Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rev. Louise Johnson appointed Vice President for Mission Advancement

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) is pleased to announce the appointment of the Rev. Louise Johnson as Vice President for Mission Advancement, effective October 1, 2012.

This new position brings together the responsibilities of Alumni Relations and Church Relations, and adds the important new area of Institutional Assessment. In this function, Pr. Johnson will be responsible for assessing progress toward the seminary’s strategic goals, and reporting that information to the seminary’s faculty, staff, Boards, and other LTSP stakeholders. Pr. Johnson will work together with Pr. John Puotinen, Executive Director, and the Foundation staff in planning and carrying out strategies to meet the goals of the three areas of responsibility.

Pr. Johnson has served LTSP since June, 2004, first as Associate Director, and then as Director of Admissions. Under her leadership the Admissions Department has been recognized for exceptional achievement among its peers, and demonstrates a passion for helping women and men as they discern their call to public ministry.

Previous to her work at LTSP, Louise served as a parish pastor, and then on the staff at Wartburg Seminary in the areas of admissions, pastoral care, community life, and continuing education.

Pr. Johnson’s new office will be in the Hagan Building, Room 121. Her new phone extension and email address will be publicized as those transitions are completed.

Please join us in welcoming Pr. Johnson to her new role in service to the seminary and in a new opportunity in ministry.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Memorial Service October 30 for Prof. Andrew "Jack" White

A memorial service for The Rev. Dr. Andrew J. White, a service-minded activist who profoundly lived out his 30-year career of teaching practical theology at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), is scheduled for Tuesday, October 30, 2012 in the Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel on the LTSP campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. The service begins at 6 pm, with LTSP professor Katie Day preaching, and a reception following. The public is invited to celebrate Dr. White’s many contributions to the community and the wider world, as well as to the seminary and church.

Emeritus Professor
"Jack" White on campus
in 2005
Dr. White died Sunday, May 6, 2012 in Chambersburg, PA, where he lived in retirement. He was 79. White, known to colleagues and friends as "Jack," retired from LTSP in 1997. He had held the Peter Paul and Elizabeth Hagan Professor Chair of Practical Theology for 14 years, and had served as secretary of the faculty for three years. From 1983 until his retirement, he was director of Contextual Education (field work) at the school, and directed the seminary's Graduate School (Advanced-Level Degree Programs) from 1991 until he retired. During his seminary career, White served four years (1978-82) as Executive Director of the Council for Lutheran Theological Education in the Northeast (CLTEN), which coupled the Philadelphia and Gettysburg seminaries with 11 regional synods and districts of two national Lutheran church bodies of that time, the Lutheran Church in America and the American Lutheran Church, predecessor bodies of the current Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). For many years, White also edited Parish Practice Notebook, a publication that sought to convey to alumni and other church leaders fresh ideas in connection with successful congregational ministry.

What especially distinguished White was how his teaching of theology was reflected in his lifestyle, engaging himself in a wide variety of community service endeavors. Such interests were evident early in his career. He served two congregations before becoming a professor - Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cicero, IN, and Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church in East Cleveland, OH. While in East Cleveland he also chaired that city's Human Relations Committee (1962-65).

"Jack White had remarkable energy and a real vision for where he thought the church should go," recalls the Rev. Dr. LeRoy Aden, a colleague of White's who retired as the Luther D. Reed Professor of Practical Theology after 27 years at the seminary. "Many of us on the faculty were teaching in more theoretical areas. Jack had a real focus on the practical side of ministry in the world, particularly social ministry and the urban church. He was not a traditional thinker, but was sometimes viewed as something of a vagabond. He could be really assertive. He was not much into the usual way of doing things."

