Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quiet on the LTSP campus

The day-after-Christmas east coast storm left the LTSP campus covered in a blanket of snow. The grounds and facilities crew came to campus early Monday morning and made sure the campus was safe for walkers and commuters, while the seminary itself was quiet as LTSP was closed from Christmas eve through Monday for the holiday. Click on the slide show to view all the photos on the LTSP Smugmug site.

Please remember as we bring the year of our Lord 2010 to a close that your gifts truly make a difference in the lives of our seminarians and the church. Each gift directly supports LTSP's mission and ministry, strengthening the seminary's ability to prepare ordained and lay leaders for engagement in the world. Please make an end-of-year Leadership Fund gift today.

We hope you has a Merry Christmas and we look forward to a happy, healthy and blessed New Year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New LTSP Scholarship Fund benefits Part Time Students

New scholarship assistance is available for eligible part time students at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) thanks to a generous gift from the Eby family. Known as the Eby Scholarships, the awards are available to several categories of students:

MDiv, MAR, and MAPL Students: Newly admitted and enrolled part time students in the MDiv, MAR, and MAPL programs are eligible for an Eby Scholarship. Newly admitted students who register for two or more courses will receive a grant of $600.00 for each of the first two semesters of study (for a total of $1200.00).

STM and DMin (Graduate) Students: The Eby Scholarship for Graduate Studies students in the STM and DMin programs are available to any new or current part-time matriculated Graduate student. Student qualification is determined by and through application available in the Graduate School offices. A $200.00 Grant will be awarded for one registered course, and $500.00 for two registered courses.

To learn more about the degree programs at LTSP, go to www.Ltsp.edu/degree-programs, or contact the Admissions Office, 215.248.7302 or Admissions@Ltsp.edu. For more information on Financial Aid, go to www.Ltsp.edu/financial-aid or contact Financial Aid Director Elizabeth Brunton, 215.248.6301 or ebrunton@Ltsp.edu.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Women's Retreat April 9: "Hands of Hope" with Special Early Registration Discount

Hands of Hope: Women's Retreat 2011

As women, we spend much of our days in service to others in our vocations of daily life and work. Hands are the symbol of service to others whether we are cooking, teaching, soothing, creating, planting, sharing, greeting, playing and so much more. In the midst of serving others, our hands bring hope to those we touch in our lives yet we rarely ponder their importance.
In 2011, we celebrate our hands of hope! Join us on Saturday, April 9, 2011 and celebrate your hands by using them in ways that bring new and renewed appreciation for God's gift of hands. And take advantage of our early registration discount - register online by December 31 and save 15%. It's a perfect gift for the women in your life - and for yourself!

Hands of Hope - special early registration discount

What’s new!

Hands of Hope Gallery
You are invited to bring your hand made creation - paintings, drawings, knitting, handwork, photographs, pottery, poetry, writings, crafts, and more - to place on display in our Hands of Hope Gallery. Please let us know when you register what handmade creation you will be bringing.

Anointing of HandsClosing worship will include "Anointing of Hands" so that you leave your day to return to your daily vocations ready again to use your hands of hope in serve to others.

Garden of Hope
Help to plant seeds in the seminary’s new "Garden of Hope."

Give a Gift of Hope! Share this day with a friend!

Learn more and register online: Ltsp.edu/restrefresh

Download a pdf Early Registration flyer to print and share: Hands of Hope Flyer

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Harold and Mary Anne Weiss receive Soli Deo Gloria Award

Allentown, PA, couple honored for exemplary leadership and service to the church and the seminary

The Rev. Dr. Harold S. Weiss '55 and Mary Anne Weiss have been presented the Soli Deo Gloria Award from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), honoring the LTSP 2010 Soli Deo Gloria Award Mary Anne Weiss and The Rev. Dr. Harold S. WeissAllentown, PA, couple for their decades of service to the Church and seminary.

The honor was conferred during the seminary’s December 5 Advent Vespers Dinner that annually pays tribute to donors and friends of the seminary. (in the photo - l to r - LTSP President Philip Krey; LTSP Board of Trustees chair The Rev. Dr. John Richter; Mary Anne Weiss; The Rev. Dr. Harold S. Weiss; LTSP Foundation Board chair Dr. Robert Blanck; Northeastern PA Synod, ELCA, Bishop Samuel Zeiser - click for publication quality version)

Dr. Weiss served for 13 years as Bishop of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and for many years as a seminary trustee. Mary Anne Weiss has been involved in decades of volunteer and church service in the Lehigh Valley and beyond.

In expressing thanks for the award, Mary Anne Weiss encouraged support for the seminary, noting in her experience “that the congregations that do well have the best-trained pastors and best-prepared lay leaders.” She urged the laity in the audience to “take advantage of the opportunities before them to minister.”

