Urban Theological Institute

Celebrating our past...building our future

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For over 30 years, The Urban Theological Institute (UTI) of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia has been dedicated to providing theological education to church leaders that is relevant and upbuilding for the African American community. If you have a sense God is calling you to be a pastor, to serve as a social justice advocate, Christian educator, chaplain, teacher, or church leader, UTI can equip you with the theological education you need to succeed in your chosen ministry.  Through programming and courses, the UTI provides opportunities for clergy and laypersons to prepare themselves for service as educated leaders of the church. Preaching with PowerAreas of concentration include:

The Rev. Dr. Quintin Robertson joined the LTSP staff in July 2009 as Director of the Urban Theological Institute (UTI). 

The Rev. Wayne E. Croft, Sr., DMin, PhD, joined the faculty of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) at the beginning with the Spring 2011 semester as the Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr. Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics in African American Studies.

Degrees with an African American Focus

The MDiv and MAR curricula provide the opportunity for students enrolled in these programs to focus their theological studies on issues germane to service in an African American context. Currently, the Black Church Concentration of the MDiv program and the Black Church Specialization of the MAR program have a requirement of 5 course units. Upon successful completion of this coursework and the general MDiv or MAR requirements, students will receive their degree and a certificate at graduation. This coursework is integrated into the larger curriculum so that students will be responsible for the same amount of coursework as their peers while completing foundational work (i.e., Bible, Church History, Theology and Liturgy) in ways that are immediately applicable to ministry in African American contexts. The seminary is also committed to providing evening and Saturday classes so that the best in theological education is made available to working pastors and laypeople.

UTI students are eligible for the Rev, Dr. Joseph Q. Jackson Scholarship, an annual, one-time award given to the African American student in the UTI with the highest cumulative GPA at the end of the spring term. The Jackson Scholarship is funded from proceeds of the annual Preaching with Power series and gifts from interested supporting congregations and individuals.

UTI Certificate Programs in Church Leadership and Christian Ministry

The Certificate Programs in Church Leadership and Christian ministry are designed for clergy and church leaders to enhance their skills in the area of the certificate. The programs are spread out over two academic years. Each participant who successfully completes a seminar will receive a certificate in the specific area of the seminar. Participants who complete all seminars will receive a certificate in church leadership.

Public Programming

In addition to the Black Church concentration and the certificate program, the UTI provides occasions for the general public to share in the life of theological education. The major event organized by the UTI is the annual Preaching With Power series. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012, Preaching With Power has brought to Philadelphia, for a week each March, the finest in African American preaching. This series is hosted both on the seminary's campus and in congregations in the community.

The Wright Chair of African American Studies

The Wright Chair in African American Studies was established in honor of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., who in 1949 was one of the first two African Americans to receive an STM degree from the seminary. Pastor Wright served Grace Church of Germantown, Philadelphia, PA, for many years. Fund raising continues to make this a fully endowed academic chair at LTSP.