Notes from the InterimPresident
March 13, 2020

Dear ULS Family:

We are grateful for Women’s History Month in that it celebrates not only those who have made an impact on how we teach, learn and worship, but those present leaders who lay the groundwork for future generations of women called to the ministry. In that regard, I am pleased to announce the Rev. Dr. Louise Johnson has been selected as commencement speaker for our May 15 ceremony, taking place at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lancaster.

Reverend Johnson,who previously worked in Admissions and Institutional Advancement for LTSP, is currently Director for Leadership Development at LEAD. Prior to her work with LEAD, she served as the fourteenth president of Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA.  She received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Wartburg and a Certificate in Leadership and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Commencement information and Rev. Dr. Johnson’s bio can be found here.  

Preaching with Power was a success this past week.  ULS in Philadelphia was fortunate to host Reverend Dr. Phaedra D. Blocker and the Sacred Music Concert in the African American tradition in the Chapel. Two students in the Black Church concentration of our Urban Theological Institute, Kim Upshaw and Brian Dunlop, received the J.Q. Jackson Merit Scholarship. I attended several of the other events at local Philadelphia churches and am already looking forward to next year’s series.  

From left:  Rev. Dr. Quintin Robertson, Director of UTI, Rev. Dr. Jayakiran Sebastian, Dean, Kim Upshaw, Brian Dunlop, Rev. Dr. Angela Zimmann

Four of our students traveled to Guatemala last week as part of the ULS pilot Immersion Semester Program, which includes eight-weeks of study in country. DMin student and LTSG alumna, Jennifer Hope-Tringali, along with Drs. Crystal Hall, Gilson Waldkoenig, John Hoffeyer, Maria Erling and Jayakiran Sebastian were instrumental in the initial discussion and planning phases. Students will study Spanish at La Unión Spanish School, work with a STEAM girls school, Hope Academy, and partner at various ministry sites with Igelsia Luterana Augustina de Guatemala (ILAG). During the first part of the spring semester students took courses in The Bible and Immigration and Latin American Liberation Theology, and were introduced to network of ministries and organizations working in Latinx communities throughout the ELCA. We’ll be following their journey, so please be sure to check back in.

From left: ULS students Emily Orner, Luke Swanson, Abby Cress, Abby Johnson, Juan Carlos (director of La Union Spanish school) and Abby Cress' fiance, Hans Orellano.

I hope you’ve had a chance to follow the ULS 2020 Lenten Journey, which highlights six influential alumni in addition to the Lenten stories shared by beloved recent graduates. If you’re an alumnus/a with an inspirational Lenten story, please share it with us here!

Lastly, I have appointed aCOVID-19 Task Force to review, implement and communicate best practices and guidelines for students, faculty and staff as we all grapple with this rapidly changing situation. Actions taken to date can be found on our homepage. In a time of uncertainty and anxiety for many of us, we can take comfort in the promise of God’s love.

Ingratitude and hope during the Lenten season,

 Rev. Angela Zimmann, Ph.D., CFRE
Interim President
United Lutheran Seminary
Gettysburg + Philadelphia
President, United Lutheran Seminary Endowment Foundation
Adjunct Professor of Homiletics

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