Thursday, April 20, 2017

United Lutheran Seminary Names Its First President

 

United Lutheran Seminary Names 
 Theresa Latini as its First President

 United Lutheran Seminary named the Rev. Dr. Theresa F. Latini as the first president to lead the unified seminary with campuses at Gettysburg and Philadelphia


President-elect Latini will officially begin July 1, 2017, which is also the inaugural date of United Lutheran Seminary (ULS), a consolidation of two historic Lutheran Seminaries in Gettysburg and Philadelphia. ULS is the oldest seminary of the 3.8 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), dating to 1826.
 
Latini comes to the presidency with extensive experience in theological education as an educator and administrator. She has written two books and many articles on topics such as Christian vocation, congregational leadership, and racial reconciliation. She previously served as the George C. Weinman Chair of Pastoral Theology and Ministry at Luther Seminary and continues to advise students in Luther's PhD program. Currently, Latini is associate dean of diversity and cultural competency and professor of practical theology and pastoral care at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI. She has expertise in conflict mediation and has consulted with congregations and judicatories throughout the United States.
 
Latini will lead the new theological school, whose roots run deep in Lutheran identity in America and broadly across historically ecumenical Christian commitments. "I am honored and humbled to be called to serve as the first president of United Lutheran Seminary. Grounded in the promises of God, this bold and innovative union of two historic Lutheran institutions will enable us to educate and empower public Christian leaders for confessionally rooted, ecumenically connected, and interculturally competent ministry in the twenty-first century. I look forward to co-laboring with students, staff, and faculty at ULS and with colleagues throughout the ELCA as together we join God's work of healing, justice, and reconciliation."

An ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Latini's background includes pastoral positions in Minneapolis, MN, and Levittown, PA. She received both her MDiv and PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary. PCUSA has been a full communion partner of the ELCA since 1997. Full Communion partners share a commitment to interchange of clergy and an official recognition of agreement in essential doctrines and sacramental understanding. 
 
The Rev. Dr. Elise Brown, who chairs the Seminary Board of Trustees, affirmed that, "Dr. Latini brings a broad range of academic experience and expertise in pastoral care, cultural competency, diversity, and conflict resolution." Brown continued, saying these "areas of expertise will serve United Lutheran Seminary and the wider church in forming leaders for the twenty-first century in a church that has undergone significant change. We are thrilled a full communion partner with such deep passion for and understanding of Lutheran reformation theology and history has agreed to serve with us."
 
Consulting with the Rev. Charles Miller, the leader of the search team, "ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton was very affirmative of the ULS presidential search committee's work and its decision to recommend Dr. Latini."  During the search process, Miller also observed, "After two interviews and some forty questions ranging from 'what is a seminary?,' 'what does it mean to be Lutheran in America today?,' and 'how do you work with people who don't agree with you?,' Dr. Latini's responses persuaded our committee that she was ULS leadership-ready! Her answers were thoughtful and theologically astute. Dr. Latini's gifts and experience equip her exceptionally well to lead ULS in its pivotal and formative launching on July 1, 2017."   
 
President-elect Latini will begin as the seminary president July 1, with a planned inauguration for November 2, 2017, in Lancaster, PA. She will live at both Gettysburg and Philadelphia campuses with her husband, Tom van Deusen, and their daughter Eleanor. 
 
The search for a seminary president was launched last fall following the decisions of Gettysburg Seminary President Michael Cooper-White to retire after 17 years of service, and President David Lose of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia took a call to serve as senior pastor of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, MN.


United Lutheran Seminary, the oldest of the eight seminaries of the 3.8 million member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is a consolidation of Gettysburg Seminary and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. One seminary on two campuses, ULS prepares women and men to be outreach oriented public theologians and mission leaders. It provides programs in continuing studies, advanced theological education, and specialized educational programs for informed lay persons, ordained, and other rostered church leaders. More information is available at the Seminary's web site: UnitedLutheranSeminary.edu  or by email info@ULS.edu or by phone at 717.338.3000.


7301 Germantown Avenue + Philadelphia, PA 19119 + 215.248.4616 + Ltsp.edu
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119
Sent by communications@ltsp.edu in collaboration with
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Funeral Arrangements for The Rt. Rev. Frederick Houk Borsch

Funeral Services to be held for 
 The Rt. Rev. Frederick Houk Borsch
 
A funeral for LTSP professor, teacher, colleague, and friend, The Rt. Rev. Frederick Houk Borsch will be held at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Chestnut Hill (Philadelphia), 8000 St. Martin's Lane, on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.

