Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas Greeting from LTSP

The Annunciation

Berthold's German devotional Hourly Thoughts on the Life and Suffering of Christ was a fourteenth century bestseller in the Holy Roman Empire. It was so successful that Berthold translated it into Latin so that it could be copied and read by educated readers all across Europe. With the invention of the printing press, this devotional classic naturally became a favorite among printers who then augmented the text with woodcuts.

The Annunciation - actual size
The Annunciation
The woodcut of the Annunciation is the inspiration for the seminary's holiday greeting this year. It appeared in Ulrich Zell's Latin edition that was printed in Cologne in 1488. The woodcut, however, is more than decoration. It is a visual representation of Berthold's understanding of the Annunciation. According to tradition, Mary was reading her prayer book when the Angel Gabriel arrived and announced that she had been chosen to be the mother of the Messiah. The unknown artist of this tiny woodcut (3"x2" - shown enlarged above and close to actual size to the right) has beautifully captured all those traditional elements. But it's Mary's smile and arms resting easily on the lectern that link this image to the text. For Berthold, the Annunciation was a moment of unparalleled joy. Paraphrasing Berthold - all the music made by earthly cymbals, lutes, harps, organs, and choirs could not compare with the angelic chorus that echoed across the heavens the moment Mary smiled and said yes.

Mary, the Mother of our Lord, Berthold, and the owners of this extraordinary book were people of faith and prayer. The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, the steward of this rare treasure, is a living witness to that faith in the twenty-first century and prepares people of prayer and faith for ministries around the world. This Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord, we rejoice and give thanks for your commitment to our ministry and hope that the good news of God's everlasting love through Christ may be a blessing to you in this season of unparalleled joy.

Text: The Rev. Dr. Karl Krueger, Director of the Krauth Memorial Library and Professor of the History of Christianity, LTSP

Illustration: "The Annunciation" in the Horologium devotionis circa vitam Christi [Cologne: Ulrich Zell, 1488], from the Krauth Memorial Library at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

Monday, December 24, 2012

William Allen Plaza Tree Lighting: Remembrance and Celebration

Members of the Mt. Airy and seminary community joined in prayer and seasonal fellowship Friday, December 14, 2012 for the annual Tree Lighting on William Allen Plaza at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). While a festive tradition, in reaction to the the school shootings earlier in the day in Newtown, Connecticut the event included a time of Vigil around the interfaith Peace Tree on the plaza for the victims of today's, and all victims of, violent shootings, their families, and the school and wider community of Sandy Hook Elementary School. LTSP Associate Professor, Pastoral Care and Theology the Rev. Dr. Storm Swain lead the community in prayer, and all were invited to light candles and tie ribbons around the Prayer Tree in remembrance.
LTSP President the Rev. Dr. Philip Krey then invited the community to continue with carol singing, introducing the Rev. Dr. Martin Lohrmann, pastor of Christ Ascension Lutheran Church in Chestnut Hill and an alumnus of LTSP's PhD program, who offered a prayer that helped to connect the vigil and the tree lighting celebration.
Led by the Christmas Ensemble from the Salvation Army, Philadelphia Citadel, a selection of seasonal songs and Christmas carols were sung by those in attendance. East Mt. Airy Neighbors board member Dan Muroff introduced Cherelle Parker, the community's representative to the Pennsylvania House, who offered remarks and then asked for the tree to be illuminated.
New, unwrapped toys appropriate for children ages newborn to 12 were collected for the Salvation Army's Stockings for Kids program, and community enjoyed hot cider and cookies as they greeted friends and neighbors and shared wishes for the season.

A slide show of the evening:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Soli Deo Gloria Award conferred upon Dr. Mia I. Enquist and her late husband Canon Dr. Roy Enquist

