Uplifting stories of ULS alumni
John Archibald Parkinson was born in New Amsterdam, Guyana in 1918. After graduating from high school, he learned accounting through correspondence courses from England and worked as an accountant in Georgetown, Guyana. He joined a Lutheran church where he became a lay pastor. With dreams of becoming a minister, Parkinson traveled from South America to Oxford, Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor's degree in classical languages at Lincoln University. He played trumpet in Lincoln's marching band and was on the cricket and soccer teams. In 1954, he earned a bachelor of divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and immediately began a three-year stint as pastor of Annunciation Lutheran Church in West Philadelphia, and married Willye E. Watson. In 1957, Rev. Parkinson took his young bride and infant son to Guyana and became a missionary. He served there for just over a year, then returned to the United States to become an assistant pastor at Resurrection Lutheran Church in St. Albans, New York. Three years later, the family moved to East Mount Airy. He was trained as a clinical pastor at Philadelphia State Hospital, where he worked until 1964. For the next 20 years, Rev. Parkinson ministered to residents at mental hospitals, prison and nursing homes. These included the Pennsylvania Eastern Psychiatric Institute, Norristown State Hospital, the Philadelphia Detention Center, and the state hospital at Byberry. He earned a master's degree in counseling at Temple University in 1968, and was trained in pastoral clinical training at the Presbyterian Medical Center. Rev. Parkinson was a champion for those who didn't have a voice in clinical and prison settings. He retired in 1984, but served as an interim pastor at various congregations. He continued preaching until a few weeks before his death in 2006. Blessed be his memory!
Jeremiah Franklin Ohl was born in 1850. Ohl’s sense of call came early in life; by the time he was in college he was devoted to studying classical antiquity and its languages, especially Hebrew. His love for music blossomed during this time as he discovered‘ tune-writing.’ Ohl entered Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia at the age of 21, where he continued his record of academic and musical excellence and regularly played the organ at chapel. He graduated with an M.Div. degree in a class of only eleven people. In an unusual move in that time, Ohl was called to minister at three small parishes: St. John’s in Quakertown, St. Matthews in Kellers, and St. Paul’s in Applebachsville, (near Quakertown); under Ohl’s leadership all parishes grew in terms of attendance and financial resources. In 1879, shortly before turning 30, Ohl met Dr. W.A. Passavant of Pittsburgh (an LTSG alum), one of the founders of Inner Mission work. Ohl, impressed, became a student of the teachings of the Inner Mission movement while the churches under his watch continued to expand and flourish. In 1891, Ohl finished his School and Parish Service Book and Hymnal released in 1892; it was a major success. The book included musical settings for the Divine Service, Matins, and Vespers, and included over 150 hymns, many by Ohl himself.
In 1896, Ohl published a work outlining the specific work of deaconesses; little published material on the subject existed at the time. Ohl emphasized the rigorous and rewarding nature of the work of the deaconess at a time when women’s contributions were not necessarily taken seriously. For years, Ohl traveled to churches, hospitals,and prisons, renewing and revitalizing worship and ministry wherever he went across Pennsylvania, emphasizing the spirit of faith animated by love and mercy shown through good works for the poor, needy, and discarded. Ohl began to stress around this time a philosophy of pastoral care, or ‘seelsorge’,the care of souls. He emphasized that the work of a pastor is not akin to that of a social worker, but “as a shepherd and bishop of souls.” Seelsorge is therapeutic, but is a spiritual kind of therapy, reaching the “real causes”of individual distress, which are often spiritual. Ohl was a teacher and preacher who shows us what it means to be a servant of God, always with an eye toward loving our neighbors as ourselves – not only in our communities, but within our souls.
Maude Aurand McDaniel was a writer, singer, minister’s wife, and among the first female graduates of Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary, having received a master’s degree in sociology in 1953. That same year, she married Lee A. McDaniel, who was studying at the seminary to become a pastor, graduating in 1955. Maude spent her career as a singer and writer, although always said that had the church been ordaining women at the time, she would have pursued a divinity degree to become a Lutheran pastor. She sang in the University of Maryland Chorus, the Pittsburgh Mendelssohn Society, and the Cumberland Choral Society. She also wrote around 500 published book reviews for the Washington Post,Cleveland Plain Dealer, Chicago Tribune, Milwaukee Journal,Book Page, and other publications. Additionally, she was also abi-weekly columnist for the Cumberland Times-News beginning in 1979. A minister’s wife, she was very active in church life, including teaching Sunday school for over forty years. Having passed away on August 19, 2019 her daughters, Ellen McDaniel-Weissler and Carol Adoum donated her journals and writings to the Seminary Archives.