The service will be followed by a reception in St. Martin's Parish House. Interment will take place at a later date in Los Angeles, CA. 

The Rt. Rev. Frederick Houk Borsch, PhD, Chair of Anglican Studies (retired), died Tuesday morning of complications of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). He was 81 and died in his sleep at his Philadelphia home, where he lived with his wife Barbara. Dr. Borsch was honored in 2014 with a renaming of the Episcopal Chair as the Frederick Houk Borsch Chair in Anglican Studies. 



7301 Germantown Avenue + Philadelphia, PA 19119 + 215.248.4616 + www.Ltsp.edu
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119
Sent by communications@ltsp.edu in collaboration with
Constant Contact

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Timothy Wengert’s final word: A pep talk from Luther for today’s Church

(go to Ltsp.edu/WengertLecture for recordings,
photos of the day and a copy of this report)

Professor Timothy Wengert Perhaps New Jersey Pastor and LTSP alumnus Kent Klophaus said it best after hearing Professor Timothy Wengert’s pre-retirement farewell remarks, a reflection for today’s church on Reformer Martin Luther’s most popular tract, The Freedom of a Christian, delivered to a full audience of past and current students, colleagues and community at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) on November 19, 2013.

“That was a pep talk for the church’s rostered leaders,”Klophaus said, “a chance to regroup and get reground.”

Wengert, the Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor for Reformation History at the seminary, began by saying, “So it comes down to this: twenty four and a half years of teaching, 35 years since entering graduate school and 29 since completing my PhD, 36 since ordination, 40 years since I married my first wife, eight and one-half years happily married to my dearest Ingrid, 34 and 30 years, respectively, since the births of my children ,and less than a month from the birth of my twin granddaughters. What a remarkable run! Without the prayers and support of many of the people in this room, that is, without God’s mercy, I could not have made it to this day.

“How does one end this phase of one’s calling to the church and begin anew?” Wengert continued. “In my case by going back to the beginning, to a tract of Luther’s to examine, as he put it, ‘What does Luther mean by freedom?’” Wengert explained he has been going through “Freedom of a Christian” meticulously, word-for word, as the editor of the first volume of Augsburg Fortress’s new six-volume collection of Luther’s works, The Essential Luther. He noted he had not begun to fully comprehend what Luther was saying in the tract until he went to translate it on his own and added that Luther intended to have the tract, published in October 1520, be his “last word” as he – excommunicated by the Pope – began to prepare to meet his doom in anticipating to appear as an accused heretic before the imperial parliament that was to meet in Worms in April 1521.