Aden said even though his late wife, Miriam Eileen Recker White, was not in the best of health during their retirement years at Luther Ridge Retirement Community in Chambersburg, they maintained active lives, traveling overseas as active supporters of global ministry in South Africa and Germany. The Whites spent a year in Slovakia in retirement while White taught at Bratislava Seminary there. In 1998, White was an international observer of the Parliamentary elections in Slovakia representing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Prof. White in 1997
Joining the LTSP faculty in 1967, White became vigorously active on the civic scene while a resident of Philadelphia's East Mount Airy neighborhood. He served on the Board of East Mount Airy Neighbors (EMAN) from 1968 to 1974 and from 1976 to 1979. He served four years on the Board of Philadelphia's Haverford Community Center (1968-72). From 1972 to 1978, White was on the Democratic Ward Executive Committee and was frequently its vice-chair. From 1971 to 1978, he was vice-chair of the Board for EMAN Group Homes, which served individuals with developmental delays, focusing on personnel and fundraising. Beginning in 1981, White served until 1997 as secretary for the Board of the Mt. Airy Village Development Corp. For 11 years White chaired the Board of Lutheran Retirement Homes (Paul's Run), a social ministry organization of the church located in Northeast Philadelphia (1977-1988).

He continued that vigorous service in retirement in Central Pennsylvania. White served as a member of the Ethics Committee and as an on-call chaplain for Chambersburg Hospital. He was vice-chair for the Board of Lutheran Home Care and Hospice in the area, and a tutor for the Harrisburg area's Scotland School for Veterans Children, originally founded to serve the children of Civil War veterans, which closed in 2009. He was a board member of the Auxiliary of Lutheran Social Services of South Central Pennsylvania and former president of the Franklin-Fulton Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

A 1954 Wittenberg University graduate, he earned his Master of Divinity in 1957 from Hamma School of Theology, a predecessor school for today's Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH. Trinity named him its distinguished alumnus in 1986. He earned his PhD from Case Western Reserve University in 1969, focusing his thesis on the areas of political science and community organization. He earned the Master of Theology from the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN.

In Philadelphia, the Whites belonged to Reformation Lutheran Church in East Mount Airy. He served on a committee assigned to call a pastor, as assistant scoutmaster, as a member of the congregation's finance committee, and its choir. For several years he served the Board of the Northwest Philadelphia Lutheran Parish, a collaborative organization of Lutheran congregations.

White was also involved in activities of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA. He served on a task force on Ministry of the Laity and on a committee evaluating chaplaincy services. National church activities included service on a commission to study the nature and mission of the congregation, and in 1990 inSouth Africa as a volunteer missionary.

After his wife died early last year, White remarried. His widow, Phyllis Ann Akers White, survives. Also surviving are four children, Mary Sue Burns of Marlinton, WVA; Daniel of Atlanta, GA; John of Houston, TX, and James of Huntingdon, PA; five grandchildren, Jesse and Jonathan Burns, Sara May, Shelby T. and Joanna M. White; and a sister, Dorothy Jean Robinson of Ormond Beach, FL. Two stepchildren survive: Kathryn Perbetzky of Philadelphia and George Akers of Gettysburg, PA.

A memorial service was also held May 10, at St. Luke Lutheran Church on the Luther Ridge Retirement Community campus, where White was a member. In lieu of flowers, gifts are invited for Lutheran Social Services of South Central Pennsylvania, 1050 Pennsylvania Avenue, York, PA 17404, or The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Philadelphia and Gettysburg Seminaries Collaborate on Contextual and Clinical Education

Pennsylvania's two Lutheran seminaries are expanding their collaboration in the preparation and formation of church leaders. Announcements in early September at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (LTSG) and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) conveyed decisions by leaders of the two schools to jointly administer key aspects of their field education programs.

These additional dimensions of partnering build upon successful collaborative work and joint ventures, which have also included the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS) in Columbia, South Carolina. The three Lutheran schools in the eastern United States organized and incorporated the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries (ECLS) fifteen years ago. Through the Cluster, the schools merged their electronic library catalogues, making available to students, professors, and other users the vast combined resource collections. The ECLS has also sponsored Project Connect, a vocational discernment and seminary recruitment effort aimed at college students, which has encouraged hundreds of young persons to consider ministry as they contemplate future occupations and life pathways.

