LTSP Notes – October 2015
50th Luther Bowl is Saturday
Play starts this Saturday, October 31 at 8:15 am with the blessing of the field for the 50th Annual Luther Bowl, hosted by Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. All are invited to cheer on LTSP! Here’s the schedule:
|8:15am: Field Blessing- Dr. Bill Avery (coaches meeting to follow)|
|Field 1||Field 2|
|8:30am: LTSG vs. LTSS||Chicago vs. Trinity Lutheran|
|9:40am: LTSP vs. Trinity School for Ministry||Union vs. VTS|
|10:50am: LTSG vs. LTSP||Chicago vs. VTS|
|12:30pm: LTSS vs. Trinity School for Ministry||Union vs. Trinity Lutheran|
|1:40pm: LTSG vs. Trinity School for Ministry||Chicago vs. Union|
|2:50pm: LTSP vs. LTSS||Trinity Lutheran vs. VTS|
|4:00pm: Luther Bowl 50 Championship Game|
|6:30pm: Community Meal|
A fond farewell reflection…
For me, the challenge of writing is frequently an emotional experience. Those of you who take on the weekly practice of sermon preparation probably have an idea of what I am talking about.
The occasion for this writing is one of those times for me as I stepped down at the end of September from my post, held the last eight years, as seminary writer. My mind and heart are filled with gratitude as I look back on more than 18 years of memories of LTSP. And I need to say thank you to the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors who have let me into their lives for a while so I could practice my skill of story-telling on behalf of a school that I love.
I turned 70 in May, just before my latest trip to the hospital for several days. Quite simply, it is time for someone with more energy and better health to carry on. As for me, Lynn, my dearest partner of 48 years, and I have some grandchildren to attend to!
I came to the seminary in July 1997 from LaSalle University, a Christian Brothers school down the street a ways from our campus. I had been serving there several years as associate director of public relations and manager of media relations.
Ellen Harper McGarr, interim communications director, showed me the ropes and details of the communications director post that then LTSP President Robert G. Hughes had invited me to fill. Ellen was to become an inspiration to me and others as she journeyed through her final illness years later. For eight years I was communications director, also serving on the seminary’s senior cabinet. In 2005 I notified then President Philip Krey that I needed to step down from that post as I was in declining health with allergic asthma and did not feel I could fulfill my understanding of the position’s full time demands any longer. During years of flood recovery volunteering in Bucks County and elsewhere, working with Lutheran Disaster Response, I had discovered that dust and mold were no friends of mine! In those days seminarians sometimes accompanied me on Saturday recovery sojourns along the Delaware River in Upper Bucks, working with other church volunteers on behalf of elderly and infirm residents living in bungalows.
Dr. Krey invited me to return in a different capacity after a sabbatical. In 2006 I took on the part-time post of directing the Faith and Life Institute, a theological education with the laity program with some dozen initiatives. One-time admissions director George Keck had been overseeing that work and helped me greatly in directing it. The initiative grew significantly and after two years, with my health continuing to be a challenge, I stepped down from that responsibility and essentially retired on disability earlier than anticipated, becoming part-time seminary writer, a post held until now. At this writing I have been working in the world of photojournalism and communications for more than 48 years, some of them as features editor for The Lutheran magazine, when it was based in Philadelphia. (I have continued to write for it since from time to time.)
I have been trying to imagine of how many interviews I have been a part, about how many folks I have written, in these life-changing 18 years. I have no idea really. But it is certainly in the many hundreds. Together you have written on my heart and elsewhere, thanks be to God, what this seminary is all about as a training ground for all kinds of spiritual leaders. As I recall, a United Methodist Bishop, Peter Weaver, preaching on our campus more than a dozen years ago, looked at this richly diverse tapestry of faces listening to him in the seminary chapel and said, “This must be what the kingdom of heaven looks like.” Just try to imagine what storytelling for such a community has been like, how deeply it has blessed and enriched me — and hopefully all of you!
Highlights? Too many to mention. Each commencement has been memorable. And I am so grateful I got to stick around long enough to work on the seminary’s 150th anniversary timeline and write content for the commemorative anniversary booklet.
I owe special thanks to the three Presidents with which I have worked, most recently David Lose. They have impressively entrusted me with my responsibilities. Merri Brown has been wonderful to work with. And a colleague I am proud to call my friend, John Kahler, has been a special partner for 16 years as the electronic media muse whose images have complemented my writing. I have so many friends on the faculty. And I need to mention Kyle Barger, who joined the staff not long after I did. Together we used to meet on Fridays to update the then brand new web site! Once a week! Imagine that.
Thank you all! Now it is time to turn the page…
Mark A. Staples
Chapel Bell Tower repairs complete
The skilled crew restoring the Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel bell tower finished their work in October, making the upper plaza and bell tower entrance to the chapel again accessible, and again revealing the bell tower, surrounded by scaffolding during the work, to the community.
The Rev. Dr. Karyn L Wiseman
Associate Professor of Homiletics and Director of United Methodist Studies
September 13, 2015 – Preached for Lauren Applegate’s Ordination Service
September 20, 2015 — Preached for the Walter Wangerin, Jr. Celebration of Excellence in Preaching Series at Valparaiso University and presented to students during a lunch conversation. (photos below)
September 25, 2015 – Attended Saint Paul of School of Theology Strategic Planning Team meeting in Kansas City, Missouri