Hundreds of alumni and friends constituting an overflow audience crammed the Schaeffer-Ashmead Memorial Chapel and paid tribute to Wengert before and after his remarks with lengthy applause. “No matter how long your applause lasts my remarks will not be any shorter,” he quipped at the outset. No summary will do justice to Wengert’s carefully crafted 30-pages of remarks. Here are but a few highlights.
  • Wengert cited the paradoxical sentences of Luther’s in the tract, “The Christian individual is a completely free lord of all, subject to none. The Christian individual is a completely dutiful slave to all, subject to all.” He went on to discuss the freedom of faith and then talked about works of love.
  • Luther’s primary audience consisted of working pastors of the church of his day.
  • Freedom of a Christian should be read once you are in the trenches, slogging through the mud,”Wengert said. The freedom message of the tract implies a rejection of the definition of priest or cleric in Luther’s day “or frankly our own.” Such leaders, Luther noted, are called to be “serving others with the ministry of the Word in order to teach the faith of Christ and the freedom of the faithful.”  Luther upends the power politics that wounded the church of his time and ours, Wengert said. “Think of those who dream of the pastor as CEO or spiritual guru or ultimate fixer of everything wrong with our congregation, community or world. What an irony! The very ones who are free in Christ to serve the neighbor and who are entrusted with sharing this good news with others are the ones who would be anything but servant.” As a result of this perversity, Luther noted in his writing, “the knowledge of Christian grace, faith, freedom and Christ has perished entirely, only to be replaced by an intolerable captivity to human works and laws.”
  • On preaching, Wengert noted the kinds of practices Luther goes after: “Story-telling – that condemns Christ to the detritus of history and makes him simply an example, a law, of how to live our lives; self-centeredness – whether relying on human authorities and stories to give us preaching clout or, something Luther could not imagine but is so common today, talking about ourselves and our spiritual journeys; emotional manipulation – which is the sum and substance of most of what passes as preaching on the airways and in the “purpose-driven” McChurches of our day.” Preaching in a nutshell, according to Luther, promotes faith in Christ, and not simply Christ, but “Christ for you and me,” Luther wrote in the tract. The fruits of such preaching teach that “the presence of Christ’s righteousness swallows up every sin…So the heart learns with the Apostle to scoff at death and sin and to say, ‘Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. For death is swallowed up in victory – not only Christ’s but ours – because through faith it becomes our victory and is in us and we are conquerers.”  “If you have any cross-stitchers in your congregations, get them to cross-stitch that, I don’t know, on your underwear. Or, if there are any tattoo artists, ink it where the sun shines,” Wengert said.
  • An aside: “I am sick and tired of Lutherans and others who complain that Lutherans do not do good works, even blaming the grace and mercy of God for it. Our little cadre of Lutherans has built the largest private social service network in the country – not the wealthier or larger denominations which are so addicted to talking about works. Moreover, the teaching of Christian vocation in the world means that we can measure good works by how many diapers are changed and how much manure is hauled, not by all the foolishness that passes for good works in our churches today. And then, in a particularly silly book about the third use of the law, some masquerade their legalism under a concern for morality, accusing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America of abandoning Biblical sexual ethics for – I don’t know what – wild orgies, I suppose, when in fact our social statement on sexuality identifies the true culprits: not homosexuals in life-long committed relationships but the commodification of sexuality and its coercive use inside and outside of marriage.”
  • On good works, citing Luther, Wengert remarked: “If works are coupled with righteousness…and you presume to be justified through them, then they become absolutely compulsory and extinguish freedom along with faith. By this kind of linkage such works are no longer good but instead truly damnable. For they are not free, and they blaspheme against the grace of God, to whom alone belongs justification and salvation through faith.”
  • On the Roman Catholic Church: “When I started working on this talk there was a different bishop in Rome. I have more hope for our churches than ever before. One can only hope Pope Francis survives given how many risks he takes. I wish I could sneak a copy of Freedom of a Christian onto his nightstand in the Vatican, so that he might read and believe. Finally, once again, the spirit of the Vatican II Council, which held 500 years ago would have drawn the Roman Church back to Luther’s proclamation and theology, blows through the churches of our separated brothers and sisters.”
  • On the tract itself: “What is so remarkable is not only the appendix or the chief intended audience but its content. Like the Augsburg Confession, here is an early Lutheran document shorn of almost all polemic and name-calling, sent with a brilliant cover letter to Pope Leo X, and filled, nay, rather, bursting at the seams with the universal, law-free gospel of God’s mercy and therefore justification by grace through faith on account of Christ alone.”
  • Prof. Wengert with current and former studentsOn faith, Wengert first cited a sentence from Luther: “Many people view the Christian faith as something easy, and quite a few people even count it as if it were related to the virtues. They do this because they have not judged faith in light of any experience, nor have they ever tasted its great power.” Wengert went on to note: “Here we are in the middle of a country obsessed – from the most liberal theologian to the most conservative, from Roman Catholic to Methodist to Mennonite and beyond – to the freedom of the will and the notion that faith is a human decision or commitment that we bring to the religious table to set the gears of God’s grace in motion. Such an approach to faith is not freedom but the worst kind of bondage – leaving people stuck wondering whether they have done enough, decided enough or gotten serious enough about God. Well, how are you doing? Faith is not an Aristotelian virtue cooked up by the soul. No, Luther insists, it is an experience. It is what happens when water and the Word hit that infant’s or adult’s head, when the wine and bread strike their tongue while the words ‘for you’ ring in their ears, or when, as in the case of my mother, standing at a trolley stop in Milwaukee, Pastor Beiderwieden’s words suddenly penetrate your heart and you are left in tears: ‘He died for me.’ Yes, Janet, her pastor replied, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
  • Quoting Luther: “You may be asking, however, how it comes about that faith alone justifies and how it confers so many treasures without works, given that so many works, ceremonies and laws are prescribed in the Scriptures. I answer this way. Before all else, remember what has been said above, namely, that faith alone without works justifies, frees and saves…The entire Scripture of God is divided into two parts: commands and promises. Commands, to be sure, teach what is good, but what is taught is not thereby done. For the commands show what we ought to do but do not give the power to do it. They were instead established for this: so that they may reveal individuals to themselves. Through the commands they know their inability to do good, and they despair of their own powers…Believe in Christ, in whom grace, righteousness, peace, freedom and all things are promised to you. If you believe, you will have these things. If you do not believe, you will lack them. God alone commands and God alone fulfills.”
  • On works using a personal illustration:  “We don’t have to earn anything; we don’t have to worry about whether we please God or not. After all, we do not please God except in Christ, who makes us kings and priests and gives us what we are not. Suddenly, with the burden of works and living up to God’s expectations lifted, we have all this time on our hands. It’s like, I don’t know, retiring early and being free to edit a Dictionary of Luther and the Luther Traditions, volume one of the six-volume Essential Luther, help the Metropolitan Museum of Art prepare an exhibition on the Reformation, help the Kessler Collection at Emory with the same thing, write an intellectual biography of Melanchthon. The Christian life, you see, is really like retirement: waking up each morning and saying to yourself: “What am I going to do now that I don’t have to do anything.”
  • In summary Wengert noted concluding words by Luther in the tract: “Therefore, we conclude that Christian individuals do not live in themselves but in Christ and their neighbor, or else they are not Christian. They live in Christ through faith and in the neighbor through love. Through faith they are caught up beyond themselves into the neighbor – remaining nevertheless always in God and God’s love.”
Wengert was introduced by the Rev. Dr. John Hoffmeyer, associate professor of systematic theology at the seminary. Hoffmeyer paid tribute to Wengert as an internationally foremost scholar of Philip Melanchthon, Luther’s close Reformation era colleague; as a leader of the task force leading to the approval of a Evangelical Lutheran Church in America church-wide social statement on Human Sexuality (2009); and as a “teacher of the church” from whom many students learned for the first time in seminary that “God loves them unconditionally.” Hoffmeyer said that in his travels across the church “no classroom teacher’s name comes up as often as does Tim Wengert’s.”

