For all that has been, thank you. For all that is to come, Yes! – Dag Hammarskjold

Next week, I joyfully resume responsibility as Vice President of Advancement at United Lutheran Seminary while Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin arrives in Pennsylvania to begin his Presidency. Please join with me in praying for Bishop Guy, his husband Rob, and their sweet parrot Echo as they journey to us from California for this new chapter in their story. We are so glad to welcome them to our community!

In the ordination service to the ministry of word and sacrament, the presiding minister prays the following over the soon-to-be pastor: Almighty God, who has given you the will to do these things, graciously give you the strength and compassion to perform them. In the past eight months, God gave me the will to serve, but the strength and compassion to perform the tasks before me came from God through you, beloved community. The strength and compassion came from you.

Photo by Kyle K. Schiefelbein-Guerrero

I am grateful for my partners in ministry in the President’s Cabinet, including Buff Carlson (Chief Financial Officer), Conor Brooks (Interim VP of Advancement), Linda Fiore (Director of Communications), Kyle Barger (Senior Director of Operations), Jayakiran Sebastian (Academic Dean and Vice-President of Student Services), and Carla Pavlick, my executive assistant. This is the “dream team.” And there are so many more: each of you, each placed in the right position at the right moment in time to do the work of God.

The community of United Lutheran Seminary – staff, faculty, students, alums, supporters near and far – all have prayerfully and patiently collaborated with each other to further the mission of the school under extraordinary circumstances, keeping in mind the call and the needs of the church catholic in service to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By the grace of God, we together have accomplished the following (and this is not a comprehensive list, but just a sampling):

  • Regaining our seminary’s “Reconciling in Christ” status.
  • Establishing Juneteenth as a formal and permanent seminary holiday.
  • Completing a faculty handbook.
  • Responding to the pandemic crisis; quickly shifting our learning environment to an online format, keeping the ULS community safe from potential exposure to the virus – moving to online worship and shepherding home our students abroad in Guatemala.
  • Designing and celebrating an online graduation celebration for the class of 2020, while planning for a well-deserved in-person celebration in 2021.
  • Launching the United Congregational Partners Program which recognizes the partnership of over 80 churches in the northeastern United States who consistently give of their time and talents to provide for future generations of rostered leaders in the church.
  • Consolidating existing debt structures and receiving of the government PPP grant/loan in order to stabilize and faithfully steward our finances.
  • Welcoming the largest year-to-date class into ULS, including 26 new DMin students, with three students from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.
  • Securing a $400,000 grant from the Lilly Foundation for the Asian Theological Summer Institute, led by Dr. Rajashaker.
  • Celebrating (tomorrow!) the unveiling of a permanent art installation at ULS: “For All The Saints” is a special gift from one of our partner congregations. It will enhance and bless the worship life of our community for decades to come. You are invited to watch the inspiring video where artist Ophelia Chambliss discusses her work beginning on August 1st at 7 pm. You can connect to the video here.

Finally, I would be remiss in not thanking my family for living in close pandemic quarters with me these past few months with grace and aplomb; we have grown closer through this intense experience, just as our ULS family has grown closer. I am especially grateful to my spouse, Martin (also recognizable as the Director of Church Relations at ULS). We celebrated 25 years of marriage on July 1st. I am, as is the seminary – and as are all of us – a Holy Mess at times, and Marty has never failed to love me in spite of it. Thank you, Martin. I love you.

May we all continue to love one another and see the sacred within each other…even on our messiest days. It has been a joy to serve.

In gratitude,

caption for image

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

News & Events:
Dr. Crystal Hall has been appointed as the ULS representative to the Policy Council of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa). You can learn more about this appointment here.

Dr. Gerald Christianson, professor emeritus of the Theological Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg has ended a forty-four-year stint as the host of “The Seminary Explores,” a radio show turned podcast that covers all sorts of relevant topics for our times. You can listen to his last episode of the podcast here.

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