The ceremony was a highlight of the Advent Vespers reception
at LTSP Sunday Dec. 2
Dr. Enquist
Dr. Mia Enquist, 2012 recipient of the Soli Deo Gloria Award of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, told an Advent Vespers reception gathering Sunday Dec. 2 that she considered the award “not to be a mark of attainment, but an incentive, a mandate to get on with philanthropy…”
She and her late husband, the Rev. Canon Dr. Roy J. Enquist, who died in April 2010, were honored with the Award given annually to a person or persons recognized by the seminary’s Board of Trustees for outstanding leadership and service to the church and to the mission of the seminary.
This past July, Dr. Mia Enquist and family members established with the seminary the Brandt Enquist Scholarship Fund for deserving LTSP students, honoring Mia’s late husband and her father, the Rev. William E. Brandt, both seminary graduates.
Dr. Mia Enquist said she was “inspired and joyful” to have been selected with her late husband as honorees, and at one point said to the audience, consisting of other seminary donors including students, faculty, and staff, “the conferring of this award … belongs to all of us.”
Dr. Enquist and Guest
She told in her remarks of growing up on Boyer Street across from the seminary, recalling the opportunity to practice music on the organ in the seminary chapel.
“My father and husband, graduates of this school, inspired me to be better as I learned about Martin Luther’s treatise on vocation to serve others,” she said. She talked about the unexpected patterns of her life, which have later appeared to her as God’s designs.  A Lutheran Deaconess in the late 1940s when she met her husband-to-be, the Enquists married in 1953. The couple raised two children. She spent her life as a performer and teacher of music, teacher of languages (University of Texas, Austin, where she earned a Master’s and PhD), and finally as a teacher in the field of finance, becoming a Certified Financial Planner and head of her own business in 1980.
left to right: Mrs. Jane Brandt, Dr. Blanck, Dr. Enquist, 
Dr. Walter Brandt (the Brandts are Dr. Enquist's 
sister-in-law and brother)
“We had no knowledge of money,” she recalls of her 1980 decision to become an entrepreneur of finance. She spent the first two years in business learning all she could about stocks, bonds, futures, tax code matters and other issues she described as often lost on the minds of the average investor. Many she counseled over the years had “no strategy to create wealth,” Dr. Enquist said.  She said she first learned, then taught others how to keep funds they had buried, “moving…how to get $1 to do the work to become $3 or $4.” She also taught her students how to engage in charitable work and philanthropy.
“I would say to them, ‘Do you want your giving to be voluntary or involuntary?” she said, noting that a meaningful plan of philanthropy is marked by great love. “The long and short of it is, what would you like the capstone of your life to be?” She opined that the greatest gifts can be toward the mission of the church, adding “we owe the seminary our loyalty and support.” She then culminated her remarks with a tuneful reminder of where money and all good gifts come from, “We give Thee but Thine own, whate’er the gift may be…”
LTSP Soli Deo Gloria Award 2012
left to right: Dr Blanck, Soli Deo Gloria Award recipient
Dr. Enquist, Dr. Richter, Dr. Krey
The late Dr. Roy Enquist’s service to the Church was wide and fruitful as an ethicist, scholar, teacher, author, ecumenist and interfaith leader. He served Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Seaside, Oregon from 1953 to 1957. While there he led the construction of a contemporary, altar - centered edifice. He was called as campus pastor at the University of Chicago from 1958 to 1960. Dr. Enquist was appointed to the faculty of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio from 1960 to 1962, and became Assistant Executive Secretary of the Division of College and University Work of the United Lutheran Church (ULC) from 1962-1965. He served on the faculty of Texas Lutheran College in Seguin, Texas from 1965 to 1974. After two years teaching at Marang Seminary, Rustenburg, South Africa, the University of Namibia, and Paulinum Seminary, Namibia, he returned to continue his work at Texas Lutheran. In 1980 he became the Director of the Lutheran House of Studies in Washington, DC, and Professor of Theology and Ethics at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg until his retirement. In 2000 he was installed as Canon at the Washington National Cathedral.
The  Soli Deo Gloria Award was conferred by seminary trustee Dr. Robert Blanck with the assistance of chair of the Board of Trustees the Rev. Dr. John Richter.
Saying thanks proved to be a keynote theme for the evening. Earlier, Dr. Richter had described the reception “as the annual gathering of family.” He described the seminary as a “jewel” that is part of the crown of the church with a gifted faculty, dedicated administration and staff, committed trustees, and students, “without which the seminary would have no meaning. This jewel would have less value without you as partners, part of a wider family of partners that prays for us and supports us financially. Without you we could not succeed. Thank you for what the seminary continues to be.”
Angel Marrero and Amanda Nesvold
Saying thanks also were two seminarians, student body Vice President Amanda Nesvold and Angel Marrero.  “Without you we could not be here,” Nesvold told the audience in expressing deep thanks. Marrero briefly told his story of coming out of Puerto Rico, where his mother was a housewife and his father a construction worker. His parents pushed him to get a degree in education. “Graduate school was impossible to think of,” he said. “Through your generosity it is possible for people like me to do what would otherwise be impossible – to fulfill God’s call to me. Thank you.”
President Krey
Seminary President Philip Krey noted that a “range of constituents own what we do,” and the ownership is not measured entirely in dollars. “It takes generosity of all kinds to make it possible to meet the needs of our students and the church of the 21st century. You are invited to be part of our future as we look forward to serving God from this place to the ends of the earth, enriched by your contributions as we seek to enrich the future of the church.”
Dean Sebastian
Recently installed Dean Jayakiran Sebastian began brief remarks by praising immediate past Dean J. Paul Rajashekar and his spouse, Esther, for their generosity and “deep commitment” to the seminary over the past 12 years of Paul Rajashekar’s time in office. Sebastian noted that students and alumni in recent months have been engaged in discussions about their favorite season of the church year, and that Advent “has struck a chord across the generations. What about Advent so engages us? Is it the uncertainty of the season, the expectations, the sense of longing and waiting within us and for one another?” He spoke of the seminary’s plans for a new curriculum done in consort with a careful business plan.
“The seminary is gifted to share with the church many gifted people” it has been called to train, said the Rev. John V. Puotinen, vice president for philanthropy and president of the LTSP Foundation. “We have an intellectually gifted faculty, an exciting staff and wonderful students. We have received many gifts this year and among the most gifted people are in this room and in this place. We have so many to thank for their time and what they give. I give thanks for the gift that you are and for the gifts to the Lord and the seminary that enable us to have a vision to prepare even better people for the church in the years ahead.”
Dr. Addie J. Butler, past chair of the Board, gave the invocation. The Rev. Louise N. Johnson, vice president for Mission Advancement, gave the closing prayer.
The reception was followed by the annual Advent Vespers offered by the seminary choir led by Dr. Michael Krentz, director of Music Ministry and Seminary Cantor. The vespers are sponsored each year by the Rev. Dr. Robert E. Bornemann Memorial Fund, and took place this year at nearby Grace-Epiphany Episcopal Church.

