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.