LTSP Hits the Road!

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Pr. Greg Brown and LTSP's Tom HendersonThanks to an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) “Stewards of Abundance” grant initiative, a visiting team from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) traveled to Rochester, New York, for a weekend with prospective students and congregations. The team, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, left campus on Saturday morning, November 16,  drove to upstate New York, hosted a dinner for prospective students Saturday evening at a local restaurant, and then dispersed to six congregations on Sunday morning to preach and/or lead forums about what is happening in theological education. (in the photo: Pastor Greg Brown, Associate Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Fairport, NY with LTSP's Tom Henderson on right)

Twenty nine people attended the prospective student dinner Saturday evening, including visit team members, local clergy hosts, inquiring students, and some pastors who accompanied inquiring persons. Don Johnson, LTSP Vice President for Student Development and a member of the visiting team, reflected on the event: “The prospective student dinner worked exactly as we envisioned. There were several people who came to that event with whom we would not have had contact if we had not gone to them first. And now they are seriously considering coming for a campus visit to LTSP to explore more deeply the possibility of going to seminary.”

On Sunday morning, local pastors coordinated travel for the Philadelphia team to visit their six area ELCA congregations, all in New York, for “Seminary Sunday.” Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Fairport, welcomed LTSP Director of Church Relations Tom Henderson; Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church, Rochester (Greece), welcomed student Dan Purtell; The Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word, Rochester, welcomed student Jay Mitchell;  student Laura Tancredi was welcomed by Lutheran Campus Ministry at Syracuse University; St. Mark’s, Baldwinsville, welcomed LTSP Vice President for Student Development Don Johnson; and LTSP professor the Rev. Dr. Karyn Wiseman was welcomed by Atonement Lutheran Church, Syracuse. “Seminary Sundays are a longstanding tradition at LTSP, but they have mostly been held at congregations in fairly close proximity to the campus. Being able to go farther away from Philadelphia is a new venture for us. And certainly having six on one Sunday is unprecedented,” said Tom Henderson, LTSP’s Director of Church Relations. 

LTSP Road TrippersDon Johnson observed, “Overall, it was successful for LTSP because for many Sunday worshippers it heightened their awareness of the many ways Lutheran seminaries provide resources for the whole church. It was great for the congregations. It was great for the seminary. It was a great experience for the six visitors from LTSP.”  (In the photo, left to right: Laura Tancredi, Dan Purtell, Prof. Karyn Wiseman and Jay Mitchell) 

Senior MDiv student Laura Tancredi agreed, “I really appreciated the opportunity to get farther away from the seminary than usual. The Lilly Endowment Inc. grant made that possible. I had the opportunity to meet people with whom I otherwise wouldn’t have been able. I’m looking forward to going on another trip in the Spring! It’s great to share with others how God is working at the seminary.”

Thanks to the generosity of the ELCA and the Lilly Endowment Inc., five more “Seminary Blitz” weekends are being planned in 2014. They will all have a schedule similar to the Rochester trip.

Upcoming Visit Weekends:

  • Chelmsford, Massachusetts – February 22-23, 2014
  • Manhattan, New York – March 1-2, 2014
  • Buffalo, New York – March 15-16, 2014
  • Albany, New York – March 22-23, 2014
  • Connecticut River Valley – April 5-6, 2014

If you would like more information about this program or the upcoming weekends, please contact Tom Henderson in the Office for Philanthropy at 215.248.6315 or

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