Active Shooter Training Event at both Campuses in December

In light of the mass shooting events, church leaders have asked to have training in how to respond if an active shooter comes into the building. United Lutheran Seminary will offer this training on both campuses.
This event is open to all folks interested in receiving such training. Questions can be directed to Chelle Huth, Director of Lifelong Learning, United Lutheran Seminary at It is a busy time of year, but ULS wanted to offer this in a timely manner. Additional training will be scheduled in the new year for both campuses.

Active Shooter Response Training Dates


Monday, December 18

10:00am -11:30am

Church of the Abiding Presence

United Lutheran Seminary Gettysburg Campus

Cost $10 per person, payable at the door (reservations/registration not necessary)


Tuesday, December 19

9:30am – 11:00am

Brossman Center

United Lutheran Seminary Philadelphia Campus

Cost $10 per person payable at the door (reservations/registration not necessary)


Video of the training will be available for a $10 fee. This video will be sent to you via email link a few days after the live training. The video will be taken down January 30, 2018. To receive this video send a check made out to United Lutheran Seminary and a note of the email address you would like the link sent to. Send to:

Chelle Huth

United Lutheran Seminary

61 Seminary Ridge

Gettysburg, PA 17325


Seminary Launches, Trustees’ Hold First Meeting

“In Touch” October 9 edition
From the President’s Office, United Lutheran Seminary
September 2017 Board Meeting News Summary

Meeting for the first time since the official July 1st inception of United Lutheran Seminary, its Board of Trustees gathered in Philadelphia September 25-27 to engage in oversight, gather information, meet and hear from faculty and students and complete its first meeting under the leadership of President Theresa F. Latini. In her opening remarks, President Latini said that “we have launched successfully, thanks to the faithfulness, flexibility, and forbearance of faculty, staff and students.”

President Latini continued with a focus on two resources she shared with Trustees, one on the growth of diversity among theological schools and the additional trend toward flexible and distributed learning programs. Healthy discussion about pedagogy and the new uses of technology in the classroom followed.

The Rev. Dr. Elise Brown chaired the meeting, establishing a flow to the gathering that promoted trustees getting to know each other and establish new patterns and processes that will serve the school going forward. The new bylaws of United Lutheran Seminary call for Bishops and Synod Vice Presidents to gather on the day before one of the board’s formal meetings to consult and collaborate on issues in theological education, leadership training and more. This year’s consultation focused on how to be partners with the church and facilitate growing the number of persons prepared to enter church leadership in light of anticipated future pastoral shortages.

Between sessions, the Rev. Dr. J. Wendell Mapson offered a stem-winding lecture (which Dr. Mapson spelled “s-e-r-m-o-n”) for the Urban Theological Institute’s annual lecture. Mapson delivered a moving Gospel-centered critique of current culture and the ways the cross and creedal faith can be entrapped by distracting social and cultural agendas. He contrasted healthy and unhealthy juxtaposition of Christ and culture, citing the now 60-year old, influential study of the topic by H. Richard Niebuhr. One board member remarked, “Rarely have I heard the Gospel proclaimed so clearly and so cogently to the situation in which we as a nation are living.” Watch for a video recording of the event on the seminary website.

With the incoming students this year swinging upward to a total of 78 in all degree programs on both campuses, the Board heard staff and faculty reports on the ways in which the Seminary is accommodating the increased student body. ELCA representative Jonathan Strandjord also noted significant increases in the entering numbers of ELCA students in M.Div. study across the network of seven seminaries. United Lutheran Seminary added classes, increased capacity to connect classrooms across the two campuses, and utilized more housing than originally anticipated. Trustees noted that the incoming student numbers reflect confidence in the school and affirmation of the learning environment offered by United Lutheran Seminary. With the unprecedented financial aid offer, available data points to lower rates and lower percentages of student loan debt compared to years past.

The new Board reviewed the several supporting organizations that continue as subsidiaries to the United Lutheran Seminary, including the two endowment foundations, the Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation, and the LTSP Corporation. On the way to fuller understanding of the supporting organizations, the Seminary will facilitate the best practices of communication and information flow to keep the Trustees of ULS well informed.

United Lutheran Seminary launched a formal search for a Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean to commence this fall. With thanksgiving for their service, the board recognized the service of Co-Dean Kristin Johnston Largen who concludes her role at the end of this calendar year, and thanked Co-Dean Kiran Sebastian for continuing in the role of Dean of the Seminary through the end of the academic year.

