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