Inaugural banquet highlights
From Trustee Pastor John Richter:
“…We are blessed with different perspectives: faculty, donors, board of trustees, bishops, staff students, ecumenical friends, community leaders, and from those different angles of vision, one realization that I trust is common to all of us: LTSP is a special place; what happens here has a powerful impact on the future of the church…” Pastor Richter issued a welcome to the dinner.
From Southeastern PA Synod Bishop Claire Burkat:
“When I first arrived as a Masters of Divinity (MDiv) student on the LTSP campus in the fall of 1974 there were few female students, and no female professors, yet I remember being warmly and generously welcomed by the faculty and staff in spite in spite of the resistance many of the early female MDiv students encountered in other arenas…Those seminary years were formative in so many ways, but essential in instilling in me a love of scripture, sacrament and service, an awe for the deep resilience of the Church of Christ, and a respect and competence for preaching, teaching, evangelizing, and equipping people for God’s work to heal and bless the world…Visionary leadership matters.”
From former President Philip D.W. Krey:
In his table grace, Dr. Krey said in part: “Oh, Holy Spirit, now bless David, together with Karin, Jack, and Katie and all those they love. Give them joy and meaning in their stewardship of this school, which we love…”
Susan Leelike, David’s older sister, brought greetings to the banquet from David’s family:
She highlighted qualities about the new president that all might not be aware of including that he has a deep faith, is filled with passion, is a storyteller, has always been dedicated to family, has a wonderful ability to connect with people at a personal level, and that he has had a sense of “being called from the age of 8 or 9…” She said in part, “Mother remembers the day he came home from elementary school and announced that he was going to be a preacher and his best friend, Luke, was going to be a priest – Greek Orthodox. They both accepted a call and kept their promise…” She added that the new president has a passion for reading, both for knowledge and pleasure; has a passion for sports like soccer and is passionate about writing.
From Dean J. Jayakiran Sebastian:
Dean Sebastian spoke of the seminary’s mission and life in terms of “faith, hope, and love — these three abide.”
He noted that faith enables the seminary to prepare its future leaders to deal with the “messy aspects of life” with all its “pressing issues” that serve as challenges to public leadership. Hope enables those in the seminary community to “speak a word of truth, a word of hope that we share with those hurting from so many unwanted deaths in our midst…” Regarding love, Dean Sebastian credited the seminary for its willingness “long before it was fashionable… and politically correct” to embrace with its “deep Lutheran roots” other denominations, traditions, and people of richly diverse backgrounds, all of which have enriched the seminary community.
Seminary alumnus and donor Pastor John Sabatelli:
Thanks to faculty members like “earthy Martin Heinecken, the brilliant and acerbic William Lazareth, the scholarly and pious Jack Reumann, and the fun-loving Bobby Bornemann” Sabatelli said he had been able to carry both his “head and heart” forward into a deep understanding of his faith. “I learned things like Law and Gospel, Saint and Sinner, God’s reign in the Two Kingdoms, a context for ethics and paradox, an appreciation for ambiguity, that scripture is the manger in which you find the Christ Child, and about the theology of the cross. The seminary prepared me not only for my ministry as a pastor who preaches and teaches, but also for life. It gave me the tools, the knowledge, and the insights I needed to understand God, the world, the parish, my family, and me. It helped me not just be a pastor, but how to make sense of my life and my gifts, and for that I am eternally grateful.” Sabatelli told the audience that out of that gratitude he and his wife, Jane, had planned to leave the school a considerable legacy ranging in the area of $150,000 to $200,000. “The church will survive forever,” Sabatelli said, “but it is going to need educated leaders to help people understand what it is that God wants them to do…”
Student Body President Justin Lingenfelter:
He told the dinner audience that applying to the seminary “was a homecoming for me. When his Dad, Scott, was a seminarian, “I was born here and spent my first couple of years here…” and he said he feels like he is “back with my family.” Lingenfelter said admissions officer Matt O’Rear had told him before he arrive of the ecumenical values the seminary holds high. “It blew my mind that I found everything he said to be coming true within two weeks of my arrival.” He said the seminary was not just a practical place for learning, but a loving place “for me to become the best possible leader God can make of me.” He thanked all those at the dinner for making the seminary “a reality for me and all of us in the student body.”
President David J. Lose concluded the evening:
Lose described the seminary, where he earned two degrees during the 1990s, “as the most transformative place for me” in terms of influencing both his faith and intellect. “It deepened, stretched, and pushed me.” He explained that in his career journey whenever he encountered someone connected to LTSP he would urge them to return and make note of his gratitude. Lose said of the seminary and the challenges he faces as the new president that preparing leaders for the church of the future cannot be managed by the seminary alone. “We must invest heavily in our relationships with congregations, ministeriums, synods, and our ecumenical and community partners… None of us knows the best way for us to find the most fitting witness to our faith in the years ahead. But as I look around this room I know we are blessed with the resources from God of wisdom, experience and faith sufficient to meet the challenges of this day. None of us knows what is coming but together we will be blessed as the church to give witness wherever the church is planted, and I am thankful for that.”
View a photo gallery from the banquet, and videos of some of the comments:
click on any image to go to the photo gallery