The Advent Vespers

The Advent Vespers

The Advent Vespers

View a slide show from the Advent Vespers reception and service:
click any image to go to the photo gallery

Renewed denominational cooperation needed to testify to the truth today as Jesus taught it, preacher says

The Rev. Theodore Swanson’s preaching highlighted the Christ the King service at LTSP during which Dean J. Jayakiran Sebastian and others were installed to new seminary responsibilities at LTSP
The November 28, 2012 Christ the King worship celebration of Holy Communion at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) featured the installation of new Board of Trustees members and officers, student body officers, new seminary vice-president for mission advancement the Rev. Louise Johnson, and the seminary’s new Dean J. Jayakiran Sebastian, who wanted to be installed as Dean in the company of all of the above.
Preacher for the occasion was the Rev. Theodore N. Swanson, a retired Evangelical Lutheran Church in America missionary who taught Sebastian when the new dean was a student at the United Theological College in Bangalore, India. The two were later faculty colleagues.
Rev. Swanson and
Dean Sebastian
Swanson recalled in his message that 33 years ago he and his wife, Joanne, were missionaries in residence for a year (1978-79) at LTSP during the period of time the then Lutheran Church in America was introducing the green worship book, and when faculty members Foster McCurley and John H. P. Reumann were introducing an intensive Bible study initiative called “Word and Witness.” Swanson contended this is still appropriate for today.  He said that during his time in Bangalore visiting professors from LTSP included Professor and former Dean J. Paul Rajashekar, late Krauth Memorial Library Director David Wartluft and Professor Robert B. Robinson.
Referencing the Gospel for the day (John 18: 33-37), Swanson spoke of the interaction of Jesus with Pilate in which Jesus states his kingdom is “not of this world” and that he has come to “testify to the truth and that whoever listens to my voice shall know the truth.” These verses have Jesus uniquely revealed as the One who knows and speaks the truth, Swanson said.
“That seems to me what a seminary is called to do, proclaiming to men and women their role as leaders, active in sacrificial love – love that is truth, is life, eternal life, not just for the future but which begins now,” Swanson said.
“Board members and other leaders here face financial constraints, I am sure, and they need to meet ATS (Association of Theological Schools) standards, engage in curriculum revision – when is curriculum not being revised? They face student indebtedness, and an uneven process for placing pastors that leaves some without a call for months and years. Then there is the elephant in the room – a shrinking (membership) base. For the first time we have a youth culture where many have grown up without (knowledge of) God. They never had a church or were turned off by it.”
He subsequently challenged leaders in the chapel to help peers in the communities where they serve or will serve “to see how God is at work in our lives and in our time. We need a new Word and Witness, and we need to grasp the revolution in communication, to harness the technology of today to witness to the truth as Jesus did.” He also urged Lutherans to work together with other denominations and the gifts they bring to the table – Roman Catholics, Baptists, United Methodists, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Mennonites, United Church of Christ traditions. “We need each other,” Swanson said. “We must be careful we do not become arrogant with our partial view.”
By working together through ecumenical dialogue and other means, “we will be better equipped to bring the truth to our way of life,” Swanson said.
Installed at the conclusion of the service in addition to Sebastian and Johnson were Dr. Michael Krentz, director of the seminary’s music program and cantor, installed as Instructor, non-tenure, and the Rev. John V. Puotinen, the seminary’s Vice President for Philanthropy, installed as President of the LTSP Foundation. Officers of the board installed were: Chair – the Rev. Dr. John C. Richter, Vice-Chair – the Rev. J. Elise Brown, Secretary – the Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Krommes, Assistant Secretary – Dr. Addie J. Butler, and Treasurer – Fred Risser. Four new trustees were installed: David L. Hinrichs, the Rev. Charles S. Miller, Fred E. Risser, Bishop Samuel R. Zeiser, and re-elected trustee the Rev. J. Elise Brown.
Installed as Student Body Executive Committee members were Lauren Finnila, Amanda Nesvold, Daniel Spigelmyer, Lauren Blatt, Alina Gayeuski, Tim Ness, Rachel Anderson, Elyssa Salinas and John Eskate.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Annual Tree Lighting Tonight

Start Mt. Airy December First Friday at the Tree Lighting at William Allen Plaza

Friday, December 14, 2012, 6 pm
William Allen Plaza on the LTSP Campus
7301 Germantown Avenue, Mt Airy, Philadelphia

  • Caroling
  • Refreshments
  • Christmas Ensemble from the Salvation Army, Philadelphia Citadel
  • Bring unwrapped toys for children ages newborn to 12 years
Start off your holiday season on William Allen Plaza on the campus of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) with a Tree Lighting and Carol Sing! Join the community on Friday, December 14 at 6 pm at the plaza, next to the Schaeffer-Ashmead chapel at the southwest corner of the LTSP campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Mt. Airy, Philadelphia. There is free parking on campus adjacent to The Brossman Center. The celebration is free and open to the public, and will be held rain, clear or snow!