Daniel Alexander Payne was the first African American student to attend Gettysburg Seminary from 1835 to 1837. Licensed to preach by the Franckean Synod in 1837 and ordained by the same in 1839, Rev. Payne went on to become a pastor, educator, college administrator, author, and bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1856 Rev. Payne became one of the founders of Wilberforce University in Ohio, later serving as president from 1863 to 1877. He was the first African American to lead an institution of higher education in the United States.
John Aberly (1867-1963) The Rev. John Aberly attended Gettysburg Seminary from 1888-1889, becoming ordained by the Western Pennsylvania Synod in 1891. He served as a missionary to India from 1889-1923 and founding principal of Andhra Christian College in Guntur, India from 1894-1923. He authored many books, articles, and translations including the notable A Telugu Bible Dictionary published in 1923. From 1926-1940 Rev. Aberly served as president and professor at Gettysburg Seminary. Having been praised by the Board of Directors for his work as president, the former chapel annex of the administration building (now Valentine Hall room 206) was designated as the John Aberly Room. Rev. Aberly’s presidential papers and diary collection is held in the Seminary Archives.
M Div. later a PhD from Boston University in the Psychology of Religion and Pastoral Care.
I was teaching in a program at Greenhaven Maximum Security Prison in New York
I had a student in my class who was very smart. Said his IQ was over 150.
He was always acting like he was above the others and in the intellectual field he was. Each year a valedictorian was chosen and asked to give a speech at the graduation service. We had worked with the prison administrator and he allowed us to have a service and each man was allowed to invite up to three family members
My friend was chosen as valedictorian but immediately said he would not come, not speak and not invite family members. I told him to do what was comfortable and that a space would be placed in the program if he wanted to say a few words .
At the celebration toward the end of Lent he showed up looking very nicely dressed. When the speech time came he ambled up to the podium and started to say a few things. Then he stopped and in a very emotional state said “ See that woman in row three . She is my Mother and she is crying. The tears are out of pride in me and I think this is the first time those tears are not out of anger or fear or anything negative. Thank You Mom for believing in me for all these years
God works wonderful ways and another person felt His Grace snd Love
One of Dorothy Carlone’s fondest memories is the one that scared her the most.She thought of it when a resident at her father’s assisted-living facility in Cheektowaga asked her to recount the happiest memory from her childhood.It was 1957, and the telephone sometimes rang at odd hours. Dorothy Carlone’s father, the pastor of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church on Eagle Street in Dunkirk, answered it, and on many nights, got into his car and drove away. The pastor, who grew up in an orphanage and had ministered to German POWs, never spoke about his mysterious errands.But one night, when she was about 5, Dorothy was determined to find out where he went. She sneaked out of the house, quietly climbed into the family’s brown Studebaker with wood panels, hid in the back seat – and fell asleep. She woke up when her father started the engine and drove down the street. It was dark, and she was scared. He didn’t drive far before he parked the car and left. She crawled into the front seat to try to see where she was. Finally, after what seemed like a long time, here turned to the car and found her.Why was she in the car? he asked. “The phone woke me up, and I wanted to know where you were going,” she said.And then he told her. When a Catholic baby was dying, or stillborn, nurses at Brooks Memorial Hospital called him. He would go to the hospital and baptize the babies, so they could go straight to heaven, the Rev.Eugene H. Roth told his daughter. Today, at 91, Roth lives in an assisted-living apartment, decorated with furniture and cherished items, such as the pennant from Wagner College in Staten Island, where he studied biblical Greek. His 750 CDs, mostly classical music, stand in a rack along a wall.Roth’s black pulpit robe and colored vestments are hung from a rod in front of the window in his bedroom.
