ULS President’s Newsletter | Fall Term 2018-19
Volume II, Issue II
Last week, I was invited to make some personal remarks in recognition of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Unfortunately, my wife fell ill. My travel to Arizona to be by her side rendered me unable to present these remarks in person (she is fine now — thanks to many of you for the prayers). The following is a transcript of that talk.
Greetings and God’s blessings as we have observed a day of service and continue this week of special recognition of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his divinely inspired leadership and actions during his short stay among God’s children.
I bring you greetings from my colleagues at United Lutheran Seminary, students, faculty, staff and alumni who are a part of the ULS legacy of a seminary steeped in a desire to live out the Word of God in message and action during the United States Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg was fought on the fields just outside my office window on the Gettysburg campus of ULS. The two institutions that joined in unity to create ULS were founded in 1826 and separated for reasons of theological difference in 1863, only to rejoin hands to do God’s work in 2017. History will show that the founder of ULS, Rev. Dr. Schmucker, and Rev. Dr. King had much in common, especially the love of God and the love of their neighbors.
I first met Dr. King when I was 17 years old when he spoke at an event in Louisville, KY (Some years ago ⎯ many years ago). I was extremely impressed and vowed to try to live a life of service inspired by his words and actions. His journey from Michael King to Martin Luther King is interesting ⎯ almost biblical: As Jacob became Israel, Saul became Paul, and Simon became Peter, Michael became Martin Luther King Jr. after Michael King Sr.’s study of Martin Luther in Germany in 1934. Divinely inspired, perhaps.
I was in my first year at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN; my roommate was a pre-seminary student and I had to take a religion course every semester as a requirement of the general studies curriculum. I attended chapel every day (attendance was not required, but I controlled the sound system for chapel services.) There, I was steeped in Lutheranism and took advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as possible about Martin Luther.
Later, I had the special opportunity of working with Coretta Scott King in helping create the MLK Center for Non-Violence Social Change in Atlanta, GA. Years later (1998) I invited her to be the guest speaker at the college where I was president in Louisville, only blocks from the place I first heard Martin Luther King Jr. speak.
Dr. King was very responsible for my youthful formation and development, which has led me to where I am today. I am sure he had a similar impact on many of us, as through the efforts of ULS in Uniting, Learning, Serving in the word and work of God, and through the mission and work of organizations such as Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPA). ULS has been affiliated with LAMPA for several years in our joint efforts to “strive for justice and peace in all the earth.”
“How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!”
May the work and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King ring loud for more than one day a year.
Righteous Father, Lord of Justice, be with us in this time when we remember the words and works of your beloved Martin, who is with you in glory. Help us to remember the lessons of his life, even as we mourn his death ⎯ too soon, oh Lord, too soon! Let his struggle for justice, through his love for you and for all your children, inspire us in our words, in our actions, and in our lives, and all in the name of your son, our savior, Jesus Christ.
Significant Events and Updates
Jan. 24, 2019: Met with LAMPA Director Tracey DePasquale and Program Director Lynn S. Fry, a 2006 graduate of ULS, to renew our membership on the LAMPA Advisory Board. Dr. Gil Waldkoenig serves in that important position.
Board of Trustees Meeting
The January 2019 meeting of the Board of Trustees is currently happening on the Philadelphia Campus. An exhaustive report of the motions is forthcoming.