New, unwrapped toys appropriate for children ages newborn to 12 will be collected for the Salvation Army's Stockings for Kids program, see the list of suggested items below. Toys can also be dropped off at The Brossman Center.

Sponsored by The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

Suggested Holiday Items
  • Age 0-1 (Boy or Girl) Teether, Rattle, Bibs, Baby Wipes, Lotion, Shampoo, Brush, Soft Toys, Stuffed Animals, Bath Toys, Socks, Hats, T-Shirts and Sleepers
  • Age 2-3 (Boy or Girl) Dolls, Beanie Babies, Boat, Cars, Books, Little People, Lego Set, Bath Toys, Socks, Mittens, Caps, T-Shirts and Education Aid Toys
  • Age 4-7 (Girl) Ink Pad, Stamps, Crayons, Clay, Lego Sets, Jump Rope, Jacks, Stickers, Hat, Gloves, Beanie Babies, Doll Clothes, Scrunchies, and Barrettes
  • Age 4-7 (Boy) Fun Pad, Videos, Crayons, Coloring Books, Hand-Held Games, Puzzles, Lego Set, Action Figures and Baseball Cards
  • Age 8-10 (Girl) School Supplies, Videos, Puzzles, Books, Scarf, Hat, Gloves, Jewelry, Stuffed Animals, Barbie Doll, Clothes, Paint Set, Markers, Colored Pencils
  • Age 8-10 (Boy) School Supplies, Hand-Held Electronic Games, Hats, Gloves, Airplane Kit, Star Wars Figures, Puzzles, Dominoes, Nerf Football, and Velcro Glove
  • Age 11+ (Girl) Videos, CD's, Radio, Books, Card Games, Fast Food Certificates, School Supplies, Calculator, Brush, Comb, Soap, Lotion, and Walkman
  • Age 11+ (Boy) Videos, Cassettes, CD's, Electronic Games, Calculator, Books, Card Games, Fast Food Certificates, School Supplies, Baseball Cap and Glove, and Walkman

Sunday, December 02, 2012

GODSPELL: The Musical December 7 & 8 at LTSP

Godspell" The Musical
Presented by the community of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia 

The community of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) will present Stephen Schwartz’s acclaimed musical Godspell in performance on December 7 and 8, 2012, 7 pm on the seminary campus.
Based on the gospel of Matthew, the musical tells the story of Jesus and his disciples with an upbeat and modern twist to the 2,000 year old story. Having made its Broadway debut in 1976, the show made a revival Broadway appearance in 2011. With songs such as “Prepare Ye” and “Light of the World,” the show continues to engage audiences across the country in local performances today.
LTSP second-year students Josiah Armstrong and Mark Johnson have headed the project as Artistic and Musical Directors. The cast and pit are comprised of students, staff, and faculty of the seminary.
Both performances are open to the public, and tickets are available at the door prior to each 7 pm performance. The cost of admission is $10.
The performances will be held in the Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel at LTSP, located at 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119. Parking is available in The Brossman Center lot, located behind the chapel. Please see the seminary’s website for additional directions and parking information (www.Ltsp.edu/campus).
Proceeds of the performances will fund mission supplies on the annual service trip of the seminary to John’s Island, South Carolina. This trip is led by Rev. Dr. Robert Robinson.
For additional information regarding the performance, please contact the show’s production team. Email: godspellatltsp@gmail.com

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dr. Jon Pahl receives the Hagan Chair of the History of Christianity at LTSP

