2015 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
The Distinguished Alumni Awards are presented at Spring Convocation 2015
2015 Distinguished Alumni Awardees
The Rev. Marie C. Jerge
The Rev. Marie C. Jerge was initially called to serve as bishop of the Upstate New York Synod on the 24th anniversary of her ordination, June 3, 2002. She was the sixth woman called as bishop in the ELCA. She completed her a second term as bishop in August 2014. She served on the executive committee of the New York State Council of Churches from 2002-2014 and as president from 2011-2014, and also served for four years as vice chair of the Conference of Bishops.
Prior to her call as bishop, she served as an assistant to the bishop deployed in Buffalo, New York, for 14 years. She was responsible for candidates for lay and ordained ministries from 1992-2002, and was also churchwide staff for stewardship in the Upstate New York Synod.
Following her ordination, Pr. Jerge served at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Mayville, New York, for 10 years. For five of those years, she also served as co-pastor with her husband, Jim, at Zion Lutheran Church, Silver Creek, New York, and as dean of the Southwestern Conference.
Pr. Jerge received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Thiel College in 2006. Her Master of Divinity in 1978 is from The Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. A native of Long Island, New York, she graduated from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1974. She is currently in training to become a spiritual director.
Pr. Jerge and her husband live in Fayetteville, New York, a suburb of Syracuse. Her interests and hobbies include singing, swimming, cross-stitch, golf, and cross-country skiing.
The Rev. Rick Summy
The Rev. Rick Summy (MDiv ’85) has served as the senior pastor of Atonement Lutheran Church, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, since December, 2006. His first two calls were to congregations. Following those calls, he served as Region 7 coordinator/ELCA deployed staff and then as director of admissions at LTSP.
Published materials include sermons, sermon reviews, devotional materials, and articles. He was co-author of the Augsburg Fortress Senior High Outdoor Ministry curriculum for 2007, and of Connect: Calling Faithful Leaders for a Changing World, a successful $3 million grant request from the Lilly Foundation on behalf of the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries. He wrote a chapter, “Mutual Ministry,” in the book Pastor and People: Making Mutual Ministry Work (Augsburg Fortress, 2003). During the 1990s, he was active in leadership of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Academy of Preachers. He has led workshops on vocation and mutual ministry in a variety of settings.
Pr. Summy served as the president of the board of Family Promise of Berks County (Interfaith Hospitality Network), and presently serves as chair of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod’s Candidacy Committee.
At Atonement, he, along with his wife, Christine, initiated and provided leadership for Common Ground, a ministry with the 12-step recovery community that is now a synodically authorized worshiping community; provided leadership for a comprehensive strategic planning initiative; promoted an increase in adult education and spiritual formation opportunities and participation; encouraged Atonement’s leadership in the Flower Boxes of Love project in Reading, Pennsylvania, to facilitate relationships between those who live in the city and the suburbs; oversaw a successful 100th anniversary campaign to raise funds for operating reserves during the 2008 recession; supervised two pastoral interns and a student for a Project Connect immersion experience; and worked with the Atonement staff to create God Time!, an informal, hands-on, kid-friendly worship experience.
Pr. Summy is married to Christine Haas Summy (MAR ’14), who is a pastoral counselor at the Caron Foundation, and has two daughters, Ashley and Haley.
The Rev. Roger Zepernick
The Rev. Roger Zepernick was raised in Northeastern Ohio in a small farming community. He is a graduate of Ohio University with degrees in mathematics and psychology. During spring break in 1963. he accepted an invitation from Dick and Happy Fernandez to travel to Birmingham, Alabama, with the hope of attending an activity with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was incarcerated when they arrived, but, the experience had a major impact upon Roger’s life.
In 1965, he came to Philadelphia to attend The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, from which he graduated in 1968. From 1969 until 1982 he served as the pastor of the King’s Way Community Church in Philadelphia. This church was known for its involvement in neighborhood issues and for serving as an office for the Young Lords Party in the early 70’s.
From 1979 until 2007, Pr. Zepernick served as the executive director of a community based organization, Centro Pedro Claver, Inc., which was headquartered in North Philadelphia. Centro Pedro provided a variety of social and neighborhood development programs, and also served as the base for much of Philadelphia’s work around the struggle for the removal of the U.S. military from the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, support for the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners, and advocacy for the teaching of accurate Puerto Rican/Latino history.
Pr. Zepernick was honored in 1999 by the City of Philadelphia’s Commission on Human Relations with the “Human Rights Award for Community Service” in recognition “of his commitment in the struggle for justice and equality in the Franklinville section of the City” and for working on “issues of racial discrimination, housing discrimination, farm workers rights, youth, neighborhood revitalization, and the release of Puerto Rican political prisoners.” Over the years, he also received recognition for his work from other organizations including the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, the Puerto Rican Week Festival Committee, and the National Boricua Human Rights Network.
For the past six years, “Padre Roger” has served as a “presbitero ayudante” at Christ Church and St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, i.e. as an ordained volunteer assistant to the Vicar of the congregation.
Roger is the father of six children, the chairman of the board of the Esperanza Academy Charter School, and a board member of the Pennsylvania Prison Society and of MIMIC (Men in Motion in the Community), an organization of ex-offenders working to keep youth out of trouble, and is a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Boricua Human Rights Network.