In 150th year, alumni at Spring Convocation focus on seminary’s founding with an eye on church renewal
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), observing the 150th anniversary of its founding this year, focused on both history and church renewal at its annual Spring Convocation April 29 and 30, 2014.
The gathered alumni heard from three keynoters. The Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey, seminary president and Ministerium of New York Professor of Early Church History, led off Tuesday morning with a focus on the circumstances of the seminary’s founding in 1864 with an eye to the school’s mission and challenges for the future. At points during the program, the Rev. Dr. Katie Day, holder of the Charles A. Schieren Chair in Church and Society and Director of the seminary’s Metropolitan/Urban Concentration, served as facilitator and moderator for audience questions and discussion.
Watch and listen to the conversations and remarks from this initial session:
Tuesday afternoon, remarks on “Renewal of the Church” were delivered by the Rev. Dr. Kevin R. Johnson, senior pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Pastor Johnson serves as vice-chair of Lincoln University’s Board of Trustees. His activities also include sitting on the boards of Philadelphia’s Urban League, the Forum for a Better Pennsylvania, and the Mayor’s Voter Task Force. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College, having received the Martin Luther King, Jr., and Oprah Winfrey Scholarships. He earned his MDiv from Union Seminary in New York City, receiving the prestigious Maxwell Fellowship, awarded to the seminarian deemed most likely to succeed in parish ministry.
Listen and watch Pastor Johnson’s session on renewal:
On Wednesday morning, the topic of church renewal was addressed by the Rev. Beth Ann L. Stone, an assistant to Bishop Robert Driesen of the Upper Susquehanna Synod (PA) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. A student of current literature on the evolving church and the faith lives of young adults, Pastor Stone is known for pulling together research findings, theological reflections, and pastoral experiences to offer an informed perspective on the seismic shifts new generations of Christians are bringing to the church. She received her MDiv from Trinity Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, and her BA from St. Olaf College in Minnesota.
Listen and watch remarks by Pastor Stone:
The seminary presented three Alumni Awards for Distinguished Service to Pastor Violet C. Little, MDiv ’91, the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla, MDiv ’81, and Bishop Dwayne D. Royster, MAR ’10. Pastor Little founded The Welcome Center in Philadelphia, a place of hospitality and healing for people experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia. She serves as mission developer and pastor for The Welcome Church, a congregation without walls serving Philadelphia’s homeless community. Pastor Malpica Padilla serves as executive director of the Global Mission program unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The initiative fosters deepening relationships and partnerships with Lutheran churches in some 50 countries. Bishop Royster is the founding pastor of Living Water United Church of Christ in Philadelphia’s Oxford Circle. He also serves as executive director for Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER), an interfaith social action coalition of more than 35 Philadelphia-area faith communities that among other things has been advocating for improved working conditions and benefits for employees at Philadelphia International Airport. Royster has also served on the city council of his Norristown, Pennsylvania, home community.
Watch and hear the comments from the award recipients:
A highlight of the Spring Convocation was the Wednesday chapel sermon message, “Curious George,” delivered by the Rev. George E. Keck, retired director of admissions for the seminary, and a member of the seminary’s class of 1964, which was observing its 50th reunion.
At the banquet honoring the distinguished alumni, class gifts were announced by reunion year classes. In all, the class gifts totaled $$26,742. Highest percentage of givers was the 50th anniversary Class of 1964 at 46% and their total giving was $10,546, also the highest of the classes. The Rev. Gus Wedemeyer accepted the dual awards for the 50th anniversary class (in photo, left).