Weekly Presidential Update: 4/20

Weekly Presidential Update • April 20, 2018 • Third Friday of Easter

Dear Friends in Christ,

As our journey together continues, it’s important to me that I’m open, honest and candid with you, the ULS community, about the most recent news, activities and conversations on our campuses. To that end, I’d like to share with you what has been taking place since I last communicated with you.

  • I connected individually with two students.
  • I met with the alumni council of LTSG.
  • I had lunch with the graduating seniors on the Gettysburg campus.
  • I spoke to the attendees at the Gettysburg campus convocation.
  • I attended Chapel on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • I was interviewed for an article in the Gettysburg Times.
  • I joined an alumni gathering.
  • I went to the alumni awards banquet.
  • I was part of the LSTG/LTSP/ULS alumni organization meeting.
  • I took part in a board of trustees call.
  • This week was dedicated to Gettysburg because of Convocation and next week I will be in Philadelphia all week to be involved with the activities surrounding Convocation.

If you’d like to schedule time to speak one-on-one with me, please reach out to Joe Carlucci (jcarlucci@uls.edu), who will be happy to schedule a time for us to connect.

News and Happenings

As I mentioned in my note last week, we’re seeking an interim president.

Click here to view the interim president job listing.

We are in the process of gathering names to review. We’re currently working with the search firm Registry, to identify potential candidates. We anticipate that they’ll be able to provide us five to seven names to review in the coming week. We will then select three of those candidates to interview the week of May 7. I’ve established an interview team of:

  • Board members Bishop Claire Burkat and Dr. Tommie Robinson;
  • Faculty member Dr. Quintin Robertson;
  • Vice President of Advancement Rev. Dr. Angela Zimmann;
  • First-year student Carla Cristopher-Waid; and
  • Myself.

This group will narrow down the selection for a meeting with the faculty and the president’s council. Then a recommendation will be taken to the board of trustees for their May 17 meeting. We’ve developed a working description of the position, which is available here, if you’d like to review it. If you have feedback, please feel free to pass it along.

Good news about one of our students, Elizabeth Peter, who had a sermon she prepared for class published in her professor’s new book.

Elizabeth Peter - United Lutheran Seminary

In the fall semester I took African American Prophetic Preaching at Howard Divinity School. We preached only one sermon in the class, from the Old Testament, 15-20min. and the course challenged me to learn a different style, research and exegetical process. After I preached my sermon my professor, Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert, emailed me to say that the Holy Spirit has been working and that he is supposed to add a section on Gender Discrimination and Female leadership and that he would like to write a new section and have my sermon be a part of it. I am so blessed, honored, and humbled to have a small section with my sermon “A Seat at the Table” published within Exodus Preaching: Crafting Sermons about Justice and Hope by Kenyatta Gilbert.

Thank you to everyone who has sent encouraging words and support and for joining in my excitement!!!

We’re happy to announce a new staff member who will be joining our team on July 1. The Rev. Gregg Knepp has agreed to take on the position of Director of Contextual Education. Greg is a 1998 graduate of LTSG and his accomplishments are impressive. He has served as pastor/redeveloper of a predominantly African-American urban congregation, responsible for all aspects of pastoral ministry; served as teaching parish supervisor for two seminary students and internship supervisor for six seminary students; worked ecumenically with a local Episcopal congregation in community development; and established multiple congregational and community partnerships. He has most recently served as senior pastor at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Ocean City, Maryland.

We’ve contracted with Dr. M. Christine Kennedy to conduct work with various groups in the seminary community. Dr. Kennedy is an assistant professor in the Community and Trauma Counseling Program at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Kennedy is also a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She has extensive experience working with diverse communities around issues of trauma, cultural literacy and conflict resolution. Dr. Kennedy’s role is to engage stakeholders in identifying core issues at ULS and supporting the development of a collaborative plan of action among the stakeholders and leadership to address the identified problems. We are hopeful that her work will allow students to have a safe environment to express concerns and work through pressing issues. In addition, she will be developing a set of action plans for the issues that arise in her conversations. Please welcome Dr. Kennedy as she begins her work with us.


I will be in Philadelphia all of next week to be involved with the activities surrounding Convocation. The week following will begin in Philadelphia and end in Gettysburg, with a side trip to Washington D.C. for a board meeting of the Washington Theological Consortium.

Final Thoughts

I had the opportunity to meet with the alumni council from LTSG and greet the joint alumni council that is forming as we will have our first alumni from ULS in May. One of the blessings we have at ULS is the strong support of our alumni. As we went through the consolidation and difficult transition of leadership, there were questions and concerns from the alumni. Those questions came out of a deep concern and love for these two schools as we brought them back together after 153 years. I am so appreciative of all the letters and calls that have come from alumni. Each one of us who received our ministry formation here have a deep sense of connection to this school. Our classmates, professors, classes, worship and field work shaped us as leaders for the church. I give thanks for all that the alumni have done, and continue to do, to support the ULS. Please watch for communication as the alumni associations work together to discover ways to connect LTSP, LTSG and now our ULS graduates together.

Gracious God, we give thanks for those saints that have gone before us who have laid the foundation on which we can build. We are grateful for the commitment of the alumni of this institution who have created a legacy of leadership here. We are thankful for the guidance of your spirit as we move into a new season of this seminary. Keep us ever mindful that our faith shaped by you is working in us. In this Easter season, let the light of your Son enlighten our way, a light most clearly seen in the resurrection of Jesus. Death and darkness have no power over us, and we live in the light of the resurrected Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.

Bishop Jim Dunlop
Acting President
United Lutheran Seminary

If you have questions or concerns that remain unanswered you can always submit those on the ULS Community Concerns page.