Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Christmas Message

LTSP Christmas 2013
And the Word became flesh and lived among us,           
and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son,

full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Dear Friends,
All of us at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia greet you at Christmas with the good news that because the Word became flesh you are also God's child.
A Blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with the assurance of God's love,

President Philip Krey  

Philip Krey 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

PS Portions: A Taste of Seminary Happenings, December 2013

PS Portions

A Taste of Seminary Happenings

December 2013

From President Phil Krey 
Celebrating a Good Year in God's Grace

As the calendar year draws to a close, a new church year begins as we prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the seminary we have been celebrating a good year in God's grace. 
     On Saturday, December 7, the evening and weekend students had a great covered dish luncheon filled with good cheer. We had a lovely Advent Vespers and reception Sunday, December 8, even though we missed many of our friends because, as a seasonal song suggests, "the weather outside was frightful." On December 20 the whole campus will gather in fun and fellowship around good food. 
     We ask God's blessings upon you in this season of Advent as we await God's grace in the gift of God's son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Read more from President Krey...
Brossman Learning Center conference room dedicated in honor of Dr. Addie J. Butler

Dr. Addie ButlerDr. Addie J. Butler hopes that the dedication in her honor of a conference room at the seminary will inspire students to lead significant lives of service in the church. 
      "When they think of me, I hope they will think of what is possible in their lives as disciples of Jesus," said Butler, described by seminary President Philip D.W. Krey as "a long-time great friend and donor to LTSP." The room, 217, the conference room across the hall from the Kaufmann Enrollment Services offices in The Brossman Learning Center, was dedicated Saturday, December 14 with a celebration in Butler's honor. Learn more about Dr. Butler...
Timothy Wengert's final word: A pep talk from Luther for today's Church

Prof. Timothy WengertPerhaps New Jersey Pastor and LTSP alumnus Kent Klophaus said it best after hearing Professor Timothy Wengert's pre-retirement farewell remarks, a reflection for today's church on Reformer Martin Luther's most popular tract, The Freedom of a Christian. "That was a pep talk for the church's rostered leaders,"Klophaus said, "a chance to regroup and get regrounded."
      Hundreds of alumni and friends constituting an overflow audience crammed the Schaeffer-Ashmead Memorial Chapel and paid tribute to Wengert before and after his remarks with lengthy applause. Read the story, watch the video and see photos from the day...

LTSP Hits the Road!

Pr. Greg Brown and LTSP's Tom HendersonThanks to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America grant initiative "Stewards of Abundance," a visiting team from LTSP, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, traveled to Rochester, New York, for a weekend with prospective students and congregations.
     Twenty nine people, including visit team members, local clergy hosts, inquiring students, attended the Saturday prospective student dinner. On Sunday morning, local pastors coordinated travel for the Philadelphia team to visit six area congregations for "Seminary Sunday."
     Thanks to the generosity of the ELCA and the Lilly Endowment Inc., five more "Seminary Blitz" weekends are being planned in 2014. Learn more about the New York adventure, and coming road trips...

Other December items of interest:

Register early for Rest, Refreshment and Renewal
April 12, 2014
The Thread That Binds
The Thread that Binds: 150 Years of Woman in Ministry is the theme. Registration makes a perfect gift for
the women in your life


LTSP Spring Christian Education Seminars start in January
Spring Seminars in Christian Education

Come test the waters:
Wet Toes Weekend
A Front-page Prayer 
The New York Times front page on December 2 featured a photo of New York City Fire Chaplain and LTSP DMin student Stephen Harding praying over a victim of the Metro-North commuter train derailment. Click for details and a link to the photo on the NY Times website.
A heartwarming letter of gratitude 
from Sister Mindy Welding of Chestnut Hill College highly praised LTSP's hospitality in hosting this year's Interfaith Hospitality Network Empty Bowl Dinner.

