From My Desk to Yours

From My Desk to Yours: The ULS Class of 2019

Commencement and Celebration: Moments to Remember

ULS President’s Newsletter | Spring Term 2018-19

Volume II, Issue 10


“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like the son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14. (NIV)

On May 17, 2019 we were blessed with a wonderful spring day in Lancaster, PA at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. The ULS 2019 graduating class gathered in the narthex of the church in preparation for an especially memorable event. On this beautiful spring day, the Friday before the Fifth Sunday of Easter, the academic apparel was just as colorful and varied as the flowers, trees and plants lining the grounds of the church. An atmosphere of joy, laughter and friendly chatter was the scene of the day for the participants, their family members, alumni, friends and other members of the ULS community.

Faculty, staff and graduates entered the sanctuary during the singing of “O God Beyond All Praising”. The invocation was offered by the Rev. Dr. John Largen, Dean of Gettysburg Chapel, followed by welcomes from Sister Dottie Almoney, ELCA Deaconess serving as Director of Education and Outreach, and myself. Remarks of appreciation were given by 2019 graduate Sarah Garrett Krey after scripture readings by ULS students.

Sarah Garrett Krey

Following the student presentations, Sheila D. Booker, Philadelphia campus Choir Director, and Cathy Elkiss, Gettysburg Campus Musician and Choir Director, led the Combined Chapel Choir in an offering of Mark Mummert’s Psalm 46.

After this, Rev. Dr. Carol Lytch, President of Lancaster Theological Seminary, received an Honorary Degree from United Lutheran Seminary, Doctor of Divinity Honoris Causa. Dr. Lytch presented a wonderful Commencement address entitled Returning Well.

Rev. Dr. Carol Lytch

After the commencement address and the singing of “Alleluia! Jesus has Risen!”, certificates were awarded to ten graduates of the UTI Certificate in Christian Ministry Program, one graduate of the UTI Certificate in Church Leadership Program, and nine graduates of the UTI Certificate in African American Studies.

One graduate received the Certificate in Anglican Studies and one received the Certificate in Theological Education for Emerging Ministries. Three graduates received the Master of Arts in Ministerial Leadership Degree, one received the Master of Arts in Public Leadership Degree, and one received the Master of Arts Degree.

Thirty-one graduates received the Master of Divinity Degree and four graduates received the Master of Sacred Theology Degree.

Five graduates received the Doctor of Ministry Degree and one received the Doctor of Philosophy Degree.  There were 68 ULS graduates for 2019; 54 graduated in 2018.

After another offering of the Combined Chapel Choir and statements of welcome from the Alumni/ae leaders, the benediction was given by the Rev. Dr. Charles Leonard, Dean of the Philadelphia Chapel. Following the benediction, the Faculty, staff and graduates of the Class of 2019 processed to the singing of “O God beyond All Praising.”

Please note, the Commencement ceremony was live-streamed and can be viewed here.

A special thanks to Julie Ritter, Register and Senior Assistant to the Dean, Evan Boyd, Library Director and Archivist and their colleagues for their efforts in planning and directing the 2019 ULS Commencement.

Dear Lord, I offer prayers for the success of our graduates as they accept their calls and continue in their positions as servants of God in a changing church and world. May the commencement service forever be a moment to remember for the Class of 2019, and a constant reminder that by the grace of God and the theological education and formation received at ULS, their calling as the hands and feet of Jesus will touch the lives of all whom they encounter. Godspeed to our graduates and thanks for the support they received from relatives, friends, faculty, staff and supporters of ULS. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Richard Green
Interim President
United Lutheran Seminary

Significant Events & Updates

Board of Trustees Meeting May 15-16, 2019

The Board of Trustees met from May 15-16, 2019 on the Gettysburg campus. Reports were given by the President’s Cabinet, Alumni/ae leaders, Student Body, ELCA Domestic Mission, the LTSP Reconstituted Board of Directors, and on the American Battlefield Trust land sale. All reports were accepted by the Board. See below for the list of motions that were passed:

Strategic Plan 2019-2024

Motion Description: Motion to adopt the Strategic Plan as presented.  Motion approved 17 – 1.

