The 153rd Commencement
The 153rd Commencement of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia was held Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Over 100 certificate and degree recipients were joined by faculty, staff, board members, family, and friends to celebrate the special occasion, which also marked, as President David Lose noted, the “culminating” commencement of the seminary before it joins with Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg to form United Lutheran Seminary on July 1, 2017. Commencement speaker was Bishop Guy Erwin of the Southwest California Synod of the ELCA, and formerly Gerhard and Olga Belgum Professor of Lutheran Confessional Theology at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. The Class Address was given by Mercedes Lee, President of the Senior Class of 2017. Participating in the commencement service were the Rev. David J. Lose, PhD, President; the Rev. J. Jayakiran Sebastian, Dr. Theol., Dean; he Rev. Nelson Rivera, PhD, Associate Professor, Systematic Theology and Hispanic Ministry; Director of the Latino Concentration; Deacon Michael E. Krentz, DMus, Chaplain, Director of Music Ministries, Seminary Cantor; the Rev. Katie Day, PhD, The Charles A. Scheiren Professor, Church and Society and Director, Metropolitan/Urban Concentration; the Rev. Robert B. Robinson, PhD, Anna Burkhalter Professor, Old Testament and Hebrew; Marsha Baxter, Class of 2017, Lector; Eric Madsen, Student Body President, Lector; and Rebecca Wicker, Class of 2017, Crucifer.
Watch videos from Commencement, collected in a play list:
About the Commencement Speaker
The Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin is Bishop the ELCA Southwest California Synod. Until his election as bishop in 2013, Erwin was the Gerhard and Olga Belgum Professor of Lutheran Confessional Theology at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. At the same time, he served as part-time interim pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Canoga Park, California. He has served as the ELCA representative to the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches since 2004.
As well as serving as interim pastor for two ELCA congregations in California, Erwin served as minister for worship and education at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in North Hollywood, California. Prior to going to California in 2000, he was lecturer in church history and historical theology at Yale Divinity School from 1993 to 1999. He served as parish associate at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in New Haven, Connecticut, from 1986 to 2000. Bishop Erwin has also served on a variety of boards and committees for ELCA-related institutions and other non-profit agencies.
Bishop Erwin earned a doctorate and two masters degrees at Yale University and his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University. He engaged in seminary studies at Yale Divinity School and the universities of Tubingen and Leipzig in Germany.
Ordained in May 2011, Erwin is the ELCA’s first synod bishop who is gay and partnered. He lives in Los Angeles and is married to Rob Flynn, a member of the ELCA. The first Native American bishop elected to office in the ELCA , Erwin is part Osage Indian and active in the Osage Nation of Oklahoma.
View a slide show from the 153rd Commencement:
click to view the gallery
The 153rd Commencement Booklet
For the 153rd Commencement, the program booklet includes materials remembering the seminary through the years and listings of the faculty, staff, and commencement speakers through the years. Download a copy here (pdf).
The Graduates, including individual photos of certificate and degree recipients, can be found here.