Tuesday, May 25, 2010

John D. Newpher: Parish pastor, one-time LTSP president has died

PHILADELPHIA, PA (May 25, 2010) – The Rev. Dr. John D. Newpher, 90, pastor of five Pennsylvania congregations over a 40-year ministry career and one-time president of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), died Saturday morning at Springhouse Estates in Lower Gwynedd, PA, after a brief illness. He was a resident of Ambler, PA.


Newpher was LTSP president from 1971 to 1975, and “brought both scholarship and strong parish experience” to the task of being president, recalls the Rev. Dr. Robert J. Hughes, who was himself president at LTSP during the 1990s and taught homiletics (preaching) at the school for many years. “As a preacher he always had strong content and was well prepared.”


“Dr. Newpher was president of the seminary during a time of renewed commitment to the present campus location in Philadelphia’s East Mt. Airy section,” recalls Dr. Robert Blanck, who was vice chair of the LTSP Board of Trustees during Newpher’s tenure. “Before he became president, the seminary had contemplated establishing a campus in West Philadelphia with the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and it had also later considered consolidating with Philadelphia Divinity School, a seminary of the Episcopal Church. After considerable discussions, neither step was taken,” Blanck recalls. “So the focus shifted to the 14-acre Mt. Airy campus. While he was president, the Hagan Administration Building was expanded, and improvements to faculty housing, which had been deferred, were made.” It was a strong financial period for the school, he noted.


In 1975, according to the Seminary Bulletin, Newpher announced his desire to return to parish ministry, and subsequently became pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Slatington, PA, where he served 10 years, retiring in 1985.


John Newpher was born March 28, 1920, and was a native of Reading, PA. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College in 1942, a Bachelor of Divinity from LTSP in 1945, a Master of Sacred Theology from LTSP in 1946, and a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree in 1958 from Temple University.


Ordained in 1945 into the United Lutheran Church in America, a predecessor body to the current Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Newpher first served a two-point parish, Salem in Audenried and St. Paul in Beaver Meadows, both in Pennsylvania, from 1946 to 1948.


Other calls were to Christ Lutheran Church, Camden, NJ (1948-1953); Ascension Lutheran Church, Philadelphia (1953-1961), and Christ Lutheran Church, Oreland, PA (1961-1971), prior to becoming seminary president. While serving at Ascension Church, located on the seminary campus, “Dr. Newpher was the pastor to many of the faculty members who taught me at the seminary,” Hughes remembers. Hughes was a PhD student at Princeton Seminary during Newpher’s seminary presidency.


Along with his widow, the former Suzanne Van Arsdale of DuBois, PA, Newpher was a member of Upper Dublin Lutheran Church in Ambler, PA. He had a strong interest in social ministry. For 10 years Newpher served on two boards for Ken Crest, a Lutheran social ministry organization based in Plymouth Meeting, PA, serving children and adults in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut with intellectual disabilities and autism. He served on the KenCrest Services Board from October, 1997 to March, 2003. He served on the KenCrest Centers Board from November, 1991 to November, 1997.


Newpher is the author of What is the Gospel? (Lutheran Church Press, 1964), and On a Ship with Paul, a children’s teacher resources guide (Parish Life Press, 1976).


Surviving are four children from a first marriage with former wife, Gladys: John of Sheffield, VT; Peter of Westport, WA; Valerie Newpher of Upper Darby, PA; and Pamela Macon of Whitehall, MD; also three stepchildren, Karen Vickter of Huntingdon Valley, PA; Sandra O’Brien of East Stroudsburg, PA, and Louis Eble of Robeling, NJ.


Funeral services will be at 11 am Thursday, May 27 at Upper Dublin Lutheran Church, 411 Susquehanna Road in Ambler. A visitation hour will be conducted from 10 to 11 am, with a reception at the church following the service. Memorial gifts may be made to Ken Crest, 502 West Germantown Pike, Suite 200, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462, or to the Social Ministry Committee of Upper Dublin Lutheran Church. No flowers please.