The Rev. Ingrid Wengert and Prof. Wengert presenting their gift to the library.At the conclusion of his remarks, Wengert announced a gift for the seminary. He had discovered in his collection of books an old volume that was bound using scrap paper that contained a copy of the 1542 Luther Small Catechism. He had the scrap pieces exquisitely framed for the seminary’s Krauth Memorial Library collection, and with his wife the Rev. Ingrid Wengert presented the framed gift to Dr. Karl Krueger, director of the library.

The Rev. Dr. Timothy Wengert is the Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Church History at LTSP, teaching primarily in the fields of Reformation history and the Lutheran Confessions, and will be retiring at the end of 2013. A parish pastor for over seven years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, he received his doctorate from Duke University in 1984 and joined Philadelphia's faculty in 1989. Read more on Dr. Wengert's biography page.

- article written by seminary writer Mark Staples

(go to Ltsp.edu/WengertLecture for recordings,
photos of the day and a copy of this report)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

LTSP Alumni among speakers at City of God conference Oct. 24-26

LTSP alumni the Rev. Dr. Ernest McNear and Bishop Dwayne Royster are among the keynote speakers at The City of God: Philadelphia conference, October 24-26 at The First Presbyterian Church in Germantown. The conference provides an intimate learning laboratory where Christian leaders from the greater Philadelphia area will be inspired, encouraged, and networked together in understanding and working out God’s vision for the city.



The City of God: Philadelphia conference provides an intimate learning laboratory where Christian leaders from the greater Philadelphia area will be inspired, encouraged, and networked together in understanding and working out God’s vision for the city.
On October 24-26, we will be energized as we explore a theology of urban transformation and engage with practitioners who are leading thought provoking and creative ministries throughout Philadelphia. 
Join us as we share, network, learn practical tools, and visit local examples of community transformation initiatives!
Urban Pilgrimages
Keynote Speakers:
  • Will O’Brien Jesus in Philadelphia: A Theology of Urban Transformation”
  • The Rev. Dr Ernest McNear " Transforming Philadelphia: God's Spirit, Our Hands”
  • Bishop Dwayne Roystor "Community Organizing in Philadelphia: Working Toward a Renewed City"
  • The Rev. Dr. Douglaas Bailey "Word in the City" Reflections
Schedule: 
Here is a quick glance at our Conference schedule
Thursday (10/24)
10:00am Registration at The First Presyterian Church in Germantown 
Thursday's Program includes lunch and dinner, as well as:  
  • “Word in the City” with Doug Bailey
  • Pilgrimage to Germantown Avenue Crisis Ministry
  • Afternoon Keynote with Will O’Brien 
  • Dinner & Evening Keynote with The Rev. Dr. Ernest McNear  
9:00pm Departure
Friday (10/25)
8:30am “Word in the City” with Doug Bailey at The First Presyterian Church in Germantown 
Friday's Program includes lunch as well as:
  • Pilgrimage to Broad Street Ministry
  • Afternoon Keynote with Bishop Dwayne Royster
5:30pm Departure
Saturday (10/26)
8:30am “Word in the City” with Doug Bailey at The First Presyterian Church in Germantown 
Morning Workshops
12:00pm Closing worship

Registration for the event is $125, with a group discount (3 person max) of $100 each. Go to the registration page to register with a credit card or though PayPal, and for other details.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Dr. Timothy Wengert's final public lecture at LTSP: Tuesday, November 19

Save the date for 
Professor Wengert's final public lecture at LTSP!

We know many of you - our alumni, friends, and colleagues - will want to be present for The Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Wengert Professor Timothy Wengert's final public lecture at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), offered as a gift to his students of the past quarter century. The lecture, titled "The Final Word: Martin Luther's Freedom of a Christian for Today's Church," will be presented in the Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel on the LTSP campus on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 11:30 am. More information coming soon, including registration details. While you'll want to be there in person, the lecture will also be live streamed and recorded for those who are not able to come to Philadelphia.

In his lecture, Dr. Wengert will address Martin Luther's famous tract, The Freedom of a Christian from 1520, which provides one of the most succinct summaries of Luther's theology. In the course of editing this work for publication in Augsburg Fortress's The Essential Luther project, Prof. Wengert has discovered new insights into Luther's approach to public ministry - insights that can also assist ministry in today's church.

Dr. Wengert is the Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of Church History at LTSP, teaching primarily in the fields of Reformation history and the Lutheran Confessions. A parish pastor for over seven years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, he received his doctorate from Duke University in 1984 and joined Philadelphia's faculty in 1989.  Read more on Dr. Wengert's biography page.

Memorial Service for Lois La Croix Wednesday, October 16

A Memorial Service for Lois La Croix, executive assistant to the president at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), is set for Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm in the Shaeffer-Ashmead Chapel on the seminary campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue, in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. All are welcome to join the seminary community in celebrating La Croix, who died September 25 after a lengthy illness. A resident of Philadelphia’s Roxborough section, she was 59. The memorial service will be followed by a light luncheon in Benbow Hall. Please RSVP by October 10 for the light luncheon to Carrie Schwab at cschwab@Ltsp.edu.

Participants in the service will include Lois's pastor, the Rev. Annemarie Hartner Cook; the Rev. Dr. Robert Hughes, past president at LTSP; the Rev. George Keck, who worked with La Croix both at the Lutheran Church in America and at the seminary; the Rev. Curtis Haynes, past seminary chief financial officer; and LTSP president the Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey.

Ms. La Croix requested that all donations be made in her memory for use for staff assistance. They can be sent to the Lois La Croix Staff Assistance Fund, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119, or call 215.248.6324.

You can read the announcement of La Croix's death here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lois La Croix dies. She was the longest-serving administrator at the Lutheran Seminary

Lois La Croix, executive assistant to the president at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), died yesterday afternoon after a lengthy illness. A resident of Philadelphia’s Roxborough section, she was 59.

La Croix held two key administrative posts at LTSP over 25 years and was the school’s longest serving administrative staff person.

“Lois set the standard for being an exemplary administrative assistant,” said seminary president the Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey, who worked alongside La Croix for more than a decade. “She was at the center of everything. She anticipated every meeting, event, report, and meeting, and prepared the president’s office, staff, and faculty for their roles so that the school would have a chance to function at a high level. She believed in accountability and held us all to our commitments and responsibilities. You did not want to hear her say that the Board report would go out without your contribution because you were missing a deadline. She loved a challenge and rose to every new role presented to her. She could be firm in her expectations of colleagues, and yet she was readily available to graciously counsel students, staff, and faculty alike when needed. She will be missed and will always be remembered for her leadership at the seminary.” 

