Friday, September 14, 2012

Philadelphia and Gettysburg Seminaries Collaborate on Contextual and Clinical Education

Pennsylvania's two Lutheran seminaries are expanding their collaboration in the preparation and formation of church leaders. Announcements in early September at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (LTSG) and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) conveyed decisions by leaders of the two schools to jointly administer key aspects of their field education programs.

These additional dimensions of partnering build upon successful collaborative work and joint ventures, which have also included the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) in Columbia, South Carolina. The three Lutheran schools in the eastern United States organized and incorporated the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries (ECLS) fifteen years ago. Through the Cluster, the schools merged their electronic library catalogues, making available to students, professors, and other users the vast combined resource collections. The ECLS has also sponsored Project Connect, a vocational discernment and seminary recruitment effort aimed at college students, which has encouraged hundreds of young persons to consider ministry as they contemplate future occupations and life pathways.

Dr. Richard Carlson, Professor of Biblical Studies at LTSG, who already directs parish internship placement and oversight at Gettysburg, will assume the same work for LTSP students. Dr. Leonard Hummel, LTSG's Professor of Pastoral Theology, will coordinate Clinical Pastoral Education programs for both schools. Dr. Charles Leonard, who has conducted all aspects of field education at Philadelphia for fifteen years, will continue as LTSP's Director of Contextual Education. Leonard, who is a professor in the area of Practical Theology, specializing in urban ministry, will also expand his classroom teaching and mentoring of students preparing for pastoral service in congregations and other settings.

In a joint statement, the two seminaries' presidents, Philip Krey of Philadelphia and Michael Cooper-White of Gettysburg, shared their enthusiasm for this new shared faculty and administrative arrangement: "This is a very positive development for both schools' students. Bringing under one umbrella the vast network of congregations and clinical settings where our students are mentored in the pastoral arts and practical engagement expands their access to some of the churches' finest ministry practitioners. In our own era as seminarians, the two schools worked together in these areas. Renewing that proven pattern for today's students brings us a special measure of satisfaction. This approach may become a model for other seminaries seeking ways to enhance their students' formation and also realize cost-saving efficiencies that become more critical in these challenging times."

For more information, contact Merri Brown at Philadelphia or John Spangler at Gettysburg.

released September 13, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dr. David Grafton: The events at the US Missions in Libya and Egypt

LTSP Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations the Rev. Dr. David Grafton has posted this information on his seminary blog in reaction to the events at the US Missions in Libya and Egypt:

While there will continue to be a great deal of information forthcoming about the events that took place leading up to and following the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, American Muslim organizations have already begun issuing statements.

This pdf file with working links is a list of responses by American Muslim organizations and prominent American Muslim intellectuals, as well as a limited collection of statements by Libyan and Egyptian Muslim leaders.

Amercian Muslims were criticized after September 11, 2001 for not speaking out against terrorism.  While the criticism was unfounded in terms of responses by Muslim leaders around the world (See the CAIR's list of Muslim responses to 9/11, as well as Charles Kurzman's list of Muslim leaders around the world), American Muslim communities were slow to respond in 2001. This was primarily because the American Muslim community is extremely diverse with communal organizations that, at that point, had very few officially deputized spokespersons. Those larger America Muslim organizations were certainly not able or equipped to navigate dominant cultural media avenues.

In response to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt on September 11, 2012, however, American Muslim organizations reacted very quickly, both in response to the attacks and protests, as well as the film on Muhammad that has sparked the initial controversy.

Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, there was a rise in hate crimes against people of Middle Eastern descent in the U.S.,including Middle Eastern Christians and the Indian Sikh community, and American Muslims. Given the shootings at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin in July of this year, the likelihood of further violence directed against ethnic and religious minoritiy groups is very real.

It remains to be seen whether the initial responses of these American Muslims will be recognized by the U.S. media.