Harold Weiss recalled the names of influential mentors, such as Professors Martin Heinecken and Ted Doberstein. He also acknowledged the late Wilson Touhsaent, who preceded him as synodical bishop, and others. “Thanks for this honor,” Weiss said. “It is meaningful to us beyond words. As the name of the award says, the glory for an award like this is really God’s alone. While the spotlight shines on us tonight I hope you will see this as an occasion where the floodlight shines on all around us who minister well and support the seminary and the church.”

“Hal” and Mary Anne Weiss met at St. Paul’s Union Church in Amityville, PA, where they taught Vacation Bible School during their college years. They were married June 11, 1955. The couple has two daughters, Rebecca Mary Bergman of North Oaks, MN, and Elizabeth Anne Wilson of King of Prussia, PA. They have six grandchildren.

Harold Weiss, who grew up in Boyertown, PA, graduated from Boyertown Area High School in 1948 and from Muhlenberg College Summa Cum Laude in 1952 with an AB degree in English. Having made the decision to become a Lutheran pastor, Weiss enrolled at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, receiving his MDiv degree in 1955. “My seminary years were good years,” he says. “I enjoyed great academic preparation from wonderful professors. I studied with lifelong colleagues and friends. The seminary has come a long way since those days.”

Mary Anne Weiss, who grew up in Yellow House, PA, graduated from Amity High School in Berks County in 1949. She received her BS in Home Economics from Hood College in Frederick, MD in 1953. She served two years as a dietitian at Reading, PA, Hospital until her marriage.

Pastor Weiss’s first call was to Toms Brook Lutheran Parish in Toms Brook, VA, where he served for six years. In 1961, he began an eight-year call to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fleetwood, PA. In 1969, he accepted an appointment as Assistant to the Bishop in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod. At the conclusion of Bishop Wilson Touhsaent’s service as bishop in that synod, Weiss was elected to the office in 1983. He served as bishop for 13 years, retiring in 1996 and was named Bishop Emeritus of the Synod.

Bishop Weiss served on the Board of Trustees of Muhlenberg College from 1983 to 1996, and holds the title of Life Trustee. In 1978 the College conferred upon him an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree. He served on the Board of Trustees of Good Shepherd Home in Allentown from 1996 to 2005, and holds the title of Emeritus Trustee. In 1999 he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Muhlenberg College’s Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding, where he is still a member. From 1999 to 2009, he chaired that board.

Harold Weiss served two terms on LTSP’s Board of Trustees – from 1983 to 1987 and from 1991 to 1996.

Mary Anne Weiss over the years has served as a Sunday School and Catechetics teacher and Church Council member at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Allentown, and has been a part of Witness Ministry activities. At Redeemer Church, the couple sings together as members of the church choir. Mary Anne coordinates a Quilt Project, which has made 80 quilts for Lutheran World Relief over the past year.

While in Fleetwood, PA, Mary Anne was a Troop Leader for Campfire Girls. In Allentown, she was a Girl Scout Troop Leader and later chaired the neighborhood group of Scout leaders. In 2000, she was recognized for her 32 years as a volunteer with VIA, an agency, which serves people with disabilities. Today she continues her long-term community volunteer service with Allentown’s Ecumenical Food Bank.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Christmas Blessings

early winter scenes on the LTSP campus

'Tis the season for joy, hope, and love. The faculty and staff at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) wish you and your family an abundance of each! Our seminary is blessed to have a community of people whose prayers and generosity support its daily ministry.

As we approach Christmas with anticipation, we hope that you will take a moment to reflect upon the impact you can have by supporting seminarians as they prepare to spread the Word to future generations. These students will be your community's next church leaders, ministering to you and your family at the most important moments in life. And they need your support.

Please remember that your gifts truly make a difference in the lives of our seminarians and the church. Each gift directly supports LTSP's mission and ministry, strengthening the seminary's ability to prepare ordained and lay leaders for engagement in the world. Please make a Leadership Fund gift today.

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

To make a gift to the Leadership Fund online, please go to Ltsp.edu/give.

Benches added and dedicated on William Allen Plaza, part of annual Tree Lighting

Elise Rivers and other business leaders underwrote project designed by community craftsman Matt Sharaat; dedication part of annual community tree lighting

view the photo gallery

Once, the 146-year-old Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) gave the architectural impression of being “walled-off” from the Mt. Airy community it has historically and increasingly supported over the years.

Visually, that changed a year ago with the dedication of William Allen Plaza, a public square on Germantown Avenue in front of the seminary’s chapel. Seminary President Philip D. Krey says the inviting space was created to be a “gateway” to the neighborhood the school cherishes, serving also as a functional public space. The new plaza was part of a $3 million renovation undertaken by the seminary for its chapel. Community development group Mt. Airy USA suggested elements for the plaza’s design. Local officials secured $500,000 in state grants and $400,000 in city grants to cover the plaza’s construction. This summer, the plaza became the site of a Tuesday afternoon Farmer’s Market that attracted many community shoppers.