LTSP celebrated the season with two weekend events, the Annual Tree Lighting on December 6 and 
the Annual Advent Vespers on December 8. 
Inclement weather couldn't stop either event

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries Receives Lilly Endowment Grant to Improve the Economic Well-Being of Future Ministers

The Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries is pleased to announce that it has received another major grant from the Lilly Endowment. In response to the Cluster’s proposal, The Abundant Life: Seminaries Address the Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers, the Endowment awarded a grant of $750,000, to be utilized over a three-year period. The Cluster, which is an incorporated entity of two Pennsylvania seminaries (Gettysburg and Philadelphia) and a South Carolina school of theology (Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University), has garnered previous Lilly Endowment grants for its successful Project Connect vocations outreach project. Additional grants to the Cluster from the Luce, Teagle and Thrivent Financial foundations bring total receipts from external sources to over $6 million.

An overarching component of The Abundant Life endeavor will be research to determine the overall impact on Lutheran ministers of beginning their careers with a heavy load of debt accrued during undergraduate and theological studies. While previous studies have determined that a new minister can realistically support loan payments on educational debt in the realm of $30,000, many graduate from seminary with two or three times that amount. Through survey instruments and personal interviews with all graduates of the past five years, as well as members of congregations they serve, the Cluster’s leaders will learn the full extent of the impact caused by high levels of educational debt.

Five experimental initiatives envisioned at the three schools will help reduce costs of theological education. All three schools will strengthen courses in stewardship and expand financial coaching so that every student has access to personal counseling in managing money, minimizing expenses, and becoming stronger leaders in congregational stewardship. Each school will use a portion of the grant to revise and streamline the educational process; for many students, the time required to complete a Master of Divinity may be shortened by a semester or more, thereby reducing the overall cost of preparing to serve as an ordained minister. The schools will also develop new grant-supported fundraising efforts to build their scholarship pools and offer greater financial aid to students with need. Philadelphia will pioneer a Flexible, Affordable, Relevant (FAR) curricular approach; at Gettysburg, many students will shorten their time in seminary through a competencies-based approach in which they can meet requirements on the basis of prior educational or vocational credentials; Southern Seminary will pilot test an “articulation” agreement with Lenoir-Rhyne University through which some students may substantially shorten their total years spent in undergraduate and theological education.

Each school will have a site director for its distinctive endeavors and to work collegially in the Cluster-wide research project. Overall direction of The Abundant Life project will be by the Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey, current Executive Director of the Eastern Cluster and president at Philadelphia. Speaking of the excitement at all three campuses upon receiving notification of the Lilly Endowment award, Krey said, “We are again thrilled that the Lilly Endowment recognizes the excellence in which the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries collaborates in imaginative ways to improve theological education for leaders of congregations. We are so proud of all who worked so tirelessly together at the three schools for this successful proposal and are even more thankful for the confidence that the Lilly Endowment has afforded us. We are already hard at work to make this grant another banner Eastern Cluster program.”

About the Eastern Cluster

The Cluster is an incorporated entity of two Pennsylvania seminaries (Gettysburg and Philadelphia) and a South Carolina school of theology (Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of Lenoir-Rhyne University). Through the Cluster, the three schools field common programs, coordinate academic offerings (including a Doctor of Ministry degree, preparation for Diaconal Ministers, and a common library system) and share faculty and administrative resources. In the course of its 15-year history,y it has garnered previous Lilly Endowment grants for its successful Project Connect vocations outreach project. Additional grants to the Cluster from the Luce, Teagle and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans foundations bring total receipts from external sources to over $6 million.

About the Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family — J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli — through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grantmaking is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.  More information can be found at

Monday, December 16, 2013

PS Portions December coming soon!

The latest PS Portions is coming, with reports on recent seminary events, honoring past Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Addie Butler, and. more.

You'll find it here and in your email. Look for it this week!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Christ is Coming Soon! The Annual Advent Vespers Dec 8

Advent Vespers 2013 - Christ is coming soon!

The annual Advent Vespers will be held Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm. The service is free and open to the public.

The Service of Evening Prayer will feature beautiful candle light and music for choir and assembly from across the globe and from many centuries. The choir will sing “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come,” written by a leading North American Lutheran, Paul Manz, and first published in 1954. This beautiful motet provides the theme for this year’s vespers, “Christ Is Coming Soon!”

Other pieces for choir and assembly include an anonymous 9th century Latin hymn; Advent music from Korea, 16th century Germany, 18th and 20th century England, and 20th century North America; several Spirituals; and a setting of the Magnificat by Joseph Barnby (1838 – 1896).