The school also launched a search for an Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, with a focus on the area of New Testament, augmenting the teaching of Brooks Schramm and Mark Vitalis Hoffman. Recognizing Dr. Vitalis Hoffman’s distinguished service on the faculty since 2002, the Trustees also appointed him to the Glatfelter Chair in Biblical Studies. United Lutheran Seminary anticipates public recognition and a rite of installation to be announced in the upcoming months. The chair became open earlier this year with the Rev. Dr. Richard Carlson taking a parish call in Nebraska.

In other actions, the board:

■ Reclassified Philadelphia based endowment investments to assist the financial
services staff in applying funds to ULS programs and scholarships;
■ Received reports from alumni/ae associations from both Gettysburg and Philadel-
phia constituencies, noting their plans to move forward together;
■ Was encouraged to ensure there is 100% of board members supporting United
Lutheran Seminary, as a signal of commitment and endorsement of the Semi-
nary’s mission. Trustees may expect invitations to give financial support over
the next weeks and months;
■ Received an update on plans for the Presidential inauguration November 2nd, with
inaugural lecture beginning at 3:30pm at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Lan-
caster, PA, followed by a panel of four to discuss and respond. The Holy
Eucharist will begin at 7pm including the rite of inauguration, and a reception
will be held between the afternoon and evening events;
■ Were encouraged to spread the news about the Decolonize Lutheranism conference
Nov 3 and 4 at Philadelphia and the Luther Colloquy at Gettysburg on Nov 1st.

The board meets again at the end of January of 2018 in Gettysburg.


Festive Reformation Commemoration Oct 31st at Gettysburg Chapel

Commemorating 500 years since the Lutheran Reformation began, United Lutheran Seminary will host a festival worship service Tuesday, October 31st at 7pm in its Gettysburg Chapel on Seminary Ridge.

On the exact date, 500 years after Luther published his 95 complaints (95 Theses) about what he believed to be church abuses, the service will follow the theme “Freed and Renewed in Christ: 500 years of grace in action.”

This will be a major, public “commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, said Dean of the Chapel in Gettysburg, Mark Oldenburg. “In keeping with that occasion, not only will it include powerful preaching and gracious leadership, but it will also be a 21st century, global version of Luther’s German Mass, using congregational song throughout the service.”  Bishop James Dunlop of the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will preside and preaching will be the Rev. Dr. Jayakiran Sebastian, Co-Dean of United Lutheran Seminary.  Oldenburg’s colleague, Dr. Michael Krentz, Dean of the Chapel in Philadelphia, will lead the special music of the service. 

An offering for the service will be received for Lutheran Disaster Response. The service is open to the public, and convenient free parking is available on the seminary campus. The chapel is located at 147 Seminary Ridge in Gettysburg.


Students Invite You to 52nd Luther Bowl, Reformation Commemoration

The students of United Lutheran Seminary have issued an invitation to Alumni/ae, Families, and Friends of the Seminary to join them for the 52nd Annual Luther Bowl flag football tournament hosted at the Gettysburg campus. This year’s tournament will be held on October 28, 2017 and will be coupled with a Commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

This year, in addition to the traditional flag-football tournament between ecumenical seminary partners from across the country, there will also be a family-friendly carnival, including face painting, games, and service outreach activities. After the tournament and carnival conclude, there will be a worship service beginning at 5:30PM to commemorate the Reformation, followed by a potluck reception and live music.

Student leaders A.J. Houseman and Karl Mulbach added, “We would be honored if you would join us for this celebration worship and potluck reception. There will be fun for all ages, so please feel free to bring the whole family.” Please RSVP to Karl Muhlbach at before October 23 if you will be joining us. For those interested in contributing a financial donation to offset the cost, checks may be made out to United Lutheran Seminary with Luther Bowl as the memo.

See more at

Search for VP of Academic Affairs & Academic Dean Launched

United Lutheran Seminary invites applications for the position of Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, beginning July 1, 2018. The Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean takes overall responsibility for the supervision and support of faculty; for the design, implementation, and assessment of academic programs and policies; and, for the development and management of all academic offices. Along with administrative experience, the successful candidate will have a strong record of teaching and scholarship in theological education.

