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