scroll down to view the slide show and video from the ceremony and lecture 
Dr. Jon Pahl, professor of the History of Christianity at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), was conferred the honor of the Peter Paul and Elizabeth Hagan Endowed Chair in the History of Christianity at a special ceremony and lecture on November 27, 2012.
In receiving the Chair, Pahl, a resident of Philadelphia’s East Mt. Airy section, delivered a brief lecture that Peter Paul Hagan, a socially conscious entrepreneur in the early part of the last century, surely would have appreciated.
Hagan Professor Jon Pahl
In his remarks, entitled “Ending the Warfare Between Business and Religion: Toward a New Social Gospel,” Pahl described a warfare between business and religion that has been waged off and on for 150 years, stemming from two historic periods and marked by what he called “the Barbarian Captivity of Business” on the one hand and the “Temptation to Self-Righteous Spiritual Purity” on the other. In two periods of history, including the present, Pahl cited “a very narrow understanding of business that aligns corporations with short-term, reactive greed (evidenced by quarterly profits for shareholders and built on the backs of workers), coinciding with a failure on the part of religious leaders to attend responsibly to the material relations that constitute everyday life.”
Pahl subsequently drew upon examples, often from American religious history, of spiritually grounded social entrepreneurs “who have shared a vision and concrete practices to foster a healthy intersection of business and religion …to build what we might call a new social gospel that will be one component in what I see, more broadly, as a coming religious peace. We can see emerging around the globe and across religious traditions a spiritually grounded practice of social business that promises to engage the unmistakable energies of entrepreneurship …on behalf of a more just, sustainable, equitable – and in fact profitable world.”
Pahl began by tracing the legacy of Peter P. and Elizabeth Hagan, “a heritage I am honored and privileged to carry (through the chair) as part of a rich and largely unknown thread within Lutheran history that manifested itself in a distinctive understanding and application of the social gospel movement, a heritage that is very much alive and well, and being renewed … today.”
Hagan, a carpet manufacturer and resident of Jenkintown, PA, served as vice-president of the Board of LTSP, trustee of Tabor Home for Children (now known in three sites as Tabor Children’s Services), as president of the Philadelphia Lutheran Inner Mission Society, as a member of the Board of Pensions of the former United Lutheran Church in America (a predecessor to today’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in America denomination), and as vice-president of the Lutheran Laymen’s Movement for Stewardship before he died in October 1959.
“If you have a pension today through the church, be thankful for the foresight of social gospel thinkers like Hagan,” Pahl noted. The stucco, Victorian estate near the Germantown Avenue entrance of the seminary bears Hagan’s name, and a portrait of the couple hangs in its lobby.
In a segment of his presentation called “A Cloud of Witnesses of Social Entrepreneurs,” Pahl described the life work of six socially conscious entrepreneurs through the ages: Bartolome de las Casas, a Martin Luther contemporary who advocated on behalf of the rights of indigenous peoples to life, land, liberty and dignity and became known as the “father of liberation theology”; Francis Daniel Pastorius, the founder of Germantown who settled there in 1683, a Lutheran who attended Quaker meetings and “a lawyer, gardener, poet, judge, land developer” who Pahl also described as a signatory and probably author of the first anti-slavery document in America; Sojourner Truth, born into slavery in the 1790s, later freed and an outspoken anti-slavery activist and preacher the rest of her life – with speeches in Philadelphia, including from the pulpit of Mother Bethel Church – whose entrepreneurial instincts included funding her travels through the sale of her pictures and speeches; Jane Addams, co-founder of many settlement houses dotting the American landscape; Fethullah Gulena, a Turkish Muslim teacher whose global movement called Hizmet engages adherents in the practices of education, interreligious dialogue and direct service through social enterprise; and Leymah Gbowee, one of three 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, who founded a Women’s Peacebuilding Network that helped to end the war in her country of Liberia.
“Things can start in churches that change the world for the better,” Pahl said. “The original social gospel movement, along with the Progressive Movement in politics, brought us anti-trust laws, child labor laws, a dramatic rise in literacy and women’s suffrage…and was parochially Christian.
“A new social gospel, in contrast, can and will be pragmatic – encouraging social enterprise, organizing business energies, engaging all stakeholders in the processes of operation,” Pahl said. “A new social gospel will not arise out of some do-good idealism or revolutionary fervor…A new social gospel will engage us in solving social problems by engaging material resources in creative ways because spiritually grounded social enterprise makes business sense.
“A new social gospel can and will draw upon the deep wells of our spiritual traditions – not just Protestantism – in ways that honor the integrity of those traditions while affirming what Rabbi Jonathan Sacks calls ‘dignity of difference.’
“Non-violent organizing for social change has been tried, and succeeded in context after context, continent after continent, over the past century and beyond, including here in the United States,” Pahl maintained. The experiments that Las Casas, Pastorius, Truth, Addams, Gulen and Gbowee have left us remain to be extended and developed…”
Pahl also dealt with a key question that he said often prevents understanding and appreciation of the spiritually grounded, social enterprise heritage left by the Hagans: Can a rich person be saved?
“This question has deep roots in the Christian faith,” Pahl says. “Rabbi Jesus was asked it, and gave his famous and elliptical answer (in Luke’s version): ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ When the disciples then asked, ‘Who can be saved?,’ Jesus replied with words that are less well-known than his vivid image, but far more important: ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’ Salvation, to clarify the point, is God’s doing.
Pahl continues, “The same point is reiterated by Jesus in teaching after teaching, such as the famous saying in Matthew 6:4 ‘No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.' In my not-so-humble opinion, this translation from the New Revised Standard Version shares in common an error made in most previous translations. The verb translated as ‘serve’ is doulein, which, if my seminary Greek still serves me, is the transitive form of doulos, which is not ‘servant’ but ‘slave’. So this verse ought to read, then, ‘You cannot be a slave to God and wealth.' This makes the point that our riches can enslave us. It turns us once again to our theology: Salvation is God’s doing, and being a slave to God is the highest good, because God doesn’t keep slaves. God’s power, God’s lordship, is of a different order than the typical imperial power in the Roman world. To reiterate: God doesn’t keep slaves. Being a slave to God, in other words, FREES a person to use wealth properly on behalf of the common good, rather than being a slave to wealth, because SALVATION is God’s doing – God’s free gift to humanity.” Pahl leans on the early writings of Clement of Alexandria, who counsels: "The rich person who can be saved is the one who loves God and one’s neighbor."
Seminary Dean Jayakiran Sebastian began the proceedings by tracing the history of endowed chairs in the seminary “as part of a long tradition to honor distinguished professors, who have taught for at least five years” on the faculty. The seminary has 14 chairs altogether, some of which are not currently occupied.  The  Hagans endowed the chair bestowed upon Pahl today in 1952 to honor the Rev. Dr. Paul Hoh, president of the seminary, who died that year.
Pahl was introduced to the audience by Beth Stroud, a former academic advisee of the honoree. Stroud, in part, said Pahl taught her to appreciate the spiritual lives of everyday people. “He showed me how their christening gowns, church suppers, and youth group peanut hunts, their loves and losses and all the ways they experienced the divine were part of the intricate fabric of American religious life,” she said.
In expressing gratitude for being honored with the chair, Pahl gave deep appreciation to his wife, Lisa, and his four children, two of whom, Rheanne and Justin, were also in attendance (Lisa, Jon, Rheanne and Justin in photo, right).
The chair was conferred by Dr. Addie J. Butler, chair emerita of the LTSP Board, along with President Philip D. W. Krey and Dean Sebastian.

