News (Blog) Posts

2017 Historic Board Meetings Mark Milestones

A Tale of Two Board Meetings January 10-11, 2017

Gettysburg Board hands off baton to Trustees Configured for ULS
In historic firsts and lasts, two boards met in Gettysburg Tuesday and Wednesday, January 10th and 11th. One ended its service and handed off responsibilities for the continuing chartered school, soon to be United Lutheran Seminary. firstboardmeeting

Looking back over major decisions, turning points, and “history making” moments, the former board of Directors for Gettysburg Seminary completed its final bylaw changes for the transition and took time to remember highlights of their work in recent Gettysburg Seminary history. The meeting was followed by a worship service of Evening Prayer including a homily by Glenn Ludwig, celebrating the conclusion of their service and a banquet thanking 16 Directors completing their service. As a treasured gift to the Seminary archive and to continuing trustees, the departing board members registered their hopes and recommended wisdom to the new board, captured in bound copies that were distributed during the two days of meetings.

January 11: Dawn Brings New Board of Trustees Together
On an icy Wednesday morning, trustees representing synods from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast gathered for the first time, fulfilling business for the last six months of the school as Gettysburg Seminary and the forward navigation for United Lutheran Seminary. Following a brief orientation for new board members, the governance group adopted a committee structure with four committees and its executive committee. Later in the meeting the board elected its first slate of officers, with the Rev. Dr. Elise Brown to serve as Board Chair, Ms. Cheryl Williams as Vice Chair, the Rev. Cheryl Meinschein as Secretary, and Mr. Paul Wangerin in the role of Treasurer. The Rev. John Richter, who has chaired the LTSP board, was asked by the Transition Team to chair the inaugural meeting of this board because of the need to elect officers.

The first meeting of the newly configured Board of Trustees addressed a full agenda of business ranging from the approval of curricular design to the adoption of parameters for future employees of United Lutheran Seminary.boardphotoJan11-2017

Presidents Michael Cooper-White and David Lose shared a presidential report and provided up to date summaries of progress against the original timeline set for the launch of the new school. With the continuing charter of the ULS following the Gettysburg Seminary corporate identity, the newly configured board governs Gettysburg Seminary until June 30th and acts upon decisions guiding the ULS now and after July 1st. President Cooper-White remains the institution’s president until June 30th.

The Gettysburg/ULS board reviewed content for the employee handbook, approved pension benefits and faculty development funds and set tuition for the first theological degree at $16,500 (holding to a small increase over the predecessor schools and maintaining commitment to full tuition support for qualifying candidates). The fee structure adopted reduced the number of overall individual fees of the predecessor schools but increased Gettysburg residential rents by 5%, the first increase in six years. Trustees received updates on the masterplan review for both campuses.

And the board also received an update on the presidential search from Charles Miller, chair of the search process. Miller indicated that the search remains on schedule for a spring decision.
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Search Opens for Library Director for United Lutheran Seminary

United Lutheran Seminary (to be launched on July 1st, 2017) is seeking to fill the position of Library Director.  The starting date is negotiable, but beginning no later than July 1st, 2017.

In mid-2017, United Lutheran Seminary will succeed the historic Gettysburg and Philadelphia Lutheran seminaries, retaining campuses in both locations while being served by a unified faculty and administration.  As part of this transition, United Lutheran Seminary seeks an innovative, adaptive and collaborative director of one library system located on two campuses. The successful candidate will engage with faculty, students and other campus partners to shape a dynamic and technologically conversant teaching, learning and research environment.  This candidate will take responsibility for the development, implementation, and assessment of policies, procedures, and programs that support the teaching and learning of our faculty and students.  The director serves as a member of the Seminary’s faculty, and manages and supervises support staff in both locations.  This director also will participate in the creation of, planning for, and implementation of strategic seminary initiatives that advance accessibility to high quality theological resources.

A MLS/MLIS degree or equivalent from an ALA-accredited institution, with additional graduate level study in Bible, Theology, or Religious Studies required; degree preferred. Minimum 3-5 years library experience in an academic (preferably theological) setting, with previous administrative and supervisory experience preferred. Broad and current facility in theological bibliography desired. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are assumed.

Please send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, and the contact information of three professional references to Dean Kristin Largen, chair of the search committee, c/o Julie Ritter, Administrative Assistant, at jritter@ltsg.edu.

The review of applicants begins on January 30th, and the search remains open until filled.  United Lutheran Seminary is an EEO employer.  More about United Lutheran Seminary is on this site, and below you may find the full position description.  More information on the A.R. Wentz Library of Gettysburg Seminary can be found here:  http://www.ltsg.edu/resources-services/library.

More information on the Krauth Memorial Library of Philadelphia Seminary can be found here:  https://ltsp.edu/academics/library.