Advent Vespers is led by the seminary choir under the direction of Dr. Michael Krentz, LTSP Director of Music Ministries and Seminary Cantor.

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 (opens a new browser window) for a Google map with Grace Epiphany's location highlighted. Limited street parking is also available in the neighborhood near the church.

Download a poster (pdf) and share this event with others.

Annual Tree Lighting Dec 6 on William Allen Plaza

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

Friday, December 6, 2013, 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 6 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, Rattles, Bibs, Baby Wipes, Lotions, Shampoo, Brushes, Soft Toys, Stuffed Animals, Bath Toys, Socks, Hats, T-Shirts, Sleepers
  • Age 2-3 (Boy or Girl) Dolls, Beanie Babies, Boats, Cars, Books, Little People, Lego Set, Bath Toys, Socks, Mittens, Caps, T-Shirts, Educational Aid Toys
  • Age 4-7 (Girl) Ink Pads, Stamps, Crayons, Clay, Lego Sets, Jump Ropes, Jacks, Stickers, Hats, Gloves, Beanie Babies, Doll Clothes, Scrunchies, Barrettes
  • Age 4-7 (Boy) Fun Pad, DVDs, Crayons, Coloring Books, Hand-Held Games, Puzzles, Lego Sets, Action Figures, Baseball Cards
  • Age 8-10 (Girl) School Supplies, DVDs, Puzzles, Books, Scarves, Hats, Gloves, Jewelry, Stuffed Animals, Barbie Dolls, Clothes, Paint Set, Markers, Colored Pencils, Legos
  • Age 8-10 (Boy) School Supplies, Hand-Held Electronic Games, Hats, Gloves, Airplane Kits, Action Figures, Puzzles, Dominoes, Nerf Footballs, Legos
  • Age 11+ (Girl) DVDs, CDs, Radios, Books, Card Games, Fast Food Certificates, School Supplies, Calculators, Brushes, Combs, Soap, Lotions, MP3 Players
  • Age 11+ (Boy) DVDs, CDs, Electronic Games, Calculators, Books, Card Games, Fast Food Certificates, School Supplies, Baseball Caps and Gloves, MP3 Players

Counting Our Blessings

Dear Friends:

President Philip Krey
If you are like me, you have many blessings for which to thank God this day - maybe more than you can count. This is a wonderful time to give thanks for all God has done for us at LTSP.

I'm giving thanks for all the faithful years of service by Professors Timothy Wengert and Robin Mattison, whose distinguished years of service are coming to a close in 2013. I'm thankful for the wonderful relationships we have with our supporting synods of Region 7 and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, especially the candidacy committees through Pastor Peggy Wuertele. I'm giving thanks for our dedicated alumni who serve all around the region, the nation, and the world. I'm thankful for our friends and donors who support us in prayer and financial support, and our boards, faculty, and staff who all help to prepare amazing students to be public leaders for the church and the world.

I thank God as we at the seminary are having a good and blessed year, and we thank you for being part of it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Philip Krey   
Philip Krey
President, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

P.S. We invite you to join us to celebrate and give thanks for our community at the Annual Tree Lighting on William Allen Plaza, Friday, December 6 at 6 pm. Come for caroling, fellowship, and the lighting ceremony, and bring a toy - or several - for a child in need. More information is at

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

LTSP's Ministry and Mission: Considerations this #Giving Tuesday

This #Giving Tuesday, please consider a gift to help lighten the debt burden of seminary education for our students.

Consider the thoughts of this year's Soli Deo Gloria Award recipients, seminary donors Helga and Reinhard Schwartz:

"Our parents stressed four priorities, and these were very important in our lives: Education, a Christian faith, caring for the sick, and hard work. We feel a donation to the Lutheran Seminary [at] Philadelphia is most appropriate ... We are happy to be able to do this, thanks to the gifts which were bestowed upon us by the Grace of God."

Pr. Tricia Neale (image from Consider how seminary graduates apply their education to carry out ministry in the world. Graduates like the Rev. Tricia Neale (MDiv 2007), whose ministry The Philadelphia Inquirer recognized with a front page story in its Thanksgiving edition - read it here.