The VPAA/AD is a member of the faculty with rank commensurate with training and experience, with a three year, renewable contract. The VPAA/AD is elected by the Board of Trustees and reports directly to the President.

Please send a cover letter, vita, and the contact information of three references to President Theresa F. Latini, c/o Director of Human Resources,

Application review will begin on November 1; applications received by this time will receive full consideration, but the search will remain open until the position is filled. For a complete job description and to learn more about United Lutheran Seminary, see  announcement and position description

It is the policy of the United Lutheran Seminary, in accordance with its By-Laws, Human Resource Practices and applicable federal/state laws and regulations, not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, disability, age, veteran status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, parental status, disability, family medical history or genetic information, or any other non-merit based factor. These protections extend to all management practices and decisions, including recruitment and hiring practices, appraisal systems, promotions, and training and career development programs. 

Croft Publishes Book on Hope Filled Preaching During Slavery and Post Civil War

Book Announcement: The Motif of Hope in African American Preaching during Slavery and the Post-Civil War Era

United Lutheran Seminary is delighted to announce the publication of a book uncovering the hope filled preaching connected to 19th Century African American religious history by the Rev. Dr. Wayne E. Croft Sr., a member of the faculty.
The Motif of Hope in African American Preaching during Slavery and the Post-Civil War Era: There’s a Bright Side Somewhere explores the use of the motif of hope within African American preaching during slavery (1803–1865) and the post-Civil War era (1865–1896). It discusses the presentation of the motif of hope in African American preaching from an historical perspective and how this motif changed while in some instances remained the same with the changing of its historical context. Furthermore, this discussion illuminates a reality that hope has been a theme of importance throughout the history of African American preaching.

Croft is the  Jeremiah A. Wright Sr. Associate Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics in African American Studies at United Lutheran Seminary, and he is also Senior Pastor of the St. Paul’s Baptist Church in West Chester, Pennsylvania

Commenting on Croft’s work is faculty colleague and fellow preacher Karyn Wiseman, who said, “We live in a world where hope is in high demand and where it is often missing. In this book, Dr. Wayne Croft mines African American history to bring hope to the forefront for preachers and readers by examining the motif of hope in black scholarship and preaching. A great addition to your library and for your preaching.”

The book is published by Rowan’s Lexington Books line, and will be available for purchase in October. Contact Rowan/Lexington through telephone at 1-800-462-6420 or on the web at

Inauguration of President Latini

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The inauguration of the Rev. Dr. Theresa F. Latini as the first president of United Lutheran Seminary will take place on November 2, 2017 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 31 South Duke Street, Lancaster, PA. The day will include a series of events that begin at 3:30PM with the Rev. Dr. Latini’s inaugural address followed by responses from a panel of scholars and discussion. A reception, scheduled for 5:30pm will provide time for meeting and greeting  between events and a festival worship service of Holy Communion including the rite of Inauguration will take begin at 7PM. Watch the Inauguration Page for greater detail, parking instructions and more.

United Lutheran Seminary Remembers Robert Jenson

United Lutheran Seminary marked the death of Robert W. Jenson September 5th with sadness and deep thanksgiving for his two decades of service to the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, a predecessor institution.

Jenson led a career of teaching and research that energized wide ranging Lutheran and ecumenical audiences, but anchored a generation of pastors and church leaders while serving on the faculty from 1968 to 1988.

United Lutheran Seminary President Theresa F. Latini said that “For a significant swath of alums, Robert Jenson was and is an iconic figure and a key energizing intellectual force for a generation of theologians, pastors, and church leaders.”

During the two decades he spend at Gettysburg, he served on Lutheran-Episcopal dialogue team from 1968 and was later attached to the Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue.  Among his many books Lutheranism: The Theological Movement and Its Confessional Writings (written with Eric Gritsch) and Visible Words anchored a new emphasis on and influence of systematic theology.  Jenson’s influence on sacramental theology and practices was extensive in the latter half of 20th Century Lutheranism.  To that end, and in reaction to a church statement on communion practices in the 1970’s, he participated in early communion of young baptized Christians, a practice the Seminary at Gettysburg had already adopted and, although controversial at the time, soon became the practice across the church.