“I often thought of Lois as someone much like a provost at a larger institution of higher learning,” said Mark A. Staples, who served as LTSP’s director of communications from 1997 to 2005 and knew her well as a colleague. “She was much, much more than an assistant. She was well-organized with details regarding the life and history of the school and took responsibility for events and activities large and small. Lois contributed much strategically to the life of the school. She gave a lot of moral and detailed support whenever LTSP faced a challenge or emergency and always seemed calm and in control at such times. I often depended on her for critical information or background. Plus,” he said with a smile, “I ate a lot of candy.” La Croix was generous with little touches, he remembered. “She kept a stash of candy in a desk drawer that made visitors to the president’s office feel welcome. She never seemed to run out. She could be spot-on and focused whenever a critical situation demanded, but she also had the best sense of humor. I well recall her Halloween desk trinkets — a witch costume and pointed hat. She was a snappy dresser during much of her career, but on Halloween it did not faze her to be seen at the president assistant’s desk in costume.” La Croix was also a big-time fan of the Philadelphia Phillies. Whenever the Phillies played an afternoon baseball game, La Croix kept the game on at low volume at her desk.

Carrie Schwab, the executive assistant who has succeeded La Croix, remembered her predecessor’s “big, beautiful hats, her particular love of Halloween, and her laugh (bordering at times on a loud cackle) that was so full of life. I recall how Lois took me under her wing and mentored me when I moved to Philadelphia from the Midwest. My mom, who was concerned about my move to ‘the big city,’ felt comforted because Lois was a part of my world.” La Croix served as maid of honor when Carrie married Martin Schwab, who serves as the seminary’s business manager.

La Croix had requested that a memorial fund in her name be established for use to assist seminary staff in emergencies. “Establishing this fund is so like her,” said long time seminary faculty member the Rev. Dr. Katie Day. “Lois knew intimately the difficulties that staff could go through, and she wanted them to have a safety net. This was such a sensitive and caring gesture. I hope everyone who can will make a contribution to this fund.”

“She was on top of her job,” recalled Robert Blanck, Esq., the attorney who chaired the seminary’s board of trustees for about 30 years. “She had or quickly found answers for whatever question or problem I was trying to resolve.” Blanck, who knew La Croix throughout her seminary employment, said she was “helpful, cooperative, pleasant, and ever willing to lend assistance.”

The Rev. George E. Keck, retired director of admissions at LTSP knew La Croix practically her entire career. “Lois was a bit rebellious and decided not to go to college,” Keck recalled. “She instead spent time at the Lutheran Church in America Deaconess Center in Gladwyne to discern what to do with her life after high school.” The Lutheran Church in America was a predecessor body to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) denomination.

“Having no professional or college training Lois took an entry level job as a telephone receptionist at the Division for Professional Leadership (DPL) at 2900 Queen Lane in Philadelphia. (DPL, working with regional church jurisdictions called synods, oversaw the candidacy and requirements for the national church’s rostered professional leaders.)

“I was called to the DPL staff to develop new programming in 1978,” Keck remembered. “But no secretary was available. Lois began working for me part time in that capacity. It became quickly evident how organized she was, and she could spell better than I could. She and I learned our respective roles together. Since I was from Pittsburgh she introduced me to the Phillies and Eagles. As Lois developed skills on the job she developed a network of contacts working with synod candidacy committees and bishops. She arranged workshops and conferences and as computers came into vogue she mastered the art of preparing handbooks for candidacy committees of the dozens of regional synods.”

When the merger took place to form the ELCA, moving church offices from New York City and Philadelphia to Chicago, Keck and La Croix were both out of a job.

“I was appointed admissions director at LTSP, and was able to arrange for Lois to be appointed as my secretary,” Keck remembered. La Croix began her seminary career in July of 1987. She became executive assistant to President Robert G. Hughes several years later after a tragic traffic accident claimed the life of her predecessor, Laurie Simon.

“Lois was a very private individual in her personal life, but in birthday notes and comments to me she would always thank me for the opportunities provided to her.” Staples added that despite his frequent attempts to interview La Croix for a much-deserved story about her contributions, she resisted all such invitations.

La Croix is survived by her mother, Louise, of New Jersey. The funeral is private. A memorial service is being planned by the seminary with details to follow. Ms. La Croix requested that all donations in her memory for use in staff emergencies be sent to the Lois La Croix Staff Assistance Fund, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119, or call 215.248.6324.