Consider how LTSP seminarians and seminary graduates touch your life and the lives of those around you. Consider how you can help by making a gift on #Giving Tuesday. Share this, along with your story, with your friends by clicking on the sharing icons at the top of this email, and the Share this Message link below. Be sure to share your story, too, at

Thank you, and blessings in this Advent season.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Timothy Wengert’s final word: A pep talk from Luther for today’s Church

(go to for recordings,
photos of the day and a copy of this report)

Professor Timothy Wengert Perhaps New Jersey Pastor and LTSP alumnus Kent Klophaus said it best after hearing Professor Timothy Wengert’s pre-retirement farewell remarks, a reflection for today’s church on Reformer Martin Luther’s most popular tract, The Freedom of a Christian, delivered to a full audience of past and current students, colleagues and community at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) on November 19, 2013.

“That was a pep talk for the church’s rostered leaders,”Klophaus said, “a chance to regroup and get reground.”

Wengert, the Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor for Reformation History at the seminary, began by saying, “So it comes down to this: twenty four and a half years of teaching, 35 years since entering graduate school and 29 since completing my PhD, 36 since ordination, 40 years since I married my first wife, eight and one-half years happily married to my dearest Ingrid, 34 and 30 years, respectively, since the births of my children ,and less than a month from the birth of my twin granddaughters. What a remarkable run! Without the prayers and support of many of the people in this room, that is, without God’s mercy, I could not have made it to this day.

“How does one end this phase of one’s calling to the church and begin anew?” Wengert continued. “In my case by going back to the beginning, to a tract of Luther’s to examine, as he put it, ‘What does Luther mean by freedom?’” Wengert explained he has been going through “Freedom of a Christian” meticulously, word-for word, as the editor of the first volume of Augsburg Fortress’s new six-volume collection of Luther’s works, The Essential Luther. He noted he had not begun to fully comprehend what Luther was saying in the tract until he went to translate it on his own and added that Luther intended to have the tract, published in October 1520, be his “last word” as he – excommunicated by the Pope – began to prepare to meet his doom in anticipating to appear as an accused heretic before the imperial parliament that was to meet in Worms in April 1521.

