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United Notes – Summer 2017

The Rev. Becca Erlich new Associate Director of Admissions for United Lutheran Seminary (ULS)

The Rev. Becca ErlichThe Rev. Becca Erlich (MDiv 2011) began her call as United Lutheran Seminary (ULS) Associate Director of Admissions in late July. Pr. Erlich will be based at the ULS Gettysburg campus but expects to be on the Philadelphia campus from time to time.

Pr. Ehrlich grew up just north of Albany, NY in an interfaith household. She has been involved in performing ever since she can remember — dance, theatre, and music, especially singing. She attended Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania for her undergraduate degree, where she double-majored in Dance and Dramatic Arts Criticism. She then attended LaSalle University in Philadelphia, earning a Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry in 2007.  She began discerning a call to ordained ministry while at LaSalle, and entered the MDiv degree at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, graduating from seminary in 2011.

She has been working in ministry over the last 13 years, doing mostly children, youth, and young adult/campus ministry work. She served in her first call at Zion Lutheran Church in Frewsburg, New York as their solo pastor from 2012-2015. She then served as one of the pastors at Zion Lutheran Church in Clarence Center, New York before her call to ULS. Pr. Erlich also serves as chaplain of the Lutheran Summer Gathering at Silver Bay, an annual week on retreat and renewal sponsored by the Upstate and Metro New York synods.

Pr. Erlich and husband Will Platnick have been married for four years, and are moving to Gettysburg this month. Will served as a Conference Deacon in the Niagara Frontier Conference of the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, supply preaching and leading worship, and plans to continue study for an MDiv at ULS.


United Lutheran Seminary appoints John Largen as Interim Director of Contextual Formation

The Rev. John LargenThe Rev. Dr. John Largen began serving as Interim Director of Contextual Formation for United Lutheran Seminary (ULS) on August 1, 2017. In this one-year, half-time interim appointment, he will work closely with the Rev. Dr. Charles Leonard, Director of Field Formation, as well as other faculty and staff members supporting contextual and field education.

Reporting to ULS Co-Dean Jayakiran Sebastian, Dr. Largen will have major responsibilities for internship placements, student assessment, Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) evaluation, and the facilitation of good communication between the Seminary, supervisors, field education sites, and students.

Dr. Largen served many years at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina as the Pastor to the Seminary Community for Spiritual Formation. He has parish experience in Virginia and Pennsylvania, and he served as a longtime member of the ELCA Virginia Synod Candidacy Committee. He has also been an internship and field work supervisor for Gettysburg Seminary. Dr. Largen is a graduate of Newberry College, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, and the Graduate Theological Foundation of South Bend, Indiana. Most recently, Dr. Largen was Chaplain for the Transition at Gettysburg Seminary and he taught the semester-long Spiritual Formation course at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.


Faculty Updates

The Rev. Dr. Wayne E. Croft Sr. presented Edwin T. Dahlberg Peace and Justice Award

Wayne Croft receiving the Edwin T. Dahlberg Peace and Justice awardThe Rev. Dr. Wayne E. Croft Sr, Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr. Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics in African American Studies at ULS, was recognized by the American Baptist Churches USA (ABC-USA) Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) with the Edwin T. Dahlberg Peace and Justice Award for outstanding work for peace and justice at the ABHMS 2017 Biennial Mission Summit in Portland, Oregon, in July. From the ABHMS report on the Summit:

At Sunday evening’s worship celebration, [ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey] Haggray presented the Edwin T. Dahlberg Peace and Justice award to the Rev. Dr. Wayne E. Croft Sr., senior pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist Church, West Chester, Pa.

Croft was chosen for the award, Haggray said, because of his “courageous dedication to social justice, advocacy, peace and human rights, as well as his compassionate Christian witness, as evidenced by his standing with marginalized people from Wayne Croft receiving the Edwin T. Dahlberg Peace and Justice awardall walks of life in the Philadelphia region, throughout Pennsylvania and across the United States.”

Haggray highlighted Croft’s lifetime commitment to social justice as well as his innumerable accomplishments, including organizing a variety of much-needed “compassionate conversations.” Among them was a public forum held only two weeks after the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African-American teen killed by a Caucasian police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

“Before a crowd of more than 200 individuals of all races,” Haggray said, “the question ‘How do we take steps to keep what happened in Ferguson from happening in our own backyard?’ was addressed by a panel that included local government officials, law-enforcement personnel, the town’s chief of police, and police officers from surrounding townships. Dr. Croft’s influence was apparent many times in 2016 also, perhaps most notably when St. Paul’s Baptist Church helped to inform statewide guidelines regarding police-involved shootings.”

Dr. Croft talked with PS Portions about his ministry and the Award earlier this year. You’ll find the story here.

(Photos and report from the Summit courtesy ABHMS)


The Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert’s latest work: Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran Traditions

Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran TraditionsThe Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert, Ministerium of Pennsylvania Emeritus Professor of Church History, is General Editor with collaborators Mark A. Granquist, Mary Jane Haemig, Robert Kolb, Mark C. Mattes, and Jonathan Strom on the newly-released Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran Traditions (Baker Publishing Group, 2017). The book’s web page tells about the Dictionary:

In the five hundred years since the publication of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, a rich set of traditions have grown up around that action and the subsequent events of the Reformation. This up-to-date dictionary by leading theologians and church historians covers Luther’s life and thought, key figures of his time, and the various traditions he continues to influence.

Prominent scholars of the history of Lutheran traditions have brought together experts in church history representing a variety of Christian perspectives to offer a major, cutting-edge reference work. Containing nearly six hundred articles, this dictionary provides a comprehensive overview of Luther’s life and work and the traditions emanating from the Wittenberg Reformation. It traces the history, theology, and practices of the global Lutheran movement, covering significant figures, events, theological writings and ideas, denominational subgroups, and congregational practices that have constituted the Lutheran tradition from the Reformation to the present day.

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