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 Ltsp.edu/stolafchoir. Group discounts for 15 or more are available, please contact St. Olaf directly by calling 507-786-3646 or emailing stocks@stolaf.edu.

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: http://blip.tv/file/get/Jkahlerltsp-TheAdventVespers2009AudioSelections778.mp3 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 www.projectconnect.org.

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 www.ltsp.edu/convocation10.

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 www.Ltsp.edu/give.

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: www.Ltsp.edu/adventvespers.