Hundreds of alumni and friends constituting an overflow audience crammed the Schaeffer-Ashmead Memorial Chapel and paid tribute to Wengert before and after his remarks with lengthy applause. “No matter how long your applause lasts my remarks will not be any shorter,” he quipped at the outset. No summary will do justice to Wengert’s carefully crafted 30-pages of remarks. Here are but a few highlights.
  • Wengert cited the paradoxical sentences of Luther’s in the tract, “The Christian individual is a completely free lord of all, subject to none. The Christian individual is a completely dutiful slave to all, subject to all.” He went on to discuss the freedom of faith and then talked about works of love.
  • Luther’s primary audience consisted of working pastors of the church of his day.
  • Freedom of a Christian should be read once you are in the trenches, slogging through the mud,”Wengert said. The freedom message of the tract implies a rejection of the definition of priest or cleric in Luther’s day “or frankly our own.” Such leaders, Luther noted, are called to be “serving others with the ministry of the Word in order to teach the faith of Christ and the freedom of the faithful.”  Luther upends the power politics that wounded the church of his time and ours, Wengert said. “Think of those who dream of the pastor as CEO or spiritual guru or ultimate fixer of everything wrong with our congregation, community or world. What an irony! The very ones who are free in Christ to serve the neighbor and who are entrusted with sharing this good news with others are the ones who would be anything but servant.” As a result of this perversity, Luther noted in his writing, “the knowledge of Christian grace, faith, freedom and Christ has perished entirely, only to be replaced by an intolerable captivity to human works and laws.”
  • On preaching, Wengert noted the kinds of practices Luther goes after: “Story-telling – that condemns Christ to the detritus of history and makes him simply an example, a law, of how to live our lives; self-centeredness – whether relying on human authorities and stories to give us preaching clout or, something Luther could not imagine but is so common today, talking about ourselves and our spiritual journeys; emotional manipulation – which is the sum and substance of most of what passes as preaching on the airways and in the “purpose-driven” McChurches of our day.” Preaching in a nutshell, according to Luther, promotes faith in Christ, and not simply Christ, but “Christ for you and me,” Luther wrote in the tract. The fruits of such preaching teach that “the presence of Christ’s righteousness swallows up every sin…So the heart learns with the Apostle to scoff at death and sin and to say, ‘Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. For death is swallowed up in victory – not only Christ’s but ours – because through faith it becomes our victory and is in us and we are conquerers.”  “If you have any cross-stitchers in your congregations, get them to cross-stitch that, I don’t know, on your underwear. Or, if there are any tattoo artists, ink it where the sun shines,” Wengert said.
  • An aside: “I am sick and tired of Lutherans and others who complain that Lutherans do not do good works, even blaming the grace and mercy of God for it. Our little cadre of Lutherans has built the largest private social service network in the country – not the wealthier or larger denominations which are so addicted to talking about works. Moreover, the teaching of Christian vocation in the world means that we can measure good works by how many diapers are changed and how much manure is hauled, not by all the foolishness that passes for good works in our churches today. And then, in a particularly silly book about the third use of the law, some masquerade their legalism under a concern for morality, accusing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America of abandoning Biblical sexual ethics for – I don’t know what – wild orgies, I suppose, when in fact our social statement on sexuality identifies the true culprits: not homosexuals in life-long committed relationships but the commodification of sexuality and its coercive use inside and outside of marriage.”
  • On good works, citing Luther, Wengert remarked: “If works are coupled with righteousness…and you presume to be justified through them, then they become absolutely compulsory and extinguish freedom along with faith. By this kind of linkage such works are no longer good but instead truly damnable. For they are not free, and they blaspheme against the grace of God, to whom alone belongs justification and salvation through faith.”
  • On the Roman Catholic Church: “When I started working on this talk there was a different bishop in Rome. I have more hope for our churches than ever before. One can only hope Pope Francis survives given how many risks he takes. I wish I could sneak a copy of Freedom of a Christian onto his nightstand in the Vatican, so that he might read and believe. Finally, once again, the spirit of the Vatican II Council, which held 500 years ago would have drawn the Roman Church back to Luther’s proclamation and theology, blows through the churches of our separated brothers and sisters.”
  • On the tract itself: “What is so remarkable is not only the appendix or the chief intended audience but its content. Like the Augsburg Confession, here is an early Lutheran document shorn of almost all polemic and name-calling, sent with a brilliant cover letter to Pope Leo X, and filled, nay, rather, bursting at the seams with the universal, law-free gospel of God’s mercy and therefore justification by grace through faith on account of Christ alone.”
  • Prof. Wengert with current and former studentsOn faith, Wengert first cited a sentence from Luther: “Many people view the Christian faith as something easy, and quite a few people even count it as if it were related to the virtues. They do this because they have not judged faith in light of any experience, nor have they ever tasted its great power.” Wengert went on to note: “Here we are in the middle of a country obsessed – from the most liberal theologian to the most conservative, from Roman Catholic to Methodist to Mennonite and beyond – to the freedom of the will and the notion that faith is a human decision or commitment that we bring to the religious table to set the gears of God’s grace in motion. Such an approach to faith is not freedom but the worst kind of bondage – leaving people stuck wondering whether they have done enough, decided enough or gotten serious enough about God. Well, how are you doing? Faith is not an Aristotelian virtue cooked up by the soul. No, Luther insists, it is an experience. It is what happens when water and the Word hit that infant’s or adult’s head, when the wine and bread strike their tongue while the words ‘for you’ ring in their ears, or when, as in the case of my mother, standing at a trolley stop in Milwaukee, Pastor Beiderwieden’s words suddenly penetrate your heart and you are left in tears: ‘He died for me.’ Yes, Janet, her pastor replied, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
  • Quoting Luther: “You may be asking, however, how it comes about that faith alone justifies and how it confers so many treasures without works, given that so many works, ceremonies and laws are prescribed in the Scriptures. I answer this way. Before all else, remember what has been said above, namely, that faith alone without works justifies, frees and saves…The entire Scripture of God is divided into two parts: commands and promises. Commands, to be sure, teach what is good, but what is taught is not thereby done. For the commands show what we ought to do but do not give the power to do it. They were instead established for this: so that they may reveal individuals to themselves. Through the commands they know their inability to do good, and they despair of their own powers…Believe in Christ, in whom grace, righteousness, peace, freedom and all things are promised to you. If you believe, you will have these things. If you do not believe, you will lack them. God alone commands and God alone fulfills.”
  • On works using a personal illustration:  “We don’t have to earn anything; we don’t have to worry about whether we please God or not. After all, we do not please God except in Christ, who makes us kings and priests and gives us what we are not. Suddenly, with the burden of works and living up to God’s expectations lifted, we have all this time on our hands. It’s like, I don’t know, retiring early and being free to edit a Dictionary of Luther and the Luther Traditions, volume one of the six-volume Essential Luther, help the Metropolitan Museum of Art prepare an exhibition on the Reformation, help the Kessler Collection at Emory with the same thing, write an intellectual biography of Melanchthon. The Christian life, you see, is really like retirement: waking up each morning and saying to yourself: “What am I going to do now that I don’t have to do anything.”
  • In summary Wengert noted concluding words by Luther in the tract: “Therefore, we conclude that Christian individuals do not live in themselves but in Christ and their neighbor, or else they are not Christian. They live in Christ through faith and in the neighbor through love. Through faith they are caught up beyond themselves into the neighbor – remaining nevertheless always in God and God’s love.”
Wengert was introduced by the Rev. Dr. John Hoffmeyer, associate professor of systematic theology at the seminary. Hoffmeyer paid tribute to Wengert as an internationally foremost scholar of Philip Melanchthon, Luther’s close Reformation era colleague; as a leader of the task force leading to the approval of a Evangelical Lutheran Church in America church-wide social statement on Human Sexuality (2009); and as a “teacher of the church” from whom many students learned for the first time in seminary that “God loves them unconditionally.” Hoffmeyer said that in his travels across the church “no classroom teacher’s name comes up as often as does Tim Wengert’s.”

