David J. Lose installed as twelfth president of LTSP
This edition features several stories from Inauguration weekend and the installation of David Lose as the twelfth president of LTSP.
Click on the links above to navigate between the stories.
David J. Lose was installed as the twelfth president of The Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia (LTSP) Sunday, December 7, 2014 at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion in Philadelphia.
The installation service was conducted as part of the annual Advent Vespers service, and featured the combined choirs of the seminary and the host congregation led by Michael Krentz, Director of Music Ministry and Seminary Cantor, and Joseph Bunches, Director of Music for Holy Communion Church.
The installing officer for the ceremony was the Rev. William Christopher Boerger, secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the seminary’s parent denomination. Trustee the Rev. John Richter presented the inaugural candidate, reading the Board action that led to Lose’s call. ELCA representative Jonathan Strandjord presented documents certifying Lose’s call. The Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey gave Lose the pendant cross with a cityscape of Philadelphia on the crossarm that Krey had worn in his presidency before he stepped down from the post earlier this year.
Preacher for the service was the Rev. Dr. Andrew Root, Olson Baalson Associate Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Root and Lose are former colleagues at that seminary. Root was also a keynoter at Inaugural Lectures and Resource Day, held at LTSP the day following the installation.
Lose, at times emotional, especially in thanking his family, in his brief remarks following the ceremony explained that “the only fit response is one of gratitude, and I have so much for which to be grateful.” He paid tribute to the Rev. Kari Hart of the host church, thanked the seminary community and all engaged in the planning for the day, and all those participating in the day, representing schools and institutions, his teachers and others representing various aspects of his career and church journey — and many friends in attendance.
The new president spoke of a favorite work of music he thinks of at the Advent time of year, W.H. Auden’s For the Time Being, a Christmas oratorio he said might be more suited for the period after Christmas “when bills are being paid.” He alluded to a refrain in the work about “the shepherds’ march to Bethlehem when they are bemoaning the choices of independence and freedom that humanity has made and the dead end they have led to. They are saying “We who are about to die demand a miracle for nothing can save us that is possible.” In those words they preview the heart of the Christmas celebration, the festival and feast of the incarnation when we give thanks for that impossible possibility that saves and redeems us. When I hear that line and think of that refrain nothing can save us that is possible it reminds me of our message to this world. It is a hard word first because it reminds us we are not sufficient in all the demands of this life, that we are in need. But it is a good word…that from outside of us is the redemptive word in Jesus Christ, that God has not not abandoned us us, will not give up on us, will hold onto us through everything through this life and death until the next life.
“I believe there are many in our world ready to hear that Word,” Lose said. “People who perhaps believe the materialistic gospel that through their accomplishments or saving or suffering or status…might garner a sense of security and salvation and have been disappointed.
“Many in this city and others like it who believe the American materialistic dream only to be crushed by debt or to see that dream pass them by. Many in our suburbs who have hoped against hope that all their effort would not come to naught and yet wonder about their future.
“Many in the small towns and rural communities who see their schools lessened, their communities diminished, who long for a word of hope. These people and more need to be reminded of that hard word, that good word that we who are about to die demand a miracle, for nothing can save us that is possible.
“A generation ago we would have told our students, our graduates, our leaders to go out and preach and teach that word and shout it from the rooftops, and we still do. But in a world where there are so many thousands of messages thrown at people every single day we know now we also need to earn the right to be heard. And so we will preach that message at times and at others we will whisper it. Sometimes we will preach that message without words, with our service. And by accompanying people that when they are ready we may offer with integrity the witness of our own experience that the God who created and still sustains this vast cosmos not only knows that we exists, but cares deeply and reaches out to each of us in Christ to redeem us.
“It is not the strongest message being aired these days. It is in many ways a weak word. But it is the word that those who follow Christ have proclaimed since day one when one person dared to say to another, ‘He is not here. He has risen.’
“It is our word, our only word, our message of hope, and we speak it in humility and confidence together.”
Watch a slide show of the Inaugural Service:
click any image to go to the photo gallery