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:

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