Now, several Mt. Airy business leaders, inspired by the initiative, have taken the project a step further by donating the creation and installation of three just-completed permanent benches to make the plaza even more accommodating to visitors. The benches, which “wrap around” three trees on the plaza, were fabricated by craftsman Matt Sharaat of Mt. Airy Custom Furniture, and dedicated December 3 as part of the tree lighting and caroling event held annually for the seminary and Mt. Airy community. (at right: William Allen Plaza with two of the new benches)

The plaza furniture project was the brainchild of Elise Rivers, who with her husband moved to Mt. Airy six years ago. Rivers explains she and her husband have both formed strong businesses, hers being Community Acupuncture of Mt. Airy, originally located on the 500-block of East Sedgwick Street, which at the end of last March relocated to new quarters at 6782 Germantown Avenue. Her business is steadily growing, she says.

“I’ve always loved the outdoors,” she explains, “and when I saw the space I thought it is just what the community needs along Germantown Avenue. I have felt so grateful for this wonderful, diverse neighborhood in which to live and work and the community support which has made my business so successful, and I wanted to give something back." She adds she found further purpose in the project through her role as a board member of the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (MABID). Their mission in part is to add green space along Germantown Avenue between Cresheim Valley Road and Washington Lane. With the help of MABID she has already made improvements to the “pocket park” at the corner of Germantown Avenue and Carpenter Lane. Significant improvements to that park are in the works for next spring.

She explains she is hopeful that Germantown Avenue will eventually host additional green public spaces appropriate to the locale, and that she can be part of those projects as well.

In pondering the benches idea, Rivers contacted Ken Weinstein, owner of the Trolley Car Diner and current MABID chair for advice and support. Weinstein said he told Rivers that the seminary has historically supported the Mt. Airy community in multiple ways.

“During the Germantown Avenue reconstruction, the seminary community really supported the diner, which was so negatively impacted for a time by the construction,” Weinstein said. The road excavation made access to the restaurant a real challenge for many months. Weinstein also praises the seminary for investing in the fledgling Valley Green Bank five years ago. The bank, which now has three locations, got its start across the street from the campus. In addition, Weinstein said, the seminary has energetically participated in Martin Luther King Day service projects and initiatives like cleanups along Chew Avenue.

Weinstein explains Elise Rivers became “hooked” on supporting the project when she learned more of the seminary’s history of community involvement. She met with Krey, then pledged a $4,000 gift toward the benches. Weinstein made a $1,000 supportive pledge and also contacted Robert Elfant of Elfant-Wissahickon Realtors, who pledged $1,000 toward the project. And Elfant contacted Edward Hillis, owner of Domus Inc., the Germantown general contractor recently involved in building a new Weaver’s Way Co-op store on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill. Hillis made a $1,000 gift. The Seminary also made a $2,000 gift toward the project. The $9,000 total made the project possible.

In addition to the successful Farmer’s Market, the initiative is generating a vision for other possible activities are well. Under discussion are ideas such as possible outdoor concerts and movies.

“I’ve long had a soft spot in my heart for the seminary,” Elfant explains in describing his motivation for supporting the project. “The seminary is physically such a big part of the community, and it plays a major role in how it serves the neighborhood.”

Krey has said, “I think we’re part of a mutual admiration society in Mt. Airy. We all help each other.”

Participating in the Friday evening ceremonies were LTSP President Philip Krey, bench donors Elise Rivers, Bob Elfant and Ken Weinstein, East Mt. Airy Neighbors President Dan Muroff, Mt. Airy USA Executive Director Anuj Gupta, LTSP Professor Katie Day, and Philadelphia City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller. Professor Day lead the prayer for the dedication of the benches, and Councilwoman Miller flipped the switch to light the plaza tree. Seminary Director of Music Ministries and Cantor Michael Krentz and seminarian Pam Peterson, playing the flute, lead the community in singing carols.

Photos of the dedication and plaza benches, including high resolution downloads, can be found online at www.Ltsp.edu/treelighting2010photos.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

What in the World are Systematic Theologians Doing These Days? theme of December 7 Convocation

Faculty members of the Systematics Area at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) will present on the topic "What in the World are Systematic Theologians Doing These Days?" at the convocation scheduled for Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 11:30 am. The convocation will be presented in Benbow Hall, The Brossman Center on the LTSP campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. The convocation is free and open to the public.

Presenting on December 7 are faculty members Dr. John Hoffmeyer, Dean Paul Rajashekar and Dr. Nelson Rivera (left to right in photo).

The December 7 convocation is the latest on the LTSP theme for the 2010-2011 academic year, Theological Education in the Changed Context of the Church and Society. Future convocations will explore the topics "Teaching Theology in the Seminary Curriculum: A Symposium by Systematicians," "Teaching the Practice of Ministry in the Seminary Curriculum: A Symposium by the Integrative Area," and "Seminary Education: What the Church Expects" with Bishop Roy Riley, New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

For more information on LTSP and other seminary events and offerings, visit the seminary website at