President Philip Krey is looking toward the 150th anniversary of LTSP

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Dear Friends,

President Philip KreyAs we begin the 149th academic year of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) in God’s abundant grace we greet you in this first edition of PS Portions. Looking toward the 150th anniversary in 2014, there are many plans and changes on the horizon as we are “moving forward in faith” to be a seminary for the twenty-first century.

As I write, a curriculum committee is busily preparing a new curriculum for the next decade. Congregations, the church, and the world are changing rapidly, and LTSP has always tried to be ahead of the curve in theological education. We value and cherish our tradition — a living confessional tradition that is responsive to what the Spirit is saying to the church. Having listened to our constituencies for over two years, we are excited in our planning to provide an affordable and flexible curriculum. A new curriculum is always a venture in faith, and we pray that the Lord will give us the wisdom to prepare the next generation of public leaders for the mission of church in the world.

In the spring of 2012, the Board of Trustees adopted a new strategic plan that also includes an ambitious initiative for the 150th anniversary focused on student scholarships. We spent the last fifteen years developing the 14-acre campus in Mt Airy to a state-of-the-art resource for teaching, living, and learning. A new student dormitory, a renovated chapel, a new student learning center, and a library under renovation are at the core of a stunning “quad”. We also invested in a talented faculty for the twenty-first century. Now the top priority of the initiative is to raise $10,000,000 toward scholarships to invest in the next generation of missional leaders whom the church will need to restart, redevelop, and plant congregations. We are all aware of the burden of student debt, but it is a problem of mission when we cannot provide skilled pastors and leaders for the present context of ministry. I pray that LTSP can count on you to help complete this goal. Please call the Rev. John Puotinen, our Vice President for Philanthropy, at 215.248.6316 for details.

As we have recruited a talented group of younger faculty in the last decade, naturally the generation of colleagues that began to serve the seminary when I arrived in 1989 has retired or is approaching retirement. Last year Prof. Richard Stewart retired. In June 2013 Prof. Robin Mattison will retire. She is currently serving her final year as a missionary teacher at the Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong. Over the summer, Prof. Timothy Wengert announced he would retire in December of 2013 to reframe his distinguished career with writing projects and ecumenical dialogs. A number of my colleagues began as Profs. Reumann, Bornemann, Aden, and White were retiring; so also another generational shift is occurring. I am pleased to announce that this fall we welcomed Prof. Cláudio Carvalhaes, who began as LTSP’s Associate Professor of Liturgy and Worship. I am confident that the future of the seminary is in capable hands as the current generation of senior faculty begins to hand over the mantle of teaching a new generation of leaders. The board and faculty planned wisely so that the transition will be gradual.

In June of this year, LTSP received its reaccreditation from our accrediting agencies after a lengthy self-study and visit. The final report of the two commissions lauded our mission and vision, our new strategic plan, our faculty, degree programs, and plans for a new curriculum, but was very concerned about our resources to sustain this wonderful school. Because our synods and the ELCA cannot support theological education as in previous generations, we depend more and more on individuals, congregations, and our endowment to make us thrive. Last year the Leadership Fund reached record levels and those who participated in “Thrivent Choice” (thrivent.com/thriventchoice) provided $70,000 in gifts to our mission. We are so thankful for the regular and faithful support of our alumni, friends, and supporters. With all the demands placed upon your giving we are thankful you value an educated clergy and leadership for the church.

Last year we celebrated the 300th anniversary of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, in 2014 we hope to celebrate the 150th anniversary of LTSP, and this will be a major milestone toward the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. Stay tuned.

In Christ Jesus,

Philip Krey
President