Black Church Studies
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) offers theological education to church leaders, representing a range of denominations, that is relevant and upbuilding for the African American community in a number of different areas, with special concentrations including:
Master of Divinity with Black Church, Multicultural, and Urban Ministry concentrations
Master of Arts in Religion with a variety of ministry leadership specializations
Master of Sacred Theology (STM), Doctor of Ministry (DMin), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) advanced degrees
Non-credit Certificate Programs in Church Leadership and Christian Ministry
The Urban Theological Institute
Black Church studies at LTSP are under the umbrella of the Urban Theological Institute (UTI), founded at LTSP over 30 years ago. In 1978, the Rev. Dr. Andrew H. Willis and the late Rev. Dr. Randolph L. Jones began a series of meetings, exploring their concerns that the theological needs of the black church were not being met, and approached the seminary with their ideas, which resulted in the design and creation of the Urban Theological Institute of LTSP in 1980. This was the culmination of the dream of Drs. Jones and Willis, and as Dr. Jones often said, “Others said no, and Lutheran said YES.”
Today, UTI and LTSP’s Black Church studies are overseen by UTI Director the Rev. Dr. Quintin Robertson (in the photo at right), with guidance from the Urban Theological Institute Committee of Advisors, which includes representatives from the black church community and UTI alumni and students. Dr. Robertson can often be found preaching in the community, and welcomes the opportunity to talk with prospective students about opportunities at LTSP. He can be contacted at 215.248.7324 or by email to qrobertson@Ltsp.edu.
Preaching with Power
Celebrating thirty three years in 2015, LTSP’s Urban Theological Institute, through Preaching with Power, has invited outstanding African American preachers to Philadelphia for a week each March to celebrate the finest in African American preaching through the Preaching with Power series.
Preaching with Power is hosted both on the seminary campus and in congregations throughout the community. Host congregations include those of the American Baptist Churches, the United Methodist Church, the Church of God in Christ, the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Lecture and Worship Celebration
Each fall, the Urban Theological Institute celebrates its founding with the Lecture and Worship Celebration. An outstanding preacher and teacher in the black church tradition is invited for a day of learning and worship, highlighted by a special lecture and an evening worship.
The Rev. Dr. Joseph Q. Jackson Endowed Scholarship
The Rev. Dr. Joseph Q. Jackson Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in honor of the Reverend Dr. Joseph Quinton Jackson, who in 1949 was one of the first two African Americans to receive a STM degree from the seminary. Pastor Jackson served Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Germantown, Philadelphia, PA, for many years.
The Joseph Q. Jackson Scholarship, awarded from the proceeds of the seminary’s annual Preaching with Power event and other contributions, is 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. That student is preparing for ordained ministry in one of the denominations represented in the UTI constituency and must have completed a minimum of ten course units.
The Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr. Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics in African American Studies
The Rev. Wayne E. Croft, Sr., DMin, PhD (in the photo at left), joined the faculty of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) in 2011 as The Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr. Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics in African American Studies. Dr. Croft is pastor of The Church of the Redeemer Baptist in South Philadelphia, and is well known as a preacher and teacher. Pastor of The Church of the Redeemer Baptist since June 1993, Dr. Croft believes that the academy, the pulpit, and the community need to be connected, and he plans to remain in the pulpit at Redeemer as he teaches at LTSP to maintain that connection. Dr. Croft teaches a number of courses in the Black Church program.
The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., Chair in African American Studies
The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., 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 a STM degree from the seminary. Pastor Wright served as pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Philadelphia’s Germantown section for 42 years, and was the congregation’s pastor emeritus for an additional 21 years during retirement. His son, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., is pastor-emeritus of the 8,000-member Trinity United Church of Christ congregation in Chicago, and is a frequent Preaching with Power presenter.
Well on its way to full funding, the Wright endowed chair insures a permanent member of the faculty specifically dedicated to black church teaching and scholarship.