LTSP Alumni Spring Convocation 2011


Spring Convocation 2010

LTSP Alumni Spring Convocation 2011

May 3 and 4

One God, Many Christs:
How Jesus is Incarnated
in America

Spring Convocation 2011 was a great success with learning, fellowship and celebration.

Richard Wightman FoxIn America, Jesus is a secular figure as well as a religious one, and we can see him reflected in some of our favorite heroes, with Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King being the prime examples.  They became Americans' favorite heroes in part because it was so easy to see them as disciples of Christ, Americans' favorite hero of all. The Spring Convocation 2011 keynote presenter, Professor Richard Wightman Fox, addressed this theme and others highlighted in his book, Jesus in America: Personal Savior, Cultural Hero, National Obsession (Harper, 2004).

Professor Fox addressed "The Christs of Faith: How Has American Diversity Impinged on the Divinity of Jesus?" in the first session, and in session two he explored "The Christs of History: How Did Jesus Get Pressed into American Politics?"


Richard Wightman Fox is a Professor of History at the University of Southern California. He took all his academic degrees at Stanford University, where he received a PhD in History in 1975. After teaching at Yale University, Reed College, and Boston University, he joined the Department of History at the University of Southern California in 2000. His scholarship has centered on the crossroads of American social, cultural, and intellectual history in the 19th and 20th centuries, with a special focus on how religion and secularity in the United States have evolved in relation to one another. 

Fox is the author of three books on religion in America:  Jesus in America: Personal Savior, Cultural Hero, National Obsession (Harper, 2004), Trials of Intimacy: Love and Loss in the Beecher-Tilton Scandal (University of Chicago Press, 1999, awarded a History prize by the American Association of Publishers), and Reinhold Niebuhr: A Biography (Pantheon Books, 1985, reprinted Cornell University Press, 1996). Now he is writing a book treating Abraham Lincoln’s death and its aftermath to be published by W. W. Norton.

 Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and other grants for his scholarship, Fox is an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society and has served on committees of the Organization of American Historians and the American Studies Association.  He is a past editor of the “Intellectual History Newsletter”, and has contributed reviews and essays to many publications, including The New York Times and Slate.

The 2011 Alumnus/a Award for Distinguished Service recipient Rev. Bruce Davidson was recognized at the Convocation 2011 Banquet.

The Rev. Bruce H. Davidson, MDiv ’74
2011 Alumnus/a Award for Distinguished Service

The Rev. Bruce DavidsonThe Rev. Bruce H. Davidson, class of 1974, is the 2011 recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Davidson, a resident of Stockton, New Jersey, is being recognized for his commitment to parish ministry as well as his visionary leadership for 10 years as director of the Lutheran Office for Governmental Ministry (LOGM/NJ), where he served as an advocate to public officials and congregations on behalf of the poor, homeless and disenfranchised before retiring this year. Prior to his appointment to LOGM/NJ, he served as pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Wildwood, New Jersey (1974-1981); pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Teaneck, NJ (1981-1992); as director of the Lutheran HIV/AIDS Ministry of NJ ( July 1992-June 1996) and as pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Summit, NJ, in an intentional three-year- interim call as full-time senior pastor and head of staff.

Recipient of many honors and awards over the years, Davidson received two appointments from former New Jersey Gov. John Corzine: the Housing Transition Team and the New Jersey Inter-Agency Team on Preventing and Reducing Homelessness. He is a founding member of the New Jersey Advocacy Network to End Homelessness, the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey and the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition.

Davidson credits the clarity of biblical and theological teaching at LTSP in aiding him to communicate clearly to others, including sometimes unchurched politicians, the essential importance of justice through serving others. “I learned in the process of responding to my call to serve as a pastor that God has first loved and forgiven me unconditionally, and that truth has given me the freedom to be part of a plan to encourage us to love one another. If God can use me in service this way, then God can use anybody.” He recalls seminary professors like Ted Tappert and Robert Hughes teaching him about what it means to be a faithful believer.