From the President – Now What?
Every once in a while, someone will share something with you – a story, a recollection, a funny scene – only to conclude by saying, “You really had to be there.”
I feel a little bit like that with regard to the 150th Anniversary celebration. From the time shared with Phil Krey and his family Thursday afternoon to recognize his fifteen years as president and twenty-five years of service to the school, to the service of thanksgiving at the original site of LTSP in downtown Philadelphia, to the gala – and it really was a gala! – banquet filled with moving tributes, prayers, and song (not to mention dinner and dancing!), you really had to be there to take it all in.
But if you weren’t, we will try in this edition of PS Portions to recreate as much as possible the feelings of joy, gratitude, and fellowship that permeated the evening. It’s not perfect, but it will at least give you a good sense of the day and the good feelings shared throughout.
So read as much as you are able, peruse again the commemorative booklet produced for the occasion, and join us in giving thanks once again not only for that wonderful day but also for 150 years of faithful and creative service to Christ by educating public leaders for a public church.
And then, as soon as you’re done, join me in not only giving thanks but also in asking what I believe is a faithful and important question: “now what?” Yes, one hundred and fifty years of educating students is marvelous, but now what? Yes, graduating more than 5000 congregational leaders is wonderful, but now what? And of course, serving as a resource to the larger church of Christ for a century and a half is something to be proud of, but now what?
Here’s the thing: God didn’t call us only to 150 years of service. God called us to be faithfully responsive to our call and context for as long as we have life and breath. And trust me, the opportunities for continued faithful service abound. We are so excited to work with our synodical and congregational partners to educate our students in a way that is increasingly contextually relevant and affordable. We look forward with great anticipation to building a more robust lifelong learning program to offer training (and retraining!) to current leaders eager to respond creatively and effectively to a changed and changing world. And we can’t wait to develop resources that assist and support our congregations, other faith communities, and their leaders as they share the good news of the Gospel in their communities and organizations.
If you want a taste of some of the “now what” we are looking forward to, please join us on December 8th for a day of learning and conversation about “faith formation and the future of the church and seminary.” We will have two keynote addresses from Professors Andy Root and Audrey West and workshops and worship as well. The whole event is free and open to all, and while we will be sharing more information about the details and registration for the event soon, for now I want to invite you to save that date as we think together about “now what?”
Celebrations are wonderful. Reminiscences enjoyable. Thanksgiving so highly appropriate. But as I woke up the day after all of our anniversary events, the question on my mind was “now what?” I hope you’ll join me in dreaming of answers to that important question as together we discern God’s preferred future for this school and its constituents and supports. This something you definitely don’t want to miss. Thank you. And thank God for you and your faithful service to Christ and Christ’s church.
Yours in Christ,