I graduated from Mt. Airy in June of 1960--soon 60 years ago. My parents were from Sweden. My father lived to be 100 and 7 months. I have been blessed over the years with a varied ministry of congregational leadership, pastoral caring, chaplaincy directing, agency ministry, and pastoral counseling. At the age of 67, I returned to the academic setting and earned my D. Min. at the age of 70. I continued in ministry as an associate pastor in a large congregation focusing on Pastoral Care and Home-bound Ministry. I officially retired at the age of 82 but am still active in congregational life. I celebrated my 85th birthday on February 17, 2020. My wife and I have been married for 57 years. I contributed many articles for devotional writings in local newspapers and authored a compilation of many of these writings into a book entitled;"Grace-full Living on Life's Way." I have a deep evangelical appreciation for a rich theology of God's Grace. Such is a brief summary of my post-Mt. Airy experiences, ministry, life, and blessings.
In 1960's Queens NY our Luther League took Lent very seriously every year. We suspended our monthly district dances and instead had Sunday evening devotions in the sanctuary during Lent. We sponsored joint services with neighboring Luther Leagues including sermons that we young people wrote and preached. To this day, there are Lenten hymns I can practically sing from memory in harmony.I still remember (now this was in the early 1960's) preaching a sermon on James 2:1-7, 14-17 of all passages! Who would have thought that years later I would leave one profession (librarian), attend seminary and be the sixth woman ordained in my synod in 1978. Back in 1962 the idea of a woman pastor was unthinkable at least in that congregation where only confirmed males could acolyte. My Luther League Lenten experience must have planted a little seed that 16 years later blossomed into my second career.
I have a strong memory of Ash Wednesday 2019. It’s a lasting memory, because I was pretty sure it was to be my last Ash Wednesday. I had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and the disease was incurable and progressing quickly. I wasn't frightened. After preaching the promises of Jesus for four decades, my faith gave me great comfort. I’m a firm believer that God is good, ALL the time, whatever the circumstances! When it was time for the Imposition of Ashes, Pastor Chris Chantelau, LTSG ’91,approached my pew and whispered he would wait until everyone had received and then he would come to my pew. I had an oxygen tank with me and Chris thought it would be easier that way. So it was that he did just that. He knelt at the pew and as he imposed the ashes and spoke those familiar words, "Remember you are dust; to dust you shall return." I had intoned that phrase countless times during my career, often to people who were likely, as it now was for me,hearing them for a final time. The recipient knew it, as did I. That is a very intimate moment. And so it was for Chris and me. And what made the moment even more sacred, Chris handed the container of ashes to me and asked that I trace the cross on his forehead. “Remember, Chris, you are dust and to dust you shall return.” It was a very emotional time for the entire congregation. A few weeks passed and I had an appointment with my pulmonologist. It was Maundy Thursday. As I was leaving his office I said, "Doctor, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I got new lungs on Easter?" He knew I was a pastor and he smiled and replied, "Tim, if that happens, I’ll start going back to church." And then came the Easter miracle. Early in the morning on the first day of the week, the phone rang at 1:15 am and a nurse said, "Come to the hospital in about three hours; we think we have lungs for you." And by mid afternoon on Easter Sunday, I had new lungs. Yes, God is good - all the time!
This isn't specifically Lenten, but it is about serving. These days, I divide much of my time between an interim position (I have served since late July of '18)and the local food pantry where I am currently president. I have served on the board at the food pantry (Good Samaritan) since moving to our current location about 6 years ago. About a year and a half ago, the food pantry (one of only two in our county) was bout to close because the person in charge at that time was seeking to leave the position and no one had volunteered to take over. As we sat at the meeting determining where the various remaining assets would go,I said "I'll do it if I can get some help." To make the proverbial long story short, I have! We already had some people in place helping in a variety of ways. But then, another board member assumed a great deal of responsibility, my husband serves as treasurer and we looked at little ways to save money. (We were in the red by $19,000. that year.) God has blessed our little efforts. We ended 2019 $7,000 in the black and continue to be able to serve the people in need in this county with food and free clothing This one source of joy for me. The other is the congregation. They truly live out being Christ for their neighbor. So, as I mentioned, this isn't particularly Lenten because it is joyful!