(updated 5/25/10 10 pm with name corrections, 5/26/10 with updated KenCrest information)

Monday, May 24, 2010

LTSP Commencement 2010 - Doctor of Divinity Recipients

Recipients of the Degree of Doctor of Divinity Degree

Lee Butz

LTSP President Philip Krey and Lee ButzLee Butz has long been committed to the life of the community, with interests in the church, the arts, education, health, social services and civic affairs. He headed Alvin H. Butz, Inc., the oldest and largest construction company of its kind in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, from 1973 to 2007, when he became chairman. Alvin H. Butz, Inc., was selected to the 2010 Inner City 100 by The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City and Bloomberg Businessweek. Butz was ranked 43rd in the list of 100 fastest-growing, successful inner-city companies and their CEOs as role models for entrepreneurship, innovative business practices and job creation in America's urban communities.

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Butz, a native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, graduated from Lehigh University in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. His career at Alvin H. Butz., Inc., began in high school, interrupted by service in the U.S. Army from 1955 until 1957. He is a registered professional engineer and holds an Honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Muhlenberg College and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from DeSales University.

His education involvement includes membership on a number of advisory boards including the President's Council of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, the President's Associates at Lehigh University and the Executive Board of the Lehigh Valley Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA) Industry Council. He chairs the Education 2010! initiative in Allentown and its surrounding school districts, and served on the Governor's Committee on Early Childhood Education.

Butz and his wife, Dolly, have established The Lee and Dolly Butz Scholarship Fund at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia to help develop the next generation of proactive leaders in the Lehigh Valley develop specialized skills to revitalize urban communities.

The Rev. John Huneke

LTSP President Philip Krey and Dean J. Paul Rajashekar, the Rev. John Huneke, Prof. Katie DayThe Rev. John Huneke has served as pastor at Reformation Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, NY since 1973, the fourth congregation in a long and faithful career that spans more than 50 years. His more than half-century of service to the church serves as an example of faithful stewardship, as well as pastoral leadership, providing a ministry of compassion, presence, and proclamation of God's gift of justification by God's grace through faith.

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Pr. Huneke was born in Brooklyn, NY, on August 6, 1931. He graduated from Columbia College, Morningside Heights, NY, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1953, and entered The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) later that year. He graduated with a Master of Divinity in 1956. During his time at LTSP, he also studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York between 1953-54. He continued his education at Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge MA, where he was awarded the Master of Theology in 1958.

Pr. Huneke was ordained into the ministry by the United Lutheran Church in America in 1958. Throughout his ministry, he has served four Lutheran congregations in metropolitan New York: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, Trinity Lutheran Church, Middle Village, Queens, St. John's Lutheran Church, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and, since 1973, he has served at Reformation Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, NY. He was also called upon to serve interim ministries at St. John's (Milton St) and Lutheran Church of the Messiah (Russell St.), both in Brooklyn, while concurrently serving at Reformation.

The Honorable Charles A Schieren, the Mayor of Brooklyn, merchant, entrepreneur and philanthropist, who was affiliated with Reformation Church, gave LTSP the Charles A. Schieren Chair. Pastor Huneke has continued this philanthropic tradition by providing through the ELCA Fund for Leaders in Mission an endowment for financial aid for students at LTSP from the Metropolitan New York Synod.

LTSP Commencement 2010 - John Nunes Address

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John Arthur Nunes is the President and CEO of Lutheran World Relief (LWR). LWR acts to end poverty and uphold human dignity by empowering the world’s most impoverished communities in order for them to live healthy, safe and secure lives. LWR works with partners in 35 countries to promote sustainable development and increase human flourishing.

A prominent Lutheran leader, thinker and speaker, Nunes is known for his compelling voice applying theological insight to matters ranging from global issues to urban affairs. He joined LWR in July 2007 as its fourth president. Prior to that, he has served as a college professor, management consultant, church musician, community organizer and pastor.

Nunes states: “My call to LWR really gives me a prodigious opportunity to serve in the power of the Spirit, since, as Luther reminds us, ‘we should allow no one to suffer harm but show every kindness and love’ (The Large Catechism).”

Nunes holds advanced academic degrees from schools affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS). He is currently a PhD candidate at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He is author of the book Voices From the City, and he writes for John's Blog on the LWR website.

Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Nunes grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and has lived in the U.S. since 1981. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife, Monique, who is the principal of Baltimore Lutheran School, and his son, John, Jr. (15), the youngest of their five children.