Dr. Richard Carlson, Professor of Biblical Studies at LTSG, who already directs parish internship placement and oversight at Gettysburg, will assume the same work for LTSP students. Dr. Leonard Hummel, LTSG's Professor of Pastoral Theology, will coordinate Clinical Pastoral Education programs for both schools. Dr. Charles Leonard, who has conducted all aspects of field education at Philadelphia for fifteen years, will continue as LTSP's Director of Contextual Education. Leonard, who is a professor in the area of Practical Theology, specializing in urban ministry, will also expand his classroom teaching and mentoring of students preparing for pastoral service in congregations and other settings.

In a joint statement, the two seminaries' presidents, Philip Krey of Philadelphia and Michael Cooper-White of Gettysburg, shared their enthusiasm for this new shared faculty and administrative arrangement: "This is a very positive development for both schools' students. Bringing under one umbrella the vast network of congregations and clinical settings where our students are mentored in the pastoral arts and practical engagement expands their access to some of the churches' finest ministry practitioners. In our own era as seminarians, the two schools worked together in these areas. Renewing that proven pattern for today's students brings us a special measure of satisfaction. This approach may become a model for other seminaries seeking ways to enhance their students' formation and also realize cost-saving efficiencies that become more critical in these challenging times."

___________________________________ For more information, contact Merri Brown at Philadelphia or John Spangler at Gettysburg.

released September 13, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

LTSP's Urban Theological Institute celebrates 32nd Anniversary September 25

For Immediate Release
For more information please contact:
Merri Brown, Seminary Communications,, 215-248-6323

LTSP's Urban Theological Institute celebrates 32nd Anniversary September 25

The Rev. Dr. J. Wendell Mapson, Jr, pastor of Monumental Baptist Church, Philadelphia, is the guest lecturer and preacher on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 as The Urban Theological Institute of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia celebrates the 32nd anniversary of its founding. Dr. Mapson will present the Anniversary Lecture at 11:15 am in Benbow Hall, The Brossman Center, on the seminary campus at 7301 Germantown Avenue, Mt. Airy, Philadelphia. His sermon will be given at the Anniversary Worship Celebration at 7 pm at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, 2800 W. Cheltenham Avenue, Philadelphia. Both the lecture and worship are open to the public, and offering proceeds will benefit the seminary's Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., Chair in African American Studies.

Dr. Mapson is Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc. Also, he has taught at the Palmer Theological Seminary and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, and is former President of the Baptist Ministers' Conference of Philadelphia and Vicinity. He and the congregation of Monumental Baptist Church are celebrating their 25th anniversary of ministry as pastor and people in November.

For 32 years, The Urban Theological Institute (UTI) of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia has been dedicated to providing theological education to church leaders that is relevant and upbuilding for the African American community. If you have a sense God is calling you to be a pastor, to serve as a social justice advocate, Christian educator, chaplain, teacher, or church leader, UTI can equip you with the theological education you need to succeed in your chosen ministry.  Through programming and courses, the UTI provides opportunities for clergy and laypersons to prepare themselves for service as educated leaders of the church. Over 100 of the Philadelphia region's African American church leaders are graduates of UTI degree and certificate programs.

The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., Chair in African American Studies was established in honor of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., who in 1949 was one of the first two African Americans to receive a STM degree from the seminary. Pastor Wright served as pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Philadelphia's Germantown section for 42 years, and was the congregation's pastor emeritus for an additional 21 years during retirement. His son, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., is pastor-emeritus of the 8,000-member Trinity United Church of Christ congregation in Chicago, and is a frequent preacher at the UTI's annual Preaching with Power series.

For more information and directions, visit


One of eight seminaries certified by the 4.5-million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), LTSP ( has prepared well over 4,000 church leaders during its history. The school has been located on its Mt. Airy campus in Philadelphia since 1888 and has embraced seminarians from some 28 Christian traditions. For 32 years, the seminary's Urban Theological Institute has prepared scores of African American leaders for church service in the Greater Philadelphia area. 

John Kahler
Media Consultant for The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia