We write this statement to the whole community to share our commitment as a faculty to continue to work together to strengthen the integrity and trustworthiness of our seminary, and to heal the wounds caused by and reopened in the recent crisis of leadership.
We write as faculty who represent, in some ways, the diversity of the ULS that we believe in. We are Lutherans and we come from diverse denominations. We are black and white, gay and straight, U.S. born and immigrants. We are Gettysburg and Philadelphia, resident, commuters, and distributed. We are a body that still mourns some of what we lost in the merger. And yet as a faculty we also share a strong commitment to unity, along with our similarly diverse staff, student body, alumni/ae, and partner congregations and agencies. We thank those many constituents who voiced their reasoned and passionate opinions to the Seminary leadership over these past three weeks, as did we as individuals and as a collective. We are a people united in our commitment to Christ.
We lament that our President did not fully disclose her employment history prior to taking her call, and we lament that our Administration repeatedly kept this damaging secret. These actions did not model the public theology that we seek to teach and learn. We are profoundly saddened for those whose previous traumas, often from oppressions based upon race and/or sexual orientation and/or gender identity, have been triggered by these events. We are profoundly saddened that our LGBTQIA community was wounded by these actions and we repudiate conversion therapy in all its facets. We are profoundly saddened that this crisis has in some way marginalized the ongoing concerns raised by non-Lutheran and/or African American students as to how committed to diversity we truly are. We are profoundly saddened that the sense of community and reputation of our fledgling institution has been damaged. However, we are also profoundly moved: by the ways we have seen students care for each other across constituencies; by the ways we have seen staff members serve faithfully in their duties despite unexpected changes; by the ways we have seen alumni/ae and partner congregations and agencies reach out with care and commitment. We faculty renew our resolve to our common vocation to educate and to prepare transformative public leaders to serve faith communities and institutions guided by God’s justice and love.
We will continue to pray for students, staff, alumni/ae, friends, partners, the ongoing Board, the Rev. Dr. Latini, and those Board members who resigned. We pray for Christ’s presence, peace, truth, and mercy for all in the months ahead. And we look with hope, through this season of Lent, Holy Week, and the Resurrection of our Lord, to a clearer fulfillment of God’s beloved community among us.
Mark Vitalis Hoffman
Kristin Johnston Largen
Karyn L. Wiseman