“Living on the Edge” theme for Spring Convocation April 27 and 28
“Living on the Edge” will be the topic explored when The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) convenes its Spring Convocation on the seminary’s campus Monday and Tuesday, April 27-28, 2015.
In recent listening sessions, in part to get an idea what the seminary’s audiences consider “edges” to be in today’s church, here are some of the responses heard:
- Edges are cultural divides within the church that challenge traditional and emerging practices.
- Edges are the realities of poverty and homelessness that permeate every corner of the world.
- Edges are the call for the church to be an incarnational presence of Jesus in the world.
- Edges are the constant reminder that life and death both strengthen and threaten the connection we have to our faith.
What has become clear is the edges people of faith encounter are both life-threatening and life-giving, and that we find Jesus at the heart of it all. “Living on the edge” is both threat and promise. Edges create boundaries and protect lives, while at the same time threatening to overtake us with change and renewal. Edges are things that God continues to push and stretch in ways that terrify and comfort us all at once. In the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s edges are unbounded and always expanding to reach out to embrace and welcome those who feel pushed out. We have to hold all of it in tension together in order to best appreciate the work of ministry in this ever-changing world. We hope at this convocation we may together explore what it means to live on the edge today.
The convocation begins Monday with registration at 4:00 pm and at 5:00 pm a cookout for registrants, family, and friends. A 7:00 pm closing will feature Scripture, camp songs, prayer, and a reminder of the Tuesday schedule. Informal gatherings will then take place in local establishments or in various rooms on the campus, such as Lull Lounge.
Tuesday’s activities will begin at 8:00 am with coffee, juice, granola bars, and fruit available through mid-morning, followed by registration, welcome, and greetings.
President Lose will address the theme at 10:00 am followed by an Alumni Association meeting. A noon lunch will be followed by the gathering of various interest groups. A re-gathering at 2:00 pm featuring a welcome and announcements will lead into remarks on the theme offered by the Rev. Leila Ortiz, an LTSP PhD candidate.
Class pictures and a break will follow at 3:45 pm. Reunion gatherings and free time will then begin followed by a reception with faculty in Lull Lounge.
Easter Vespers will take place at 6:00 pm by a banquet in Benbow Hall. Highlights of the banquet will include the presentation of Distinguished Alumni Awards and delivery of a “State of the Seminary” address by President Lose.
President Lose was most recently the Marbury Anderson Associate Professor of Preaching at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, prior to his appointment as LTSP’s president. He earned both his MDiv and STM at LTSP. He was Luther’s academic dean from 2005 to 2008 and was founding director of the Center for Biblical Preaching. Lose led the creative team that established Working Preacher.org and directed several Lilly Endowment grants that enabled research into the issue of congregational vitality. He has been greatly interested in exploring new models for congregational leadership and witness in the twenty-first century. Lose is known for his skills in relationship-building, strategic planning, and for his entrepreneurial spirit. Prior to embarking on his academic career, Lose was the pastor of several congregations in New Jersey. He lives in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, with his family.
In addition to working toward her PhD at LTSP, the Rev. Leila Ortiz is Associate Pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. She has a passion for Protestant Latino/a Liberation Theologies in the U.S. and is especially interested in those she calls Latino/a “Luthercoastals” (Pentecostals who have come to the Lutheran Church and merge their experience with Lutheran theology). She claims that, “When Latino/as come to the Lutheran Church from another tradition, they tend to make it (the adopted tradition) their own and find a sense of belonging within the tradition, theology, and liturgy. This belonging does not erase their formation. Instead, faith traditions merge, and the spirit brings about something fresh, new, and exciting. This then gives a bright new flavor to the tradition already in place.”
Pastor Ortiz is eager for the convocation group to explore together “what bright new flavor in which the Spirit is calling us to engage as the body of Christ.”