The Rev. Ingrid Wengert and Prof. Wengert presenting their gift to the library.At the conclusion of his remarks, Wengert announced a gift for the seminary. He had discovered in his collection of books an old volume that was bound using scrap paper that contained a copy of the 1542 Luther Small Catechism. He had the scrap pieces exquisitely framed for the seminary’s Krauth Memorial Library collection, and with his wife the Rev. Ingrid Wengert presented the framed gift to Dr. Karl Krueger, director of the library.

The Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert is the Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Church History at LTSP, teaching primarily in the fields of Reformation history and the Lutheran Confessions, and will be retiring at the end of 2013. A parish pastor for over seven years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, he received his doctorate from Duke University in 1984 and joined Philadelphia's faculty in 1989. Read more on Dr. Wengert's biography page.

- article written by seminary writer Mark Staples

(go to for recordings,
photos of the day and a copy of this report)

Friday, November 15, 2013

PS Portions November 2013: A Taste of Seminary Happenings

From President Phil Krey

We have many exciting developments featured in this issue of PS Portions. Take a look...

  • Don't forget to honor our retiring Professor Timothy Wengert as he delivers his farewell lecture on November 19. For those of you too distant to attend, the remarks will be streamed live from our website at
  • Advent Vespers are right around the corner. At a special reception, we will be honoring Drs. Helga and Reinhard Schwartz with our Soli Deo Gloria Award. 
  • Please don't forget to mark your calendar, if you have not already done so, for our gala 150th anniversary celebration on Thursday, October 16, 2014.

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
Lutheran Seminary receives $100,000 grant to underwrite new cooperative education initiative

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation funding aims to make theological education "more sustainable" for students, congregations, and the church, and has awarded a $100,000 grant to LTSP to underwrite a new theological education model entitled the Cooperative Master of Divinity. 

"We are delighted to assist LTSP through this grant," said Richard Kleven, vice president of the Thrivent Foundation. "We trust that this support will strengthen the initiative to those it serves." 

