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Seminary Welcomes Richly Diverse New Class

(scroll down for video of President Lose’s Opening Eucharist sermon and photos from the Opening Eucharist and community picnic)

They come from neighborhoods as close as the seminary’s Mt. Airy community, and from places much farther away — Minneapolis, Tampa, Nashville, and India, for example. LTSP’s newest students also have diverse vocational backgrounds. Some are very recent college graduates. One is the associate director for corporate and foundation relations for the Philadelphia Orchestra. Another has worked for an advertising company. Still another has worked for more than 20 years in data processing management for large banks. One new student has worked as a health claims examiner and in corporate training development.

They are Lutherans, Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, and Pentecostals. And they often say that studying with students from myriad backgrounds and traditions in an urban setting really appeals to them.

Early in September, the seminary welcomed 92 new students with a higher percentage of full-time and ELCA students across all degree programs. According to Admissions Director, Matthew O’Rear, “This entering class continues to be diverse in all its categories and pulls the best and brightest to study at LTSP.” New enrollees intend to study for MDiv, MAR, MAPL, STM, an advanced-level degree, DMin, another advanced-level degree, and PhD degrees. The seminary also has new “affiliated” seminarians either studying for their Lutheran year having attended another non-Lutheran seminary or connected to the seminary and studying elsewhere as an affiliated student.

During a “nuts and bolts” orientation Sunday, August 23, many of the new students began meeting each other during activities led by Pastor Heidi Rodrick-Schnaath, Director for Student Relations and other staff.

Seminary Dean Jayakiran Sebastian related highlights of his own seminary journey in India. “We hope that you will find in your exploration of theology that your decision about seminary is the right one,” he said. “Discernment is a lifelong process. Here you have the opportunity to study the height, depth, and richness of Jesus Christ.”

Middler seminarian and Student Body President Lauren Heywood of Washington, D.C., told the new students, “We are happy for you to be at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and about the steps you are starting. You have so much to offer — a fresh look, new ideas, a different form of expression from the rest of us.” She encouraged the new arrivals to “see how you fit in…”

During the orientation the new seminarians learned about the Chapel and seminary choir, campus security, worship and community life, the seminary’s food pantry, opportunities for service and outreach, the “Green (environmental) Team, the Student Advisory initiative, and the Krauth Memorial Library. They enjoyed a scavenger hunt, field games, time to socialize, and a community picnic.

video and photos from opening Eucharist and picnic

LTSP President the Rev. Dr. David Lose preached the sermon at LTSP’s Opening Eucharist on August 26, 2015. To provide context to Dr. Lose’s comments, earlier that morning two reporters of WDBJ TV, Roanoke, Virginia were shot and killed while on the air. WDBJ news director Kelly Zuber is the mother of seminarian Alex Zuber, who assisted in worship.

click to view the photo gallery

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"Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia seeks to educate and form public leaders who are committed to developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith for engagement in the world."