Executive Committee

Motion Description: Motion to recommend Mrs. Cheryl Williams as a BOT member to the Presidential Search Committee. Motion approved with 1 abstention.

Motion Description: Motion to receive Mr. Fred Risser who has been reappointed by the Upstate NY synod and Rev. Cean James who has been appointed by UTI.  Motion approved unanimously.

Motion Description: Motion to form a task force committee to address the Service Delivery Model for Theological Education for the Northeast.  Motion approved unanimously.

Governance, Infrastructure, and Planning Committee

The report of the GIP Committee was presented by the Rev. Craig Miller and was received by the Board of trustees

Resource Development and Financial Management Committee

Motion Description: Motion to receive and approve the audit from 2017 – 2018 fiscal year.  Motion approved unanimously.

Motion Description: Motion to recommend to the Board of Trustees that they adopt the budget as presented for the fiscal year 2019 – 2020. Motion approved unanimously.

Motion Description: Motion to approve the authorized signatories for general purposes with PNC Bank. Motion approved unanimously.

Motion Description: Motion to establish the Ellis Chair at 2.5 million dollars. Motion approved unanimously.

Motion Description: Motion to approve the LTSP Endowment draw rate of $675,000 for the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year. Motion approved unanimously.

Motion Description: Motion to approve a draw from the ULS endowment of $3,075,000 and that the draw rate for the restricted funds be 5.25%.  Motion approved unanimously.

Motion Description: Motion to retain Baker Tilly for auditing services in the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year.  Motion approved unanimously.

Academic and Leadership Development Committee

Motion Description: Motion that the Rev. Dr. Karyn Wiseman and the Rev. Dr. Storm Swain be recommended to the Board of Trustees as: the Herman G. Stuempfle Associate Professor of Homiletics and the Frederick Houk Borsch Associate Professor of Anglican Studies, Pastoral Care and Theology, respectively. Motion approved unanimously.

Enrollment Services and Student Life Committee

The report of the ESSL Committee was presented by the Rev. Sara Lilja and received by the Board of Trustees.

Diversity Committee

The report of the Diversity Committee was presented by Bishop Guy Erwin and received by the Board of Trustees.


Board of Trustees 2nd Anti-Racism workshop

On May 15th, as part of the Board Meeting, the second anti-racism workshop was conducted by Judith Roberts, the ELCA Program Director for Racial Justice. The theme for the workshop was “Becoming a Catalyst for Social Justice”, with the goal of “Institutionalizing Racial Equity.” The report of the workshop activities can be found here.


New Faculty Appointments

We extend warm welcomes to Dr. Kyle K. Schiefelbein-Guerrero, the new Professor of Worship and Liturgy and Rev. Dr. Reed Carlson, the new Professor of Old Testament, effective with the 2019-20 Academic Year.


Retirement of the Rev. Dr. Katie Day

Thanks to the Rev. Dr. Katie Day upon her retirement after 34 years teaching at the Seminary. In recognition of her distinguished service to United Lutheran Seminary and its predecessor, the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, the Board of Trustees passed the motion that Dr. Day will be made the Charles A. Scheiren Emerita Professor of Church in Society. Thank you for your hard work, dedication, and service to theological education and the students. Your presence and contributions will be missed, and we wish you well in your retirement!


Follow up from Town Hall Meeting with Dr. Barry Dornfeld

On Thursday May 2nd Dr. Barry Dornfeld of the Center for Applied Research and his colleague Wyatt Golledge came to the Philadelphia campus to facilitate conversations on trauma, diversity, and inclusion. The Town Hall was available for participation of our Gettysburg campus and DL students via Zoom. The conversation was open to and attended by ULS faculty, staff, and students. A robust conversation took place surrounding the trauma students faced over the past year and how we as a community can continue working through this trauma together.


Update from the Presidential Search Committee

The Presidential Search Committee has been hard at work and has an update for the community. The update can be viewed here.