A photo show from the event - click any image to go to the photo gallery:

A video of the ceremony and lecture:

Tribute to ‘Jack” White highlights memorial service for late, retired LTSP faculty member

At one point in her moving, sermonic memorial tribute to the late LTSP Professor Andrew J. “Jack” White, his former colleague, the Rev. Dr. Katie Day, acknowledged that some in the room may not have known White personally.

“But you know him if you are part of Mt. Airy because of the indelible mark he left on the community, on the fabric and character of this school and the neighborhoods here,” Day said.

The evening memorial service honoring White, who died last May 6 in Chambersburg, PA, where he lived with his second wife, Phyllis Ann, was delayed nearly a month because of Superstorm Sandy. But the remarks by Day, who described White to be her “earliest and closest colleague” when she first joined the LTSP faculty in 1985, were worth waiting for. In addition to the family, including his son, Jamie, and seminary community, the service was attended by those in the Mt. Airy community who had known White.

Day, the Charles A. Schieren Professor of Church and Society and Director of the seminary’s Metropolitan/Urban Program, began by saying how honored she was “to be invited to preach about a friend and colleague to so many of us for 30 years, and someone who was a neighbor for longer than that.” She said it was fitting that earlier in the day the Peter Paul and Elizabeth Hagan Endowed Chair White once held had been conferred upon faculty member Dr. Jon Pahl. She joked that, as a Presbyterian (pastor), having the memorial service and chairing on the same day was probably “predestined.”

“Jack was vibrant and effective in his relationship to students, and when he took over the role of supervising interns here he had to let go of some of his teaching responsibilities, and he was always gracious and supportive of me, a green, junior colleague,” Day said. “We have such vivid memories, including those of a beloved husband…with that beautiful white hair and sunny disposition -- always.”

She noted that the Scriptures for the evening (1 Corinthians 13: 8-13; James 3: 1, 13; and John 14:1-3, 25-28) “well reflect who Jack was.”…From James, … not everyone should  become a teacher because you will be judged harshly…Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in gentleness borne of wisdom.” She said White’s character demonstrated gentleness borne of wisdom.

Day read remarks from former seminary President Robert Hughes, who following ordination in 1962 decided to take a seminar class with White because he had grown tired of “lecture-style” classes in seminary. Seven students in the classes heard “mini-lectures” from White and then gave short papers on strategies they were using to engage their congregations. Hughes wrote about plans for an after-school drop-in center for teens awaiting a school bus at his congregation in Ashland, PA.

“Jack White was a mentor (later a colleague),” Hughes said. “He gave me a precious gift.” The center, an ecumenical model, worked when Hughes created and staffed it until the local school board adjusted the school bus schedule to be more accommodating for students. Hughes, who could not attend the memorial event, said White also was careful in his placement of seminarian interns.

Day noted that White’s “gentleness borne of wisdom was not limited to the campus. He served on community boards like East Mt. Airy Neighbors and Mt. Airy USA.” In a time when many adhered to the notion of separation of church and state, she said “that wasn’t Jack. He had no conflict in serving his political party and his neighbors.” She said after Jack left the campus the school had never returned to being a “monastic presence” but to this day maintains its public presence and theology.

Day turned to 1 Corinthians and passages on love. She said White’s retirement from the seminary was “graceful and definitive…I got a large chunk of his library and scrapbooks” as a demonstration of White’s love. “What endures? Love,” Day said. She recalled that when White and his first wife, Mimi, retired “they hit the road, volunteering from Texas to Bratislava even when her health declined…They focused on repairing the world. They demonstrated that what endures is love, not knowledge.”

Day acknowledged the love White and second wife, Phyllis Ann, found together after Mimi’s death. She referenced the writing of C.S. Lewis penned after the loss of his love, “I never knew grief felt so much like fear. It hits the core of your being. You fear how you will go on and fill the hole in your heart…”

She then turned to the passages from John, “Peace I leave with you…Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. In God’s house are many dwelling places…I go to prepare a place for you.”

She recalled West Side Story and its music, the scene of Tony’s dying and still singing, “There’s a place for us…” She noted the power of Puerto Rican teens affirming their hope that there is a place of acceptance and safety for them.

“Jesus in John had a bigger vision with the promise of God that there are many places for us,” Day said. “Jack had a concern for developing low-income, affordable housing…God promises safe, affordable housing for all of eternity. That gives us hope. Jack would like that…”

Presiding Minister for the service was seminary President Philip D. W. Krey. Assisting Ministers were Mary Hansen-Joyce and Daniel Purtell. Ushers were Timothy Hearn and Angel Marrero-Ayala. Sacristans were Colleen Montgomery and Kat Steinly. LTSP Director of Music Ministries Dr. Michael Krentz furnished the music.

