ULS President’s Newsletter | Volume II, Issue 17
Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. Luke 15:4-5
A few weekends ago I was blessed to spend time in the Metro New York Synod. On Saturday, I visited Rev. Dr. Peter Boehringer, the chair of the ULS board, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Rocky Point, Long Island, to discuss future plans for mission and growth at the seminary. On Sunday morning I accompanied the Rev. Dr. Martin Otto Zimmann, Director of Church Relations, as he preached at Grace Lutheran Church in Malverne. There we met the Revs. Linda Bell and David Anglada. The service was wonderfully festive as Grace celebrated the start of the school year. Teachers were installed and students blessed! Grace serves the community by providing pre-school – 6th grade education to over 300 students in the local area.
On Sunday evening, we attended Jazz Mass at St. Peter’s Church on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan as they celebrated Holy Cross Day. The sublime music was under the direction of Ike Sturm featuring Donny McCaslin on the saxophone. The Rev. Amandus Derr challenged us to see people as God sees them—through the lens of the cross. The Rev. Dale Lind ’64 LTSG, Pastor Emeritus, and his talented wife, Marsha, joined us for worship and a delicious dinner afterwards. While we were at St. Peter’s, Dale showed us the Louise Nevelson Chapel of the Good Shepherd (nevelsonchapel.org) which is currently undergoing renovations. In the city that never sleeps, it is good to find pockets of such tranquility and beauty.
I was reminded of Pastor Martin’s reflections on fear and abandonment in the Sunday morning sermon—the same fear that drives us toward all the golden calves of this world. These false idols offer a momentary sense of security, but they fail in the end to help us from being lost sheep. In fact, they only seek to distract us and lead us further away from the God who sees us through the lens of the cross. At United Lutheran Seminary, we’ve discussed, prayed, and worshiped in ways that seek to restore the lost sheep to God’s fold. Specifically, we’ve come to repent of a history that excluded people because of the color of their skin or who they love. We’re ever working to reject the false idols of complacency and exclusion by lifting up and celebrating God’s dappled diversity in the universe. Where others build walls, we seek to build tables of welcome and equity. In the end, we went searching for lost sheep only to discover that they were safe in the arms of God already, and “they” are us. We are one in Christ. We pray and hope for the day when all churches will celebrate this same welcome and equity in God’s Kairos timing.
Lord Jesus, you have come to seek out the lost and the lonely. You give us moments of peace, beauty, and tranquility in the midst of a frenetic and busy world. You comfort us with your words which remind us that you will never leave or forsake us. Help us, when we are lost in the midst of our anxiety and phobias to be found in the company of all God’s saints, celebrating a foretaste of the feast to come.
United Lutheran Seminary
I shared with the community last week my intentions to depart November 30th, 2019, the date of the conclusion of my appointment at ULS. While my time at ULS has been fruitful, challenging, and inspiring, it is time for me to return to Tucson to be with Dorothy and the rest of my family. You can read my full letter here.
The Board of Trustees met from September 24-25, 2019 on the Philadelphia campus. Reports were given by the President’s Cabinet, Alumni/ae leaders, Student Body, ELCA Domestic Mission, and the LTSP Reconstituted Board of Directors. All reports were accepted by the Board. Two motions that we are particularly pleased that passed are the “motion to recommend Dr. Sebastian to continue as the Dean of Seminary and VP of Academic Affairs through June 30, 2022” and the “motion that the ULS Board authorize the search for the James Franklin Kelly and Hope Eyster Kelly Professorship in Public Theology and Diversity” Congratulations to Dr. J. Jayakiran Sebastian on your reappointment! See below for the list of motions that were passed:
Report of the Executive Committee
Report of Governance, Infrastructure and Planning
Report of Resource Development and Financial Management
Report of Academic and Leadership Development
- Motion that the United Lutheran Seminary Faculty Handbook be approved pending legal review.
--- Amendment to remove “pending legal review” Mr. Paul Wangerin and Rev. Craig Miller. Motion carries 15-2.
--- Call to question. Motion carries unanimously.
--- Motion carries.
- Motion and second by Rev. Tedd Cogar and Dr. Tommie Robinson to have a legal review of the Employee, Student and Faculty Handbooks. Motion carries unanimously.
- Motion that the ULS Board authorize the search for the James Franklin Kelly and Hope Eyster Kelly Professorship in Public Theology and Diversity. Motion carries unanimously.
--- Description: The Kelly Professorship of Public Theology and Diversity will, through reasoned articulation of the Christian faith, informed and challenged by the diverse realities of this pluralistic world, focus on public issues of importance and concern. Through theological engagement, the professor will exemplify Gospel values and public accountability in dialogical encounter with people and societal issues, with a view to “promoting the common good by witnessing to core values,” and creating “a more inclusive public sphere in which the public anger of the silenced and excluded voices of the oppressed and marginalized can be heard and addressed by policymakers and practitioners.”
Report of Enrollment Services and Student Life
The co-chairs of the Presidential Search committee met with the search committee last week. Please see here for an update on the search.
Three bishops from various synods around the country will be on the campuses of ULS from October 21-23. The purpose of their visit is for students to have time to engage in discussion, network, and ask questions of the bishops. The bishops who will be visiting are Bishop Susan Candea of the Central States Synod, Bishop Terry Brandt of the Eastern North Dakota Synod, and Bishop William Gohl of the Delaware Maryland Synod. We are excited for their visit and are looking forward to the connections they will make with the students.