Position Description for
Director of the United Lutheran Seminary Library

Position:
Director of the United Lutheran Seminary Library, which exists in two       locations.  It comprises the Wentz Library in Gettysburg, PA, and the Krauth Memorial Library in Philadelphia, PA.  The director has oversight of both locations, including staff oversight at both locations.  Both libraries have long been an essential part of academic life and student success at the seminary.  Deeply valued by the campus community, the libraries provide information resources, excellent service, and vision for the future.  The position is based at either campus, but will involve regular travel to the other campus.

Purpose and Function:
The Director of the Library, which exists on two campuses, brings to the

            position professional training and expertise in library information science, plus a thorough knowledge of the distinctive kinds of library resources and services involved in theological education. It is the task of the Director to manage the library’s resources and promote them in the service of the Seminary community, facilitating and enhancing research and pedagogy. The Director is responsible for formulating and administering library policies and services, all of which should foster the most extensive and meaningful use of the library, both by the immediate seminary community and by the broader academic and ecclesiastical communities.  The librarian is a member of the faculty.

Responsibilities & Duties:

  1. Administration
  • Provide strategic vision, direction and leadership for the continued development and advancement of the library as a center for academic excellence on both campuses
  • Establish policies and procedures in conjunction with the Library Committee and Eastern Cluster Librarians [the current Gettysburg, Philadelphia and Southern Seminary Libraries]
  • Define objectives for library services that can guide planning and budgeting
  • Monitor and evaluate trends and developments relevant to academic libraries, particularly in the areas of scholarly communication training, instruction, outreach, assessment, information literacy and digital collections. Integrate current and evolving technologies of publication into collection development plan.
  • Chair the Library Faculty Committee
  • Foster cooperative relationships with other libraries and engages in formal relationships to share resources
  • Manage the library building and all related projects including space planning, building maintenance, and disability access requirements

2. Human Resources

  • Define responsibilities and create/update position descriptions for library personnel and conduct annual reviews for all library employees
  • Foster staff development and continuing education opportunities for library personnel
  • Communicate goals, priorities and issues to staff and works to enhance internal communication

3. Fiscal Management

  • Prepare an annual budget in consultation with the Cluster Administrator (Business Officer) and the Chief Financial Officer of the seminary.
  • Consult with development staff to identify priorities for library fundraising and strategize on approaches for their realization.
  • Administer the Library budget; track expenditures. Oversee management of print and electronic collections and participate in materials selection.  Support collection development policy in collaboration with the faculty as appropriate to the educational mission of the Seminary

4. Resource Management

  • Evaluate print/electronic resources in terms of the institution’s and cluster’s programs and services, coordinating access (by purchase, licensing, loan, and other linkages) to desired resources, within the policies and practices of the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries Library
  • Develop, apply and report performance metrics
  • Formulate and administer policy on the acquisition, retention, remote location, or disposal of materials
  • Administer Seminary archives and special collections; oversee Region 7 & 8 archives

5. Seminary, Cluster and Judicatory Relationships

  • Serve as the official representative to the Eastern Cluster Lutheran Seminaries Library and to assist the other Cluster librarian in various leadership capacities to achieve the Cluster mission and goals.
  • Serve in other faculty responsibilities such as committees, advising, etc., as negotiated with the Dean
  • Serve as the official representative to relevant library and other organizations such as SEPTLA and ATLA
  • Collaborate and coordinate with the care of the Regional Archives

6. Patron Service

  • Provide professional and personal assistance to library patrons
  • Offer orientation programs, guides, on-line resources, class presentations, and individual instruction
  • Actively engage faculty and students around resources of the library in pedagogy and research
  • Develop and administer evaluations of resources and services
  • Ensure access to services, instruction and the physical space by a variety of seminary constituencies

7. Professional Development

  • Maintain a high level of professional engagement by keeping current with professional literature, and participating in local and national professional associations, publishing and/or presenting

8. Long-Range Planning

  • Collaborate with faculty, students and colleagues in the library to create a vision for library services linked to the Seminary’s strategic plan and responsive to changes in the technological and information environment
  • Involve the staff through meetings to determine and coordinate the library’s goals and objectives with those of the seminary and the Eastern Cluster

 

Qualifications & Skills:

It is expected that the person appointed will have the following education, experience and abilities:

  • Master’s degree in library or information science from an ALA accredited institution; additional advanced degrees desirable
  • Graduate level study in Bible, Theology or Religious Studies required; degree preferred
  • Five years of leadership and supervisory experience, with preference given to experience in an academic setting
  • Demonstrated record of leadership in a context of rapid organizational and technological change
  • Strong background in and understanding of library processes, practices, and standards in an academic library setting
  • Background and experience in fundraising and donor relations desirable
  • Proven ability to work collegially and effectively with students, faculty, staff, alumni and volunteers
  • Demonstrated ability to promote the library with many different audiences
  • Disciplined adherence to best archival principles and practices.
  • Demonstrated experience and expertise in the innovative integration of emerging electronic resources with traditional library materials
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

