The United Lutheran Seminary Alumni Association Announces 2024 Alumni Award recipients

February 29, 2024

The United Lutheran Seminary Alumni Association (TULSAA) is pleased to announce the 2024 TULSAA Alumni Award recipients. Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination. Award recipients will be recognized at this year's spring and fall convocations. Below is a summary of each awardee's accomplishments. Read more about spring convocation.

2024 TULSAA Alumni Awards

Faithful Servant - Outstanding Recent Alumni Award: The Rev. Carla Christopher, ‘20– Assistant to the Bishop for Justice Ministries in both the Lower Susquehanna and Delaware-Maryland synods. Pastor Christopher (she/they) was a member of the first class to enter seminary as a United Lutheran Seminary student in Fall 2017. Originating the co-op program on the Gettysburg Campus and a Fund for Leaders Redeveloper Scholar, Carla graduated with honors in May 2020, having served as student body Vice President, Proclaim Student Representative, and on the seminary's diversity task force.

Pastor Christopher was nominated by the Rev. Kelley Ketcham, ’09 (G). She shared, “I  nominated Carla Christopher because I have known her since she was a student at ULS. Since her graduation, she has worked tirelessly for justice ministries in York and the surrounding areas, while also serving a congregation and as assistant to the bishop in the Lower Susquehanna and Delaware-Maryland synods. Her racial justice and LGBTQIA2S+ competency training are some of the best trainings that I have attended in my years of ministry, and many other rostered leaders whom I have spoken to agree. She also serves the wider church as co-chair of the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church, which will recommend how to restructure the ELCA's governing process.” 

A prior Poet Laureate of York, PA, Carla has been a featured writer or regular columnist for Sparkhouse, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, Reconciling Works, National Council of Churches, Living Lutheran, ELCA Worship Blog, Faith + Lead, Sundays and Seasons and more.

Pastor Christopher previously served as a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) trainer, Carla has been a consultant, curriculum developer or keynote and facilitator in areas of justice and healing for Pacifica, Southwest California, Metro Chicago, Southwestern Texas, Minneapolis Area, Greater Milwaukee, Delaware-Maryland, and every synod in Pennsylvania among others.

A former community organizer, Carla is a chaplain for LGBTQIA2S+ rostered leaders with Proclaim, a ministry of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, serves on the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in PA (LAMPa) Statewide Policy Council, and national Evangelism and Vital Congregations Teams, and was chosen as co-chair of the Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church.

While finishing her third successful team-based congregation redevelopment, Carla also currently serves as Assistant to the Bishop for Justice Ministries for Lower Susquehanna and Delaware-Maryland Synods. She recently relocated to Gettysburg to pursue a DMin in Congregational Vitality Training Curriculums after completing the Iron Sharpening Iron certificate program in Ministerial Leadership with Princeton Theological Seminary.

Witness to the World – Excellence in Community Ministry Award: The Rev. Terrance McCarthy, ’09 (G) – ULS Pastoral Presence (GBG, Co-Op, DL).  Pastor Terry is blessed to serve as a pastoral presence for members of the ULS community in Gettysburg and to serve as a resource for spiritual care for distance learning. He engages in a ministry whose goal is to affirm the unique personal, theological and professional journey of each student and to affirm their gifts for ongoing and future ministries and when appropriate to provide a ministry of presence and resources towards their care in the midst of the uncertainties, transitions and challenges of theological formation. Pastor Terry leads groups for spiritual nourishment and for collegial discussion of upcoming scriptures that the students may be preaching on and leads worship on both campuses in a regular rotation with other faculty and staff.

Pastor Terry was nominated by classmate and colleague, the Rev. Kelley Ketcham, ’09 (G). Pastor Ketcham reflected on the invaluable resource he is to the ULS community offering a pastoral presence for the Gettysburg and Distance Learning students. She shared he is also a social justice advocate.

After 15 years as an Occupational Therapist working with children at risk for developmental disabilities, Terry entered LTSG and received his M. Div in 2009.  After graduation, he served for a year as a resident chaplain at Wellspan Health –York Hospital, working mostly with patients and their families in the inpatient and outpatient oncology services. He was ordained and was called to serve as Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran church (Broadway) in Hanover, PA in January of 2011.

In 2016, Terry suffered a debilitating stroke, leaving him with permanent left-sided weakness and impaired mobility and he consequently resigned from his call. In February of 2019, Terry was appointed to be a pastoral presence for the Gettysburg and Distributed Learning communities of ULS. He lives with his wife, the Rev. Susan J. McCarthy and their son, Luke.

