Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
|Campus||14-acre (57,000 m2)|
|Affiliations||Evangelical Lutheran Church in America|
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), also known as the Philadelphia Seminary, was one of eight theological seminaries associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in North America. It is located on Germantown Avenue in the Mount Airy neighborhood of northwestern Philadelphia. Founded in 1864, it has its roots in the Pennsylvania Ministerium established in 1748 in Philadelphia by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg.
The seminary has an enrollment of 275 graduate students, with 17 full-time professors. Students come from a number of Christian traditions in addition to the ELCA, including Anglican/Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist, Church of God in Christ and Mennonite.
The background of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia dates back to the founding of the Pennsylvania Ministerium in 1748 by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, the first organized Lutheran church body in North America. LTSP. was founded in 1864, partly in response to the theology being taught at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, which had been established in 1826 about 60 miles (97 km) further west from the Delaware River in the south-central part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Gettysburg seminary was thought to be too committed to American cultural accommodation rather than confessional Evangelical Lutheran orthodoxy. The Pennsylvania Ministerium had withdrawn that same year (1864) from the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of North America and in 1867 helped form the more conservative General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America. The rivalry between the two Pennsylvania religious schools has continued to this day, although it is now principally manifested in an annual flag or touch football games and good-natured "trash talk" among alumni at church convocations and conventions.
For its first two decades, the LTSP was at Franklin Square in Philadelphia's Center City. In 1889, it moved to Mount Airy in the then northwestern suburbs of the city. The first seminary building on campus, now known as "Old Dorm", was built in 1889 and faced Germantown Avenue, which runs northwest out of downtown Philadelphia. That building is now incorporated into the modern facade of The Brossman Center.
The Philadelphia Seminary's Graduate School was established about a quarter-century later in 1913. By 1938, the Lutheran Seminary became accredited by the American Association of Theological Schools. The Urban Theological Institute (UTI), celebrating its 35th year in 2015, was established in to provide accredited Saturday and evening programs for African American church leaders. The UTI now oversees the Black Church programs in the first professional and doctor of ministry degrees, and offers certificate programs for church leaders, and sponsors lectures on topics relating to the Black Church as well as the annual "Preaching with Power" series each March.
Many national and regional church leaders, both Lutheran and non-Lutheran, have been graduates of or served as faculty members of LTSP, including H. George Anderson, former ELCA Presiding Bishop, and Frank Griswold, former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Lutheran church theologian Theodore Emanuel Schmauk was president of the LSTP Board of Directors from 1908 until 1920 and in charge of the Department of Ethics, Apologetics and Pedagogy from 1911 until 1920. Additionally the presidents of four American Lutheran theological seminaries have been faculty members at LTSP.
In January of 2016, the seminary's board announced a merger with the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. While originally planned as a closure of both schools with the formation of a new institution, this plan was canceled over accreditation issues and a merger of the two schools was completed 1 July 2017, under the name United Lutheran Seminary.
LTSP offers as first professional degrees the M.Div. (Master of Divinity), the M.A.R. (Master of Arts in Religion), and a new degree, the M.A.P.L. (Master of Arts in Public Leadership). LTSP also offers as second professional degrees the S.T.M. (Master of Sacred Theology), D.Min. (Doctor of Ministry) and Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy). The seminary is accredited by the nationwide Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and by the regional Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2006, LTSP awarded 46 degrees to Lutherans and 20 to non-Lutherans. In comparison to the other seven seminaries of the ELCA, LTSP graduated the most second-professional-degree students and by far the most non-Lutheran students from other ecumenical denominational bodies.
The school has a 14-acre (57,000 m2) campus in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. The site was originally the estate of William Allen, a prominent colonial-era Pennsylvanian; the neighborhood gets its name from Allen's estate.
The Krauth Memorial Library, with 198,000 volumes, is named in memory of Charles Porterfield Krauth. It includes material dating back to the 16th century, including the 18th century work of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, known as the Father of American Lutheranism. The library's 100th anniversary of scholarship and service fell during the 2008-2009 academic year, and the facility includes the original glass flooring and metal shelving in the main space. Also notable in the library is the Doberstein window. It is also part of the "one library under three roofs" of the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries, which includes LTSP, the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. The Cluster libraries share a single catalog and allow users to select materials from any of the libraries.
The Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel, renovated in 2004, is the campus worship center, and is adjacent to the William Allen Plaza, completed in 2009 as a public space that is used by both the seminary and Mt. Airy communities. A peace pole was donated by the class of 2010 and erected on the plaza. A bronze statue of Muhlenberg, dedicated in 1917, commemorates the 175th anniversary of his arrival in America. This statue was originally commissioned to stand on public land in Fairmount Park. Due to anti-German sentiment during the World War I, the city of Philadelphia sought out a less prominent location for the statue and gladly donated it to the seminary. An annual tradition at the seminary is for first-year students to decorate the statue early in the fall semester and at other times during the academic year.
The Brossman Center opened in the fall of 2005 and contains classrooms, offices for faculty and administration, as well as meeting rooms, and a large flexible space named Benbow Hall, which is used as assembly and lecture space, and for community gatherings and banquets. The undercroft of the Brossman Center includes the Northeast Regional Archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, known as the Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia, as well as compact storage for materials from the Krauth Memorial Library collection.
Wiedemann Hall contains student housing and the offices of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA. Other students live in "perimeter housing," homes split into apartments which are spread along the north and east sides of the campus.
- H. George Anderson
- Franklin Clark Fry
- Heidi Neumark
- Beale M. Schmucker
- John Steinbruck
- W. D. Coleman
- G. Devasahayam
- K. Devasahayam
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-09-10. ELCA history timeline
- Spangler, John (2017-06-29). "Two historic Pennsylvania seminaries become United Lutheran Seminary July 1". religionnews.com. Religion Press Release Service. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-04-11. Retrieved 2007-04-04. ELCA Predecessor Bodies
- Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (1908), Dedication of the Krauth Memorial Library: Wednesday, June 3, 1908.
-  Archived 2006-12-10 at the Wayback Machine. LTSP website
- "New theology school - Living Lutheran". Living Lutheran. 2016-02-21. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
- Macdonald, G. Jeffrey (2016-01-15). "Two Lutheran seminaries to close and reopen as new school". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
- MacDonald, G. Jeffrey (2016-04-29). "Two Lutheran seminaries will merge instead of closing, forming a new school - Religion News ServiceReligion News Service". religionnews.com. Religion News Service. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
-  Learn more about being a student at the LTSP website
-  Association of Theological Schools
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-11-15. Retrieved 2006-11-13. 2006 degree statistics from ELCA website
- "LACAP". www.lacphila.org. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
- "Ministrylink: the online home of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, ELCA".
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