Commencement 2013

The 149th Commencement

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

click a photo in the slide show to view the Commencement Photo Gallery
go to the Class of 2013 page to view individual graduates 

The 149th CommencementThe 149th Commencement of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia was held Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

Eighty five degrees and certificates were awarded, including the honorary Doctor of Divinity to the Rev. William G. Rusch, DPhil. The commencement address was presented by the Rev. Carol Howard Merritt, award-winning author of Tribal Church (Alban 2007) and Reframing Hope (Alban 2010). Class  of 2013 co-presidents Alina Gayeuski and Timothy Ness presented the Class Address.

Watch the Commencement Address by the Rev. Carol Howard Merritt:

Read an excerpt from the address, "Cooking from scratch," on the Tribal Church blog

Watch the awarding of the Honorary Doctor of Divinity and Address by the Rev. William G. Rusch, DPhil:

Watch the Class of 2013 Address by co-presidents Alina Gayeuski and Timothy Ness:


About the commencement speaker:

After being raised as a conservative Baptist and attending a fundamentalist Bible college, Carol Howard Merritt attended Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She has been a pastor for 13 years, serving growing Presbyterian churches in the swamps of Cajun Louisiana, a bayside village in Rhode Island, and in an urban neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where she served as pastor at Western Presbyterian Church.

Merritt is the award-winning author of Tribal Church (Alban 2007) and Reframing Hope (Alban 2010). She has contributed to numerous books, websites, magazines, and journals. Her blog,, is hosted by The Christian Century. Merritt also blogs regularly at Huffington Post, Augsburg Fortress’s The Hardest Question, and Duke Divinity School’s Faith and Leadership sites. Merritt lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as a full-time writer and speaker. You can follow her on Twitter @CarolHoward or Facebook.

About the Honorary Doctor of Divinity recipient:

William G. Rusch was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1937. He earned his Master of Divinity at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) in 1963. Post graduate work at Oxford University in England resulted in a DPhilOxon in 1965.

He was ordained by the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) in 1966, and served as associate pastor at Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, New York. He then served on the faculty at Augsburg College, after which he accepted the call to serve as associate executive director of the Division of Theological Studies of the Lutheran Council in the USA from 1971 to 1978. He served as the director for ecumenical relations in the LCA’s Division on World Mission and Evangelism, as executive director of the Office for Ecumenical Affairs in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and as executive director of the National Council of Churches Commission on Faith and Order. He was the Jean-Marie Tillard Distinguished Professor of Ecumenical Theology at the Angelicum in Rome, and was a member of the Joint Working Group between the World Council of Churches and the Vatican. He has served as the St. John’s Summit Distinguished Visiting Professor at LTSP, as well as teaching at the New York Theological Seminary and at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut.

Dr. Rusch is recognized as an author, having written or edited 13 volumes, and as a teacher, theologian and ecumenist who continues to be active in national and global ecumenical affairs.

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