Every fall bishops representing the 9 regions of the ELCA visit our seminary campuses. The purpose is two fold, to make our bishops more aware of the seminaries of the ELCA and to meet students and faculty to help increase their awareness of the variety of regions in the ELCA.
This year I visited the campuses of United Lutheran Seminary (which just this year came into existence as a merger of our seminaries at Gettysburg and Philadelphia). On Tuesday I spent time in class at Gettysburg as we worked via zoom with students in Philadelphia. I am interested in how they are utilizing zoom as we also are utilizing this technology to link students in our parish lay academy.
I was honored then to preach at chapel in the historic Gettysburg chapel as we commemorated JCF “Father” Heyer, the first American missionary sent to India who also earned his MD at age 54. We then toured the Seminary Ridge museum and took in the views from the Cupola where Union and Confederate signal corps viewed and helped direct the battle of Gettysburg.
Tuesday afternoon we then drove to Philadelphia in time to meet with students and then participate in a chapel service. It was organized by senior worship leaders and focused on commemoration and repentance as we approach the anniversary of Kristallnacht (Nov 9th). Called and challenged to consider when our silence in the face of violence is consent.
Wednesday morning we toured the Philadelphia campus and then sat in on a preaching class where we talked about images in preaching and got a bit creative. My stick figures were of the wise and foolish bridesmaids featuring Blind Willie Johnson as the bridegroom.
The time there then ended with chapel and a tour of the historic campus including the library built in 1906 and saw the famous Muhlenberg statue that was to be a gift to the city of Philadelphia. But when offered in 1915 was refused due to anti-German sentiment.
Our 7 ELCA seminaries are an essential part of leadership development in our church. I am grateful for the faculty, students, and leadership of these schools. You can learn more about each of them by visiting https://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Leadership/Seminaries.