The grant is part of the foundation's Lutheran Grant Program, designed to assist Lutheran organizations and those they serve in achieving economic security and sustainability. In 2012, the program distributed more than $2 million in grants. Learn more about the initiative and its impact on the church, today and in the future...
The Rev. Dr. Andrew Willis
The Rev. Dr. Andrew Willis Celebrated

The Rev. Dr. Andrew Willis, LTSP trustee and co-founder of the seminary's 33-year old Urban Theological Institute (UTI), celebrated his elevation to the office of Auxiliary Bishop with the Commonwealth Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) in a festive banquet with family and friends on September 27, 2013. Joining Dr. Willis at the festivities was an impressive roster of distinguished COGIC-LTSP comrades. Learn more about the celebration...

The Rev. Martha KriebelFirst woman to receive an LTSP degree, Martha Kriebel remains a vigorous pastor at 78 and grateful for her seminary years

In 1965,the Rev. Martha Bean Kriebel became the first woman to earn a degree from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) - a Master of Sacred Theology. She had been ordained a United Church of Christ (UCC) pastor in 1959 and at the time was serving a Schwenkfelder congregation in Palm, Montgomery County, thanks to an agreement involving the UCC Synod and special vote of the congregation in the farming locale. Read Pr. Kriebel's story...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dr. Timothy Wengert's final public lecture at LTSP: Tuesday, November 19

Save the date for Professor Wengert's final public lecture at LTSP!

The Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Wengert
We know many of you - our alumni, friends, and colleagues - will want to be present for Professor Timothy Wengert's final public lecture at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), offered as a gift to his students of the past quarter century. The lecture, titled "The Final Word: Martin Luther's Freedom of a Christian for Today's Church," will be presented in the Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel on the LTSP campus on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 11:30 am. More information coming soon, including registration details. While you'll want to be there in person, the lecture will also be live streamed and recorded for those who are not able to come to Philadelphia.

Overflow seating is available - click here to register. The lecture will be live streamed and recorded - go to for more information.

In his lecture, Dr. Wengert will address Martin Luther's famous tract, The Freedom of a Christian from 1520, which provides one of the most succinct summaries of Luther's theology. In the course of editing this work for publication in Augsburg Fortress's The Essential Luther project, Prof. Wengert has discovered new insights into Luther's approach to public ministry - insights that can also assist ministry in today's church.

Dr. Wengert is the Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Church History at LTSP, teaching primarily in the fields of Reformation history and the Lutheran Confessions. A parish pastor for over seven years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, he received his doctorate from Duke University in 1984 and joined Philadelphia's faculty in 1989. Read more on Dr. Wengert's biography page.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Former faculty member the Rev. Dr. Robert Kysar has died

Prof. William Kysar

The Rev. Dr. Robert Dean Kysar, age 79, of Flowery Branch, Georgia, died on Thursday, October 31, at Sunrise Assisted Living in John's Creek, Georgia. An ordained Lutheran minister and a renowned theological scholar, he served several churches and taught at many universities and seminaries. Kysar taught New Testament and Homiletics at both The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg during the 1980s, and taught full time at LTSP during the early 1990s before becoming the Bandy Professor of New Testament and Homiletics at Emory University's Candler School of Theology. After teaching there five years, he retired to life as a busy writer, including serving the church by writing several study guides for local congregations.

Along with other congregations, he served as co-pastor with his wife the Rev. Dr. Myrna Kysar at Christ United Lutheran Church, Gordon, Pennsylvania, and at Upper Dublin Lutheran Church in Ambler, Pennsylvania.

He published twenty-one books and over fifty academic articles. A champion of human rights, he registered African-American voters in Alabama in the 1960s. Later, he protested the Vietnam War and was active in the DFL party in Minnesota. He defended women's rights, promoted non-sexist language in scholarly and every day usage, and supported gay and lesbian equality. Dr. Kysar was known for his sense of humor, his friendly personality, and his forward-thinking vision. 

He is survived by his wife of forty years, Myrna Kysar; daughters Kathryn Kysar and Karen Kysar; and grandchildren Cole, Ada, Kael, and Aedan. A celebration of life will be held at Cross of Life Lutheran Church, 1000 Hembree Road, Roswell, Georgia, 30076, on Friday, November 8, at 7:00 pm. Another celebration will be held in Pennsylvania at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Alzheimer's Association, Lutheran World Relief, or Habitat for Humanity. Condolences can be expressed at under "Obituaries."