From left, Preacher and LTSP Professor Katie Day
with family members Kathy Himmelreich, Phyllis Ann White,
Jack's son Jamie, and Jamie's spouse Laura.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Advent Vespers 2012 - Sunday, December 2

Advent Vespers 2012 - Come and Save Us

The annual Advent Vespers will be held Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm. The service is free and open to the public.

The service, lead by the choir of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) under the leadership of LTSP Director of Music Ministries and Seminary Cantor, is on the theme Come and Save Us, found in the Healy Willan settings of the O Antiphons, which the choir will be singing.

Join us for Advent Vespers at Grace Epiphany Episcopal Church, 224 East Gowen Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119, a short walk from the seminary. Parking is available on the seminary campus - see this page for links to directions to the seminary and campus parking information. Follow this link for a Google map with Grace Epiphany's location highlighted. Limited street parking is also available in the neighborhood near the church.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Memorial Service for Prof. Andrew "Jack" White set for November 27

A memorial service for The Rev. Dr. Andrew J. White, a service-minded activist who profoundly lived out his 30-year career of teaching practical theology at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), is rescheduled for Tuesday, November 27, 2012 in the Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel on the LTSP campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. The service begins at 6 pm, with LTSP professor Katie Day preaching, and a reception following. The public is invited to celebrate Dr. White’s many contributions to the community and the wider world, as well as to the seminary and church.

Emeritus Professor
"Jack" White on campus
in 2005
Dr. White died Sunday, May 6, 2012 in Chambersburg, PA, where he lived in retirement. He was 79. White, known to colleagues and friends as "Jack," retired from LTSP in 1997. He had held the Peter Paul and Elizabeth Hagan Professor Chair of Practical Theology for 14 years, and had served as secretary of the faculty for three years. From 1983 until his retirement, he was director of Contextual Education (field work) at the school, and directed the seminary's Graduate School (Advanced-Level Degree Programs) from 1991 until he retired. During his seminary career, White served four years (1978-82) as Executive Director of the Council for Lutheran Theological Education in the Northeast (CLTEN), which coupled the Philadelphia and Gettysburg seminaries with 11 regional synods and districts of two national Lutheran church bodies of that time, the Lutheran Church in America and the American Lutheran Church, predecessor bodies of the current Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). For many years, White also edited Parish Practice Notebook, a publication that sought to convey to alumni and other church leaders fresh ideas in connection with successful congregational ministry.

What especially distinguished White was how his teaching of theology was reflected in his lifestyle, engaging himself in a wide variety of community service endeavors. Such interests were evident early in his career. He served two congregations before becoming a professor - Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cicero, IN, and Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church in East Cleveland, OH. While in East Cleveland he also chaired that city's Human Relations Committee (1962-65).

"Jack White had remarkable energy and a real vision for where he thought the church should go," recalls the Rev. Dr. LeRoy Aden, a colleague of White's who retired as the Luther D. Reed Professor of Practical Theology after 27 years at the seminary. "Many of us on the faculty were teaching in more theoretical areas. Jack had a real focus on the practical side of ministry in the world, particularly social ministry and the urban church. He was not a traditional thinker, but was sometimes viewed as something of a vagabond. He could be really assertive. He was not much into the usual way of doing things."

Aden said even though Prof. White's late wife, Miriam Eileen Recker White, was not in the best of health during their retirement years at Luther Ridge Retirement Community in Chambersburg, they maintained active lives, traveling overseas as active supporters of global ministry in South Africa and Germany. The Whites spent a year in Slovakia in retirement while White taught at Bratislava Seminary there. In 1998, White was an international observer of the Parliamentary elections in Slovakia representing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Prof. White in 1997
Joining the LTSP faculty in 1967, White became vigorously active on the civic scene while a resident of Philadelphia's East Mount Airy neighborhood. He served on the Board of East Mount Airy Neighbors (EMAN) from 1968 to 1974 and from 1976 to 1979. He served four years on the Board of Philadelphia's Haverford Community Center (1968-72). From 1972 to 1978, White was on the Democratic Ward Executive Committee and was frequently its vice-chair. From 1971 to 1978, he was vice-chair of the Board for EMAN Group Homes, which served individuals with developmental delays, focusing on personnel and fundraising. Beginning in 1981, White served until 1997 as secretary for the Board of the Mt. Airy Village Development Corp. For 11 years White chaired the Board of Lutheran Retirement Homes (Paul's Run), a social ministry organization of the church located in Northeast Philadelphia (1977-1988).

He continued that vigorous service in retirement in Central Pennsylvania. White served as a member of the Ethics Committee and as an on-call chaplain for Chambersburg Hospital. He was vice-chair for the Board of Lutheran Home Care and Hospice in the area, and a tutor for the Harrisburg area's Scotland School for Veterans Children, originally founded to serve the children of Civil War veterans, which closed in 2009. He was a board member of the Auxiliary of Lutheran Social Services of South Central Pennsylvania and former president of the Franklin-Fulton Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

A 1954 Wittenberg University graduate, he earned his Master of Divinity in 1957 from Hamma School of Theology, a predecessor school for today's Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH. Trinity named him its distinguished alumnus in 1986. He earned his PhD from Case Western Reserve University in 1969, focusing his thesis on the areas of political science and community organization. He earned the Master of Theology from the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN.