With his friend, Carl Braaten, he served as a founding editor of Dialog: A Journal of Theology. After leaving Gettysburg, Jenson and Braaten founded the conservative Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology in 1991.  The center organized numerous ecumenical conferences, and began publishing a journal Pro Ecclesia.

To faculty colleague and historian Gerald Christianson, his “theology was not conservative (his social/ethical positions frequently were), but respectful of the tradition; nor was it ‘modern’ in the sense of following Whitehead or the 20th century moderns, but stressing the approach of Barth on the dynamic of the Word and the contrast between the gospel and religion.”  Christianson added, “I learned a great deal from him.”

Born August 2, 1930, Jenson was educated at Luther College, Decorah, IA, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, the University of Minnesota, the University of Heidelberg (Dr. Theol.), and the University of Basel, SW.  He was ordained in 1955 in the American Lutheran Church, and became rostered in the Lutheran Church in America in 1968.

Late in his career he completed work on his magnum opus, the two-volume Systematic Theology (1997–99), which has since been widely regarded as one of the most important and creative recent works of systematic theology. In a review of this work, Wolfhart Pannenberg described Jenson as “one of the most original and knowledgeable theologians of our time.”

President Emeritus Michael Cooper-White reflected on Jenson’s place in theological education: “Generations of us students at Gettysburg Seminary (now United Lutheran Seminary) were privileged to sit at the feet of this preeminent Lutheran theologian of the 20th century.  Jens’ indefatigable and unrelenting insistence on proclaiming God’s gospel of unconditional love will continue to reverberate even though his prolific pen has been put down and his provocative voice will no longer be heard among us.”


Jenson’s funeral is scheduled for 3pm Saturday, September 16, 2017 at Trinity Church (Episcopal), 33 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ. Memorial contributions should go to the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology. Please make out the check to CCET and send it to this address: CCET C/o Immanuel Lutheran Church, 122 East 88th Street, New York, NY 10128.


God’s Yes and No: A Response to the Violence in Charlottesville, VA

The good news of the gospel is a profound “YES” spoken to humanity. Yes, we are justified by grace through faith. At the same time, the good news of the gospel contains within it a clear and unequivocal NO; otherwise it is not good news. It is a NO to the ways we sin against God and our neighbors. It it is a NO to white supremacy and anti-Semitism and its many expressions on full display in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend: flaming torches, Nazi chants, intimidation, physical violence, and murder. It also is a NO to attempts to justify white supremacy, including appeals to free speech and many sides.

 There are no sides when it comes to proclaiming this gospel. There is but one place to stand, to speak, to act, and to pray. It is the place where Jesus stands, alongside of and for the sake of the liberation of people of color from exploitation and oppression perpetuated by white persons and groups in order to advance their own wealth, power, and privilege.

United Lutheran Seminary joins those who have proclaimed God’s NO to the hatred and violence on full display not only in Charlottesville over the weekend but also each and every other day throughout the United States of America. We stand in solidarity with Bishop William Gohl and other alumni of our predecessor schools who made public witness in Charlottesville against racism. We pray with the ELCA conference of bishops for God’s kingdom to come on earth as in heaven. Trusting in the Spirit’s work among us, we commit ourselves to peace, justice, and reconciliation, without which our proclamation of the gospel rings hollow.

On behalf of United Lutheran Seminary,

The Reverend Dr. Theresa F. Latini, President
The Reverend Dr. Kristin Johnsten Largen, and
The Reverend Dr. J. Jayakiran Sebastian, Co-Deans


Also signing in agreement to this statement are members of the faculty:

The Rev. Dr. Wayne Croft
The Rev. Dr. Katie Day
The Rev. Dr. Maria Erling
Dr. Vincent Evener
The Rev. Dr. Mark Vitalis Hoffman
The Rev. Dr. John Hoffmeyer
Dr. Michael Krentz
The Rev. Dr. Charles Leonard
The Rev. Dr. Mark Oldenburg
The Rev. Dr. Storm Swain
The Rev. Dr. Karyn L. Wiseman
The Rev. Dr. Gilson Waldkoenig
The Rev. Dr. Angela Zimmann
The Rev. Dr. Martin Zimmann
The Rev. Dr. Alison de Forest
Mr. Evan Boyd


John Largen Appointed Interim Director of Contextual Formation

The Rev. Dr. John Largen will serve as for United Lutheran Seminary beginning 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 United Lutheran Seminary 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 previously 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. He 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.