Theological Education in the Changed Context of the Church and Society is the theme for the 147th academic year at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), which begins with opening day worship and convocation on Tuesday, September 7, 2010 on the seminary campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. Opening worship is at 9:30 am in the seminary chapel, followed by the convocation at 11:15 am in Benbow Hall, The Brossman Center. Both are open to the public.
Opening convocation highlights Theological Education in the Changed Context of the Church and Society from the perspective of LTSP graduates the Rev. Maritza Dolich, the Rev. Matt Cimorelli, and the Rev. Carlton Rodgers. All are pastors in congregations in the Philadelphia region. They will address the theme through their experiences in their contexts as pastors in a world that continues to change.
About the theme:
During the past few decades, theological education has been undergoing change. The change is more perceptible with regard to the gender, age, and racial/ethnic composition of faculty, staff, and students. Patterns of seminary attendance, academic schedule, and the structure of the curricula are undergoing change. With the advent of computers, Internet, and modern technology, new and creative modes of delivery of education have been developed. Students have exhibited diverse motivations and vocational aspirations. Degrees have multiplied, theological disciplines have become specialized, and sources of financial support have shifted. The cost of theological education, dwindling support from denominations, debt load of students, pressure to reduce duration requirements, all raise serious questions about the quality and sustainability of seminary education over the long haul.
These changes to some extent reflect societal changes that have impacted the church. The social location of the church and the long-standing privileges the culture had extended to Christian churches have now diminished. The religious landscape of our society has undergone change. The face of Christianity too has changed due to immigration and migration of people. Mainline denominations have experienced significant decline in membership. Denominations and denominational identity have weakened. In short, the ecology of theological education has changed and will experience further changes. Much has changed and more changes are on the way!
The theme for 20010-2011 academic year is focused on curricular implications of the changes underway in theological education.
In addition to Opening Convocation, LTSP will address the theme at a number of convocations and special events. Events through early November include:
Sept. 21: William H. Lazareth Lecture on Theology and Ethics: Ed Pawlowski, Mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania
Oct. 5: Special Convocation sponsored by the Foundation for Theological Education in South East Asia: “Theological Education in a Globalized World” Dr. Detrich Werner, World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland
Oct. 12: Teaching Bible in the Seminary Curriculum: Biblical Area faculty
Oct. 13-15 30th Anniversary Celebrations of the Urban Theological Institute of LTSP: see www.Ltsp.edu/UTI30 for details
Oct. 26: Quodlibit ("any question whatsoever"): question session
Nov. 2: Quodlibit: Presentation by Distinguished Professor Jayakiran Sebastian
All convocation events are free and open to the public; see www.Ltsp.edu/UTI30 for details on UTI 30th Anniversary event times and locations.