In Philadelphia, the Whites belonged to Reformation Lutheran Church in East Mount Airy. He served on a committee assigned to call a pastor, as assistant scoutmaster, as a member of the congregation's finance committee, and its choir. For several years he served the Board of the Northwest Philadelphia Lutheran Parish, a collaborative organization of Lutheran congregations.

White was also involved in activities of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA. He served on a task force on Ministry of the Laity and on a committee evaluating chaplaincy services. National church activities included service on a commission to study the nature and mission of the congregation, and in 1990 inSouth Africa as a volunteer missionary.

After his wife died early last year, White remarried. His widow, Phyllis Ann Akers White, survives. Also surviving are four children, Mary Sue Burns of Marlinton, WVA; Daniel of Atlanta, GA; John of Houston, TX, and James of Huntingdon, PA; five grandchildren, Jesse and Jonathan Burns, Sara May, Shelby T. and Joanna M. White; and a sister, Dorothy Jean Robinson of Ormond Beach, FL. Two stepchildren survive: Kathryn Perbetzky of Philadelphia and George Akers of Gettysburg, PA.

A memorial service was also held May 10, at St. Luke Lutheran Church on the Luther Ridge Retirement Community campus, where White was a member. In lieu of flowers, gifts are invited for Lutheran Social Services of South Central Pennsylvania, 1050 Pennsylvania Avenue, York, PA 17404, or The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119.

(This event was rescheduled from October 30 due to Hurricane Sandy.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dr. Jon Pahl: Hagan Chair Ceremony November 27

Dr. Jon Pahl, Professor of History of Christianity and Director of MA Programs at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), is being awarded the Peter Paul and Elizabeth Hagan Chair at a special chairing ceremony on Tuesday, November 27, 2012. The ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 am in Benbow Hall, The Brossman Center, on the seminary campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. At the event, Dr. Pahl will present his inaugural lecture as Hagan Professor, which he has titled “Ending the Warfare between Business and Religion – Toward a New Social Gospel.” The ceremony and lecture are free and open to the public.

The Peter Paul and Elizabeth Hagan Chair is one of nine chaired professorships at LTSP that have been established to honor distinguished faculty, regardless of discipline. To be eligible to occupy one of these chairs, a teacher should have competed at least five years as full professor at the seminary. The Hagan Chair was established in 1952 to honor and remember seminary President Paul J. Hoh, who died on January 20, 1952. At the time of his death, his written wish was “I prefer that there be no memorial service and that there be no tablet, bronze or other material placed anywhere in my memory.” This explicit wish was respected by the Board of Directors, which at its meeting held on April 22, 1952, passed a resolution “humbly thanking God who gave him to us and to our Church.”

At the same meeting, the Hagan Professorship was established through the donation of an endowment by Dr. Peter Paul Hagan and his wife Elizabeth B. Hagan, who stated that “it be regarded as a memorial to Dr. Hoh and to his tremendous contribution toward the task of preparing better people for a better ministry for a better Church.”

Dr. Hagan was a Philadelphia carpet manufacturer and member of St John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Melrose Park. As a prominent and active Lutheran layperson, he served as vice-president of the seminary board, as a trustee of Tabor Home for Children in Doylestown, as treasurer of the Parish and Church School Board, and as a member of the Board of Pensions of the United Lutheran Church in America, a predecessor body to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, of which LTSP is one of eight seminaries. He was president of the Philadelphia Lutheran Inner Mission Society, and vice president of the Lutheran Laymen’s Movement for Stewardship. His gift to the Ministerium of Pennsylvania was Camp Hagan for girls at Shawnee-on-the-Delaware. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Muhlenberg College in 1945.

As part of his ongoing connections with our seminary, he inspected all buildings on the campus and led the campaign for a massive renovation in 1948, which cost (at that time) $200,000, one-fifth of which was contributed by Peter and Elizabeth Hagan. In honor of this generous act, the Gowen Mansion was renamed Hagan Hall. Dr. Hagan's death in 1959 was deeply mourned by a large host of family and well-wishers, including the seminary.

Dr. Jon Pahl joined the LTSP faculty after serving on the faculty of Valparaiso University. He  teaches classes at LTSP in American Religious History, Lutherans in America, Religion and Violence, Religion and Film, and many others, and has also served as Visiting Professor of Religion at Temple University, in Philadelphia, and as Visiting Professor of Religion at Princeton University. 

Dr. Pahl has published dozens of articles, essays, columns, and reviews; has appeared on media outlets from the BBC to ABC; and is author or editor of six books, most recently Shopping Malls and Other Sacred Spaces:  Putting God in Place (Wipf and Stock), and Empire of Sacrifice: The Religious Origins of American Violence (NYU). He has also appeared, along with his son, Justin, in the feature documentary film Malls R Us. He has enjoyed speaking with congregations and audiences from Ankara, Turkey to Anaheim, California.  He has lectured at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Princeton and Purdue, and many others venues from Singapore to Kampala to Jakarata to Sydney. 

As Director of MA Programs, Dr. Pahl oversees the academic work of students interested in a Master of Arts degree.  He has been instrumental in developing a new specialization in "public leadership," bridging theological education with secular professions, especially social work or business. 

You can read more about Dr. Pahl online at Ltsp.edu/people/jpahl.

(This event was rescheduled from October 30 due to Hurricane Sandy.)