ULS President’s Newsletter | Summer Term 2018-19
Volume I, Issue 8
I pray this letter finds you well. I have had many opportunities to meet and speak with several of you over the course of my first two months at the Seminary. It has been a blessing to participate in one Alumni Board meeting, a meeting with the respective alumni association presidents for LTSP and LTSG, (Annemarie Cook and Kelley Ketcham) and many one-on-one chats. I look forward to many more such inspiring conversations in the future. This President’s Newsletter is dedicated to you, our distinguished alumni. We are sincerely grateful for you and the blessings you bestow upon the entire ULS community and the significant legacy of contributions you have created for the ULS Class of 2018 (and those that will follow). You are an inspiration for all of us!
The unification of our two great institutions as servants to our Lord has been a blessing and an accomplishment to be celebrated and revered. Students having more flexibility in scheduling, more options in how they take classes, and a unique intellectual synergy are only a few of the fruits of coming together as one world-class academic assembly. Our Faculty and staff have also reaped these benefits as well as gaining additional connections and perspectives from new colleagues.
Some of our alumni have seen first-hand many of the benefits of the consolidated programs. However, others may have not had the opportunity close proximity and presence affords. If you fall into this category, consider this your special invitation from myself, the faculty, staff members, and administrators to learn more about and participate in the many enhanced programs and presentations at ULS.
This new unity can, and should, be a cause for celebration for alumni as well. Not too long ago, the American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and the Lutheran Church in America combined their unique attributes to become the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, forming a stronger, more comprehensive, more inclusive, and more diverse Body. Just as the formation of the ELCA created a new denomination better suited to spreading and living the Gospel in a rapidly changing word, so did the creation of ULS create a new seminary better suited to educate future pastors to “Unify, Learn and Serve.”
And Holy Scripture is full of tales of the power of unity. In the Hebrew Scriptures, Israel became a mighty nation when its 12 tribes truly worked together as one body. Jesus’ message in the Gospels is about the unity of all people in God’s love, and one of the insistent drumbeats in the Epistles of Paul is the image of Christian believers coming together as the “members” of the body of Christ.
The histories of the institutions that became ULS have always contained an element of sibling rivalry. Over the years, the rivalry was recognized and exemplified in the annual Luther Bowl, where friendly competition always ended in mutual celebration.
We have come together, and I am asking alumni how we can help you to remember those characteristics in the heritage of each school that allowed such mutual celebration. How can we help alumni better appreciate our separate and mutual heritage as we continue to unify two campuses, two groups of graduates, and two long and grand traditions?
I also am asking alumni: How do you want the students of today to remember your school and experiences as students, as seminarians? What do you (as a pre-consolidation alumnus or alumna of Gettysburg or Philadelphia) have to say to today’s students at ULS?
We are interested in and invested in helping all alumni to maintain vital connections with our combined community. To that end, I am asking alumni to write to our current ULS students about what you remember about your formative years in Philadelphia or Gettysburg.
How would you encourage a current student? What do you wish you knew during your days at the seminary?
Tell today’s future pastors how your institution molded you and offer advice on how to use their seminary experience to shape the pastor they hope to be.
Click here to write your letter to a current student, to join your generation with theirs in our common purpose of Unity, Learning, and Service to God and the world.
Gentle and merciful God, who sees the best in all of us, help us to see the best in the glorious tradition of the seminaries that have combined their unique resources to bring together the best that they have to offer in our seminary today. Just as you combined the twelve tribes of Israel into a mighty whole, so we ask you to help us combine our strengths into a stronger whole. Just as Jesus taught us that we are equal in the eyes of God, help us to see only brothers and sisters in our new unity. Just as Paul charged us with unity in the body of Christ, help us to come together as one true body in our two campuses. And know, dear Lord, that we ask these things to enable us to spread your Word and act your will in the name of your son, our savior Jesus Christ.
Significant Events and Updates
- Held an initial strategic planning meeting for ULS
- Visited with the LTSP Alumni Board during its regular meeting
- Met with 3 faculty members and 4 students
- Participated in a meeting with the Faculty Permanency Task Force
- Had a wonderful meeting with Bishop Pat Davenport
- Hosted a meeting for the Institutional Advancement Team
- Spoke with a candidate during their interview for the position of Director of Student Services at ULS.
- Via telephone conference, researched several opportunities for ULS to increase its external financial and partnership opportunities.