted the Bible as well as explore a mixture of contemporary approaches to scriptural interpretation that Lutherans might offer today. More on the lecture:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

LTSP announces addition of Senior Major Gifts Officer

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) is pleased to announce that Larry House has been named Senior Major Gifts Officer in the seminary development office. House, a long time friend and supporter of the seminary, most recently served as Vice President for Advancement at Liberty Lutheran Services (LLS). For over 16 years before joining LLS, House served the seminary in a number of fund-raising roles, during which time he estimated he had invited more than 25,000 people to consider financially supporting the seminary.

House’s role as Senior Major Gifts Officer will be to reconnect with many of those he encouraged to support the seminary, as well as new friends. He will be inviting them through their gifts and financial plans to help insure the seminary continues to carry out its mission to prepare ordained and lay ministers of the Word as leaders for the mission of the Church in the world.

House will begin his work in March. He is an Associate in Ministry (AIM) in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and holds CFRE certification. A member, along with his wife Karen, of Upper Dublin Lutheran Church in Ambler, PA, he and Karen reside in Plymouth Meeting.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Annual Preaching with Power coming March 9-13

Preaching with Power, a forum on African American preaching and theology, returns this March with a week of preaching, music and learning at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) and area churches. Sponsored for over 25 years by the Urban Theological Institute (UTI) at LTSP, the week features five sermons and one lecture by six distinguished African American preachers and theologians, and a celebration of black sacred music. All are welcome! Come and be inspired!

Preaching in 2009 will be the Rev. Dr. Gerald Lamont Thomas on Monday, March 9, at 7:30 pm at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown; Dr. Kathryn Love on Tuesday, March 10, at 7:30 pm at Reformation Lutheran Church in Mt. Airy; the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., on Wednesday, March 11, at 7:30 pm at Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ; the Rev. William D. Watley, PhD, on Thursday, March 12 at 7:30 pm at Mother Bethel AME Church; and the Rev. Jacqueline G. Capers on Friday, March 13 at 7:30 pm with UTI Alum Night at the Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel on the LTSP campus. This year’s lecture will be by Dr. Evelyn L. Parker, associate professor of Christian Education at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, on Tuesday, March 10 at 11:30 am at Benbow Hall, The Brossman Center, on the LTSP campus. A Celebration of Black Sacred Music! is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, 11:30 am at the Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel on the LTSP campus.

More information on Preaching with Power, including more on the preachers and location directions, can be found at Proceeds from the offering at each service benefit the Joseph Q. Jackson Endowed Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarship assistance to UTI students at LTSP.

Monday, February 02, 2009

LTSP Alumnus named ELCA Executive for Worship and Liturgical Resources

LTSP alumnus The Rev. Robert G. Schaefer, '84, will become executive for worship and liturgical resources of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) effective March 1. LTSP alumna The Rev. Jennifer Ollikainen, '02, STM '06, is also a member of the staff of Worship and Liturgical Resources as Associate for Worship Resources.

Here's the release from the ELCA's news service:

Robert Schaefer Named ELCA Executive for Worship and Liturgical Resources


February 2, 2009

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Robert G. Schaefer will become executive for worship and liturgical resources of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) effective March 1.

Since 2004 Schaefer has been assistant to the bishop of the ELCA Florida-Bahamas Synod, based in Tampa, Fla. He succeeds the Rev. Michael L. Burk, who was elected in 2008 to serve as bishop of the ELCA Southeastern Iowa Synod, based in Iowa City.

"I am passionate about how the church's worship is connected to God's mission in the world. Our Christian identity, given in Baptism, is shaped and formed by the liturgy," said Schaefer.

"I hope to encourage a conversation that fosters the close connection between the centrality of the local assembly's weekly gathering around Word and Sacrament and its evangelical mission and compassionate service in its community," said Schaefer. "It will be exciting to be given the opportunity to be part of building on and continuing to interpret the remarkable family of worship resources that Evangelical Lutheran Worship has introduced to this church."

Born in 1957 in Bronxville, N.Y., Schaefer graduated from Iona College, New Rochelle, N.Y., in 1979, and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) in 1984. LTSP is one of eight ELCA seminaries.

From 1987 to 2004 Schaefer served as pastor of ELCA congregations in Tampa, Rockville Centre, N.Y., and Liberty, N.Y. He led a variety of church and synod worship committees from 1990 to 2006.

"I am delighted to welcome the Rev. Robert Schaefer to the position of executive for worship and liturgical resources. Drawing upon his diverse and rich experiences as a parish pastor and synod staff member, Pastor Schaefer will provide important leadership as we continue to center our life together in worship on the means of grace," said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop.

Schaefer "brings a deep commitment to the centrality of Word and Sacrament to our Lutheran identity and understands that our growing as an evangelical church in mission is inseparable from what occurs in worship. I look forward to his leadership in the growing conversations about preaching in this church," Hanson said.

In a letter to members of the ELCA Florida-Bahamas Synod, the Rev. Edward R. Benoway, bishop of the synod, said Schaefer "will be missed."

"Pastor Schaefer worked with leadership development throughout the synod, including representing me at most candidacy committee meetings and seminary review panels," said Benoway. "He was very instrumental in implementing a comprehensive diakonia program in our synod and helped to further the synodical deacon program."

Schaefer is married to the Rev. Jennifer E.S. Schaefer. They have three daughters.

- - -

Information about ELCA Worship and Liturgical resources is at on the ELCA Web site.

For information contact:

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