Additional information sources include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( and

Thursday, October 17, 2013

PS Portions October 2013: A Taste of Seminary Happenings

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PS Portions

A Taste of Seminary Happenings

October 2013

From President Phil Krey
A Life Worth Celebrating... and more

This month the seminary celebrated the life of friend and colleague Lois La Croix, who lost a lengthy battle with cancer in September. Lois was my executive assistant for many of the more than 20 years she served the seminary, and worked with former President Robert Hughes in the same capacity. The seminary held a memorial service October 16 with Dr. Hughes preaching. Lois is continuing to serve the seminary through the Staff Assistance Fund she helped establish. We also introduce you to the Philanthropy Team and their work, celebrate the Urban Theological Institute and the UTI's connections in Philadelphia, and celebrate the legacy of LTSP's O. Fred Nolde. Read more...

Connecting: LTSP's Office for Philanthropy
The LTSP Office for Philanthropy team
LTSP's Office for Philanthropy is not only an important connection to the seminary's graduates and donors - it has a larger role in connecting to current and future students, congregations and the church and community. Learn more about what the Office for Philanthropy does and meet the Philanthropy team...

Stewards of Abundance: Bringing the seminary to the region
Pastors at LTSP planning events in their areas
Thanks to a grant from the ELCA, funded by the Lilly Endowment, LTSP will be reaching out to make the case for theological education, assist in the discernment of prospective students, and raise awareness in congregations of the increasing need to offer scholarship assistance to seminary students. Learn more about Stewards of Abundance and see some of the parish pastors who came to LTSP to plan programs in their areas.
The Rev. Dr. DeForest 'Buster' Soaries challenges the Black Church
Dr. Buster Soaries Preaching
The Rev. Dr. DeForest "Buster" Soaries, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, was the lecturer and preacher at the annual lecture and Worship Celebration marking the 33rd anniversary of the founding of the seminary's Urban Theological Institute (UTI). His lecture and sermon both addressed the need for a new black church response to the crisis of reckless personal spending habits he recognized early in his call to First Baptist. Read about the 'Lecture and Sermon, view event pictures and videos from the day.

Nolde 2013 Lecture: The 'heyday' of Protestant Ecumenicals and O. Frederick Nolde
Dr. David Little
Professor and long time peace activist Dr. David Little brought a special message to the audience of the third Nolde Lecture on October 1: a review of the history of the 1940s, 1950s and1960s when the Protestant Evangelical church, including LTSP Professor O. Frederick Nolde, was engaged in movements for world peace and human rights. Dr. Little was joined by student participants in the Nolde Seminar, who reflected on their experiences. Learn more about the lecture and view video and photos from the day.

Professor Erik Heen on the nature of sin in misuse of the Bible
Prof. Erik Heen
"I think it really is pretty easy to misuse the Bible." So begins a point that LTSP's John H. P. Reumann Chair in Biblical Studies, Dr. Erik Heen, made during a wider interview with Professor Heen that will be part of the 150th anniversary website. In this excerpt, Dr. Heen,  a leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith initiative, discusses how we, who he reminds the reader, are "not 80 per cent sinful, not 75 per cent sinful or two per cent sinful. We are 100 per cent sinful..." engage with the Bible. Read the interview here...

LTSP alumna Ruth Miller recalls her 20+ year journey to an MAR
Ruth Miller
She took her first course in Old Testament with Professor Robert Bornemann in 1977 “because my pastor told me to come to seminary,” and that course started Ruth Miller (MAR 2008) on a decades long path that saw her serving the church in a number of ways - and eventually leading to commencement!  Read about her story of study and service here...
Dr. Timothy Wengert's Final Public Lecture 
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 
"The Final Word: Martin Luther's Freedom of a Christian for Today's Church"
Gifted to Grow
LTSP Vice President for Mission Advancement the Rev. Louise Johnson was one of the keynoter's at the Rocky Mountain Synod "Gifted to Grow" event. Learn more...

Save the date! Thursday, October 16, 2014! Celebrate the 150th anniversary of LTSP!