Saturday, July 17, 2010

Alumnus Phares O. Reitz ('39) has died

This information from the NEPA Synod:

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod
announces with sorrow the death of

The Rev. Phares O. Reitz
Born April 20, 1917
Died July 15, 2010

The Rev. Phares O. Reitz died Thursday, July 15.

Although not the oldest pastor in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, he was the longest serving, having been ordained on May 24, 1939, at the age of twenty-two.

Following his ordination, Pastor Reitz served Berrysburg-Lykens in Dauphin County (1939-1950); St. John, Hamburg (1950-1956); and St. Stephen, Allentown (1957-1975). From 1975 until his retirement in 1981, he was the administrative assistant to the president (bishop) of the synod.

A memorial service for Pastor Phares Reitz will be held on Tuesday, July 20, at 2:00 p.m. at Egner Memorial Chapel on the campus of Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew Street, Allentown. The family will receive guests in Moyer Hall (next to the chapel) following the service.

Pastor Reitz is survived by two sons, Thomas and Philip, and two daughters, Martha and Ruth. He was predeceased by his wife, Eleanor (Lippiatt) Reitz. Condolences may be sent to his daughter, Martha Reitz, at 2629 W Pennsylvania Street, Allentown PA 18104.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

LTSP Appoints Vice President for Advancement/Foundation Executive Director

The Rev. John V. Puotinen has been appointed as Vice President for Advancement of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) and Executive Director of the LTSP Foundation, according to the Rev. Dr. Philip D.W. Krey, seminary and foundation president. Pastor Puotinen was selected following a nationwide search.

Pr. Puotinen comes to LTSP from the University of Dubuque/Dubuque Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, where he has served as Senior Vice President of Development since 2005. He led the university through the concluding stages of a ten year capital campaign that concluded in 2008 with a record $128 million in gifts from over 4,700 donors.

Before joining the University of Dubuque, Pr. Puotinen served as Vice President of the Foundation of Lutheran Life Communities, Arlington Heights, Illinois, a provider of services in Greater Chicago, along with development positions at Luther Manor, Milwaukee,Wisconsin, and Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, and was an investment executive with Piper, Jaffray, Inc. He was developer and founder of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Libertyville, Illinois. He is a pastor on the roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Pr. Puotinen received a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a bachelor's degree from Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois. He will begin his service at LTSP on August 1, 2010.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Pastors paddle after Muhlenberg: Reading Eagle

When Lutheran bishop Samuel R. Zeiser takes to the Schuylkill River in a canoe Thursday near Hamburg, he will evoke the travels of 18th century pastor Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg, principal organizer of American Lutheranism, on the same river.

Read the story including its fundraising purpose in the Reading Eagle:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Juan Cobrda, Former Bishop of ELCA Slovak Zion Synod, Dies

This story is from the ELCA News Service, July 7, 2010. Bishop Cobrda received a Master of Sacred Theology (STM) from LTSP in 1984. The Slovak Zion Synod, in addition to the synods in ELCA Region 7, relate to LTSP as their seminary.

Juan Cobrda, Former Bishop of ELCA Slovak Zion Synod, Dies


The Rev. Juan CobrdaCHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Juan Cobrda, former bishop of the Slovak Zion Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), died July 1 after an illness. Cobrda, 79, was also a former bishop of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (UELC) in Argentina.

A funeral service for Cobrda will be held July 9 at Trinity Slovak Lutheran Church, Chicago.

Cobrda, who was retired and resided in Mundelein, Ill., resigned as Slovak Zion bishop in 2002, one year earlier than the end of his second term. In his resignation letter Cobrda cited his 44 years of ordained ministry and an ongoing synod restructuring process as reasons for his decision to leave as bishop.

Cobrda was born in 1930 in Pribovce Turiec, Czechoslovakia. His family immigrated to Argentina in 1948. From 1955 to 1958, Cobrda attended Lutheran Theological Seminary, Jose C. Paz, Buenos Aires, and in 1959 he attended Hamma School of Theology, Springfield, Ohio. In 1984 he earned a master of sacred theology degree at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). In 1988 he earned a doctorate at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio. LTSP and Trinity are among eight ELCA seminaries.

Cobrda began a lengthy career in ministry in 1954, serving as a lay preacher at two Slovak-Spanish congregations in Berisson and Buenos Aires, Argentina, until 1958, when he was ordained by the UELC in Argentina.

Between 1960 and 1972 Cobrda was pastor of five different congregations in Argentina, and was bishop of the UELC in Argentina from 1966 to 1976. He served as a vice president of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) from 1970 to 1977. The LWF is a global communion of 140 Lutheran churches in 79 countries, representing more than 70 million Lutherans.

Before he became bishop of the ELCA Slovak Zion Synod Cobrda was pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Trenton, N.J.; El Redentor Iglesia, Buenos Aires; Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Akron, Ohio; and Trinity Slovak Lutheran Church. He was first elected Slovak Zion Synod bishop in 1993 and was re-elected to a six-year term as synod bishop in 1997.

During his career Cobrda served a four-year term on the board of ELCA Global Mission and a three-year term on the Slovak Zion Synod Council. He frequently assisted and made pastoral visits to Lutheran churches in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Yugoslavia. Cobrda also worked as an advocate for refugees, including a three-year term as chair of the Argentinean Committee for Refugees.

Cobrda was fluent in English, German, Slovak and Spanish.

Cobrda is survived by his wife, Sofia, and their two children, Analia and Juan III.

The ELCA Slovak Zion is one of 65 synods of the ELCA, and is the church's only non-geographic synod. It is based in Torrington, Conn.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or