Accountability:

  • The Library Director reports to the Dean.
  • There shall be an annual review of the Director by the President concerning administrative matters. The standard faculty review process shall govern the review of the Director with respect to his or her educational role. The primary teaching role shall be the orientation and information literacy instruction provided for all academic programs of the seminary.
  • Reports in writing semiannually to the Board of Trustees, to the Eastern Cluster as determined, and informally to the Faculty; and annually at the end of the fiscal year to the president.
  • The Dean shall exercise responsibility for the librarian’s professional development.
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Nov 29 Webinar “On the way to United Lutheran Seminary”

Webinar November 29th with David Lose and Michael Cooper-White

“On the Way to United Lutheran Seminary”

~~  A Live Webinar moderated by Bishop Claire Burkat
with Presidents David Lose and Michael Cooper-White focusing on the United Lutheran Seminary.

~~ Tuesday, November 29th at 7-8 PM EST.

~~ Be sure to register for the event soon by clicking here.  (Free, no costs)

~~ Space is limited. We will be taking questions prior to the event and also answering your questions in real time. Questions can be e-mailed to Marty Zimmann . (mzimmann@LTSG.edu)

Instructions for login will be e-mailed the day before the event.

Gettysburg and Philly Students Lean Into Unity in 51st Luther Bowl

(October 17, 2016) This year marks the 51st annual Luther Bowl flag football tournament and will be played on the Gettysburg campus October 29th. This year also happens to be the last year that Lutheran Theological Seminaries at Gettysburg and Philadelphia will remain two separate institutions. LTSG and LTSP have had a long-standing rivalry in the Luther Bowl tournament, each year competing in a special game between the two schools with hopes of winning the “Common Cup” and a year’s worth of bragging rights.

In light of the venture to become one United Lutheran Seminary, the football teams of LTSP and LTSG have decided to play in separate brackets of the Luther Bowl tournament and retire the Common Cup this year. Instead, the team from LTSP will travel to Gettysburg the night before the tournament to play in a “mixed team” football game and enjoy fellowship around a campfire on Gettysburg’s campus. On the day of Luther Bowl, both teams will support each other as they compete in separate brackets of the tournament. The teams are also working to craft a liturgy for the retirement of the Common Cup that day.

Students expressed hope that retiring the Common Cup and the flag football rivalry between LTSG and LTSP will be yet another display of unity and fellowship between the two institutions as they come to together as one.  “We are very excited to keep tradition alive while looking towards our united future with LTSG” said team captains Bridget Gautier and Seth Rumage.  “We look forward to growing together in fellowship and supporting each other both on and off the field.  This is one of the many ways both LTSP and LTSG are saying and demonstrating that we are in this together.”

Luther Bowl is a beloved tradition at both of our schools, said Laura Dunklin, one of the organizers for the Gettysburg event. “As we approached the tournament this year, we wanted to both respect the history of the rivalry and focus on building relationships for the future. The decisions we made for the tournament this year honor both of those goals. I’m proud of how our teams are supporting one another and the ways in which this fellowship reflects our new identity as we come together to form United Lutheran Seminary.”

All students from both schools said they hope that alumni from both schools will come out and show their support on Saturday, October 29that Gettysburg.

Transition Team Update on Faculty Recommendations

(September 23, 2016) Among the responsibilities entrusted to the 12-member Transition Team appointed by the boards of Gettysburg and Philadelphia seminaries is “recommending persons [to be appointed] to the Faculty.”  This week, each current tenured faculty member of both schools was informed of the Team’s recommendations.  Weighed heavily in the process was input received from faculty members themselves, including offers of some to move to part-time positions or to transition into retirement.

During the fall, faculty members recommended for positions with United Lutheran Seminary (ULS) will be meeting to work out details of the new curriculum, which will further shape individual faculty positions.  Once specific positions and offers are extended by the new ULS board early in 2017, faculty members will then have the customary 30 days in which to decide whether or not to accept positions.

In addition to the above factors, some current faculty members recommended for ULS positions continue to discern among other options they may have.  Accordingly, and to preserve the freedom of faculty to discern their future, there likely can be no public announcement of the ULS faculty until early 2017 when all involved have made their decisions.  In the meantime, individual faculty members are free to share the Transition Team’s recommendations at their discretion.

Much appreciated are the many expressions of support and prayers for all the dedicated persons who serve at LTSG and LTSP.

_____________________