Find more about Lutheran World Relief at www.LWR.org. Read “John’s Blog” at blog.LWR.org.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Post Colonial Criticism, What Next?" - special lecture June 6

"Post Colonial Criticism, What Next?" is the title of a special lecture by Dr. R.S. Sugirtharajah scheduled for Sunday, June 6 at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. The lecture is scheduled for 4 pm in Benbow Hall, The Brossman Center on the seminary campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy secton of Phialdelphia, and is free and open to the public.

Dr. Sugirtharajah is Professor of Biblical Hermeneutics, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England. He has written extensively on such areas as Postcolonial theory and biblical studies; history and politics of Bible translations; diaspora hermeneutic and theologies; contextual Christologies; portrayals of the historical Buddha and historical Jesus; ideological presuppositions of western biblical interpretation; and the Bible and popular culture – Asian, African, Caribbean, Pacific and Latin American biblical interpretations and theologies.

The lecture will be followed by a reception with the presenter. Please RSVP if you are interested in attending the reception to Carrie Schwab, cschwab@Ltsp.edu.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

United Methodists and Lutherans share Holy Communion












PHOTO: Bishop Peggy Johnson, Philadelphia Area of The United Methodist Church, and Bishop Claire Burkat, Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, co-celebrated communion at Lutheran Theological Seminary on March 24. Photo by John Kahler.

by Bishop Peggy Johnson, The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church

I visited Lutheran Theological Seminary on Wed. March 24th for a Eucharistic Service. I had the privilege of co-celebrating communion with the area ELCA Lutheran Bishop, Claire Burkat. Since the UM Denomination and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America are now officially in full communion it was an especially special event. It is hard to imagine that United Methodists and Lutherans were NOT in full communion prior to the official votes by each denomination in 2008 (UMC) and 2009 (ELCA). The body and blood of Christ is not only our means of salvation but our uniting reality making us all "One" in Christ.

Sadly denominations have been separated through the years by the very things that should unite us. It is truly a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit when we come together after centuries of separation over human religious rules and beliefs.

The visit at Lutheran also gave evidence to the presence of the Holy Spirit as a very diverse group of worshipers were at the chapel service...persons of all ethnic groups, ages, genders, and abilities were engaging in the Word of God and prayer. There was spirited music as well as sign language interpreting that brought sound and sight together. I was particularly blessed by the large number of young adult students at the seminary....evidence to me that God is reaching out to a younger generation in new ways. There were young students from many denominations including United Methodists there. What a joy to imagine the future of the church that they will usher in long after my part of the journey is finished.

It is true that the Spirit unites, empowers diversity, and glorifies God....It is a God thing, not a human endeavor. It always has been. It always will be.












Group shot: (left to right) LTSP President Philip D.W. Krey, LTSP student Rosemarie Doucet, Bishop Peggy Johnson (Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, United Methodist Church), Bishop Claire Burkat (Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), LTSP Dean J. Paul Rajashekar, LTSP student Kellie Ebo.

Article used with permission from The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church, first posted May 10, 2010 at http://www.epaumc.org/news/stories/johnson-burkat

Living a Life of Significance - Public Theology Seminar

Dr. Kurt Senske spoke on "Living a Life of Significance" on Tuesday, May 4, 2010, at 11:30 am in Benbow Hall, The Brossman Center on the LTSP campus. The public theology seminar is sponsored by the Intersections Institute.

Dr. Kurt Senske serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Lutheran Social Services of the South (LSS), a multi-faceted, multi-state, social service agency with an annual operating budget of over $100 million and 1000 employees. During his tenure at LSS, he has been responsible for more than tripling the size of the agency and steering the once-troubled agency back to financial stability.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Major Gifts Toward Seminary Education from Connecticut Congregation

BRIDGEPORT (05/04/2010) -- First United Church of Christ in Bridgeport is a small congregation determined to make a big difference in its community and for its sister churches. On Sunday, May 2, the church presented gifts of $50,000 each to Lancaster Theological Seminary and to the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

Founded in 1894 by Hungarian immigrants who named it "Bridgeporti Templomi Egyletet," First UCC had over 600 members in the 1960s. Forty years later, however, the dwindling membership chose to sell their building to the Bridgeport Tabernacle Seventh Day Adventist Church. The two congregations already had a creative partnership, as Tabernacle had been meeting there already.

As the two congregations worship on different days, the arrangement has worked very well for both. Most important to First UCC's members, it insured the church's continued use in the service of God. The 2006 sale permitted First UCC to continue to worship there rent-free for up to twenty years, and also provided the church with a substantial pool of resources for supporting ministry.

"We're in a unique position [to give,]" said Chief Elder Nancy Szwejkowski. "My theory is that it doesn't do any good sitting in the bank."

The gifts to the seminaries came with the encouragement of First UCC's pastor, the Rev. Karen DeWerth-Wamester, who is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). The church has made significant gifts previously to local helping agencies including the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Bridgeport chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and the Merton House food pantry (and several smaller church-based food distribution sites), as well as to the Silver Lake Conference Center Scholarship Fund.

"We have a box of requests," said Szwejkowski, who serves on the review committee. "If we can help, we will. We really do our homework."

The Rev. Dr. Philip Krey, President of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, accepted the church's gift toward a new seminar room, and offered the sermon in thanks during Sunday morning worship. "You're investing in God's creation," he told the worshipers. "You're investing in this community; you're investing in theological education."

Accepting the gift on behalf of Lancaster Seminary in Lancaster, PA, Kelly Schober, Director of Planned and Major Gifts, read a thank-you letter from a Lancaster student whose theological education was made possible by previous donations. First UCC's generosity will provide a new scholarship at the UCC-related school.

"With this gift from First United, more women and men called to serve God will be able to say 'Yes' to a theological education at Lancaster Seminary," wrote Lancaster President Dr. Riess W. Potterveld to the congregation, expressing his gratitude. "And today, the need for financial assistance for seminarians is critical and we rely upon the generosity of persons who value Christian ministry and believe that the education and strengthening of leaders is worthy of support. This gift is a reminder of God's presence in our midst, moving hearts to generosity."

"What a wonderful witness to the full communion agreement between the UCC and the ELCA for the First United Church of Christ to give a generous gift to the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia," said Krey. "Our traditions have grown together, our students study together, our pastors like Pastor DeWerth-Wamester serve one another's congregations, and now we support one another in the preparation of leaders.

"As Lancaster Theological Seminary and the Lutheran School of Theology grow in collaboration in Christ, how lovely it is that the generosity of First United, guided by Mrs. Nancy Szwejkowski and its leaders, will build the capacity of both schools to prepare theologically ministers of the Gospel for long into the future."

The Rev. Michael Ciba, Valley/Northwest Regional Minister, brought the greetings and thanks of the Connecticut Conference for the church's support for theological education. The Rev. Dr. Don Studer and the Rev. Arlene Studer, both Lancaster alumni and long-time friends of First UCC, joined in the day's worship and celebration.

And in the afternoon, the commitment to give found another expression, as First UCC members stood together with those of Bridgeport Tabernacle, offering refreshments to participants in the city's CROP Walk as they passed.

LTSP President Philip Krey preaches:
"Let me congratulate you again for your profound Easter faith."

Presentation of the gifts at First UCC
(l to r) Kelly Schober of Lancaster Seminary, Philip Krey of Lutheran School of Theology, First UCC Chief Elder Nancy Szwejkowski, First UCC Pastor Karen DeWerth-Wamester

Reprinted, with permission, from ctucc.org, the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ. © 2010 The Missionary Society of Connecticut

Thursday, May 06, 2010

As the Spirit of the Lord Gives Utterance - Bishop OT Jones, Jr. as Revisionist Pentecostal Theologian: Lecture online


The first lecture in the Urban Theological Institute of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia's Public Lecture Series was presented by Professor Eric Lewis Williams, Faculty Fellow in Theology and Homiletics, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI, on the topic "As the Spirit of the Lord Gives Utterance: Bishop Ozro Thurston Jones, Jr. as Revisionist Pentecostal Theologian." Respondent was Professor Frederick L. Ware, associate professor of Theology at the Howard University School of Divinity. Learn more online: www.Ltsp.edu/UTILecture.