Celebrated Lifetime Ministries – 2024 Two Award Recipients

1. The Rev. Dr. Donald B. Green, MDiv ’74, DMin ‘83 (G) Retired. During his ministry tenure Pastor Green’s calls included positions at Union Deposit Lutheran Parish and Zion, Hershey; Holy Spirit, Lancaster; Assistant to the Bishop for Mission and Outreach SWPA Synod, ELCA; and Executive Director, Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh.

Pastor Green was nominated by the Rev. Kari Smail, ’01, ’14, (G) and current DMin student at ULS. Pastor Smail shared throughout his career, Don Green was always a leader in the church and passionate about his call as a servant of Christ. She wrote during his service as the executive director of Christian Associates of SWPA he brought together more than one million Christians from 10 counties. His work in the church took him worldwide as he traveled to see the work being done by Lutheran World Relief and the Lutheran World Federation in Zambia, Kenya, India, Puerto Rico and Madagascar where there is a Pastor Don Green Youth Center.

Ministry Highlights for Pastor Green included leading the peaceful dissolution of the Union Deposit Parish and becoming the first full time pastor of Zion in its 130-year history. Don guided the renovation of the sanctuaries of the three parishes which he served including the installation of a pipe organ at Holy Spirit; facilitated healing and growth at Holy Spirit after controversy about the LBW, weekly Eucharist and a non-LCA organizational structure; and assisted in the discernment to ministry and preached the ordination sermon for the Rev. Stephen Herr.

Pastor Green served six years on the Board of the ELCA Division for Outreach; drafted with his RC and Episcopal colleagues a LARC Covenant signed by the three bishops; and guided three mission trips to the companion synod in Tulear, Madagascar.

While serving in western PA Pastor Green facilitated the collegial relationships of 26 Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant bishops and judicatory executives; administered the ecumenical and interfaith chaplaincy at the Allegheny County Jail; and produced weekly televised devotions for CASP’s Pittsburgh TV channel. With his rabbinical colleague facilitated interfaith engagement within the Christian, Islamic and Jewish leaders., including an Abrahamic Interfaith Prayer Service at St. Paul’s RC Cathedral prior to the G20 summit in Pittsburgh.  Don was awarded the Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel Award by the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee. As the ecumenical representative he accompanied the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to the Vatican to celebrate Pope John Paul II’s 25h anniversary as pope and his commitment to ecumenical and interfaith relations.

Don served as the Protestant Chaplain on multiple cruises including a 39-day sailing from Sydney, Australia to Osaka, Japan as part of a sabbatical. An ardent advocate for theological education and ULS, he recently concluded his service on the TULSAA board as President. Pastor Green and his wife of more than 54 years, Kathryn, are the proud parents of three children and one grandson.

‍2. The Rev. Dr. Robert H. Linders, MDiv ’67 (P). Theologian in Residence, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Doylestown, PA. He has served as senior pastor at St. Paul’s since August 1977. One of the largest Lutheran congregations in the greater-Philadelphia area, the church celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2011.

Pastor Linders was nominated by The Rev. Robert E. Mitman, ’75 (P). He described Pastor Linders forte is preaching and lifted his encyclopedic mind, as he is able to recall quotes from great poets, authors, and preachers at will. Pastor Mitman shared Pastor Linders zest for life is not only evident in his active ministry but also in his daily workouts and brisk walking.

Pastor Linders was ordained in 1967 following his graduation with a Master of Divinity degree from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he also holds an M.A. in English from Monmouth College in New Jersey. In addition, he has earned master's and doctoral degrees, both from Princeton Theological Seminary.

The New Jersey State Champion in the 800-meter run in 1960, he was the Most Valuable Athlete in his high school graduating class at Northern Valley Regional High School in Demarest. He was inducted into the inaugural Hall of Fame class at his high school in 2011. In 1964 he represented the United States in a dual track meet against Great Britain in London, England. He was inducted into the College Hall of Athletic Honor at Gettysburg College in 2001. His 800-meter record of 1:50.7 has been unsurpassed at Gettysburg for 59 years.

He has lectured or preached at Catholic, Princeton, Cornell and Penn State Universities, as well as The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. In addition, he has conducted numerous seminars on preaching.

His publications include "Preaching About Evil," an article in Homiletical Accents; sermons in the book Selected Sermons published by the Episcopal Church; articles in Partners and Theology Today; as well as an article included in Book of Readings used in the Second International Ecumenical Congress on the Meaning of Human Suffering in Houston, Texas. He has also published three books of sermons and essays: No Time for Rest, No Safe Route, and Musings from Main Street.

Pastor Linders inspired eight members of St. Paul's to enter the seminary and prepare for the ordained ministry.

From 1970 to 1977, he served as pastor of Lutheran Church of the Reformation, West Long Branch, New Jersey. From 1967 to 1970, he was pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Leonia, New Jersey.