Saturday, October 23, 2010

UTI 30th Anniversary - Celebration Highlights

The Urban Theological Institute of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia is celebrating its 30th Anniversary, and October 13-15 marked three days of special events including a Celebration of Africa American Sacred Music, including a special address by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, a Worship Celebration with guest preacher the Rev. Dr. Carolyn A. Knight, and a Gala Reception and Banquet with keynote speaker the Rev. Dr. James. A Forbes, Jr. Event proceeds benefit the Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., Chair in African American Studies.

The Rev. Dr. Carolyn A. Knight preaching:

Keynote speaker the Rev. Dr. James. A Forbes, Jr.:

View photo slide shows, find links to photo galleries, and links to give to the Wright Chair on the UTI 30th Anniversary website.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Prof. Kiran Sebastian 2010 Distinguished Quodlibet Presenter

The Rev. Dr. J. Jayakiran Sebastian, H. George Anderson Professor of Mission and Cultures and Director, Multicultural Mission Resource Center at LTSP, is the 2010 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 2, 2010 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 26, 11:30 am, also in Benbow Hall. While recognizing Quodlibet is an academic tradition, any question, on any topic, is accepted, and Prof. Sebastian will present his responses on November 2.

Friday, October 15, 2010

LTSP Students Awarded "Fund for Leaders" Scholarships

Three students at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) have been awarded full-tuition scholarships for the 2010-2011 academic year by The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Fund for Leaders in Mission. They are among 22 recipients enrolled in one of the eight ELCA seminaries.

LTSP's 2010-2011 recipients are:
+ Karen Sease, Columbia, SC, Fund for Leaders Churchwide Scholarship
+ Marc Stutzel, Astoria, NY, Fund for Leaders Churchwide Scholarship
+ Floyd Blair, Baltimore, MD

Now in its 10th year, the Fund for Leaders is an ELCA initiative to build an endowed scholarship resource to provide tuition assistance to qualified candidates studying at ELCA seminaries. When fully endowed, the fund's goal is to provide full-tuition assistance for every ELCA seminary student committed to a future in parish ministry.

For the first time the fund awarded more than $1 million in seminary tuition scholarships in a single year, said the Rev. Paul N. Hanson, director, ELCA Fund for Leaders in Mission. He said the fund's value now exceeds $20 million.

In remarks to the scholarship recipients during an Oct. 1 banquet attended by members of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, seminary presidents, churchwide leaders and supporters of the Fund for Leaders, the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, noted, "Tonight is really a celebration of all of you, the giftedness of this church and the work of the Spirit. On behalf of this church I thank all of you."

The presiding bishop told the ELCA leaders and scholarship recipients that he often hears members say they are ready to move forward with the church's mission and ministry. He said his sense of the ELCA is that it is "becoming a new church" being led by the Spirit "toward God's new promised future."

Cynthia S. Halverson, executive for ELCA Development Services and president of the ELCA Foundation, recognized organizations and individuals that have contributed significant gifts to the Fund for Leaders. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Minneapolis, contributed $1 million to help start the Fund for Leaders and gave another $1 million challenge grant, she said. The ELCA Mission Investment Fund contributed a $1.5 million challenge grant and awarded scholarships, she said.

In addition to the Fund for Leaders in Mission, LTSP students have many opportunities to receive scholarship funds to support their education as they prepare to be leaders in the church in today's world. Information is available online at

There is always a need for funds to support scholarships offered by LTSP. You can learn more, including how to give for this important need: Learn more about the Fund for Leaders in Mission on the ELCA website.

"Music is Prayer:" Reconsidering Secular Music

"Music is Prayer:" Reconsidering Secular Music, an article written by LTSP Professor Jon Pahl, was published in the October issue of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics. The article addresses the work of "The Groove Daemons," a band made up of LTSP alums, students, faculty and friends, and their exploration of the theological, spiritual, and ethical implications of six secular tunes. The Groove Daemons add to seminary and community life by contributing to worship, workshops, fund raising, and community events.

Read the article online: The Journal of Lutheran Ethics, October 2010

A photo slide show of the Groove Daemons performing for a fund raising event, February 2010:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LTSP's Urban Theological Institute celebrating 30th Anniversary

The Urban Theological Institute (UTI) of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) will celebrate its 30th Anniversary with three special events October 13-15, 2010. The Institute developed from a dream of its founders to create a seminary program that would have academic integrity, offered in the evenings and on Saturdays to meet the needs of working pastors in the African American community. Its founders, the Rev. Dr. Andrew Willis and the late Rev. Dr. Randolph Jones, approached a number of institutions and, as Dr. Jones often said, "Others said no, and Lutheran said YES."

The celebration includes the following events

30th Anniversary Concert: A Celebration of African American Sacred Music, Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 7:00 pm (free-will offering), Sheila D. Booker, Coordinator, at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 5900 North 5th Street (5th St. & Nedro Ave.), Philadelphia, PA 19120.

30th Anniversary Worship Celebration, Thursday, October 14, 2010, 7:00 pm (free-will offering), The Rev. Dr. Carolyn A. Knight, Guest Preacher, at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, 25 West Johnson Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144.

30th Anniversary Gala Banquet & Reception, Friday, October 16, 2010, 6:30 pm, The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., Guest Speaker, at The Brossman Center, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119. The banquet has sold out - a report will follow the event.

The Rev. Dr. Quintin Robinson, Director of the UTI, notes that, "Even after 30 years, we want to cultivate a deeper understanding, appreciation of and respect for African American theological inquiry and religious history, enriching the church and the seminary community.” Much as UTI and LTSP have been enriched by the last 30 years of carrying out the vision of Drs. Jones and Willis.

More information about the Urban Theological Institute's 30th Anniversary, including details of the events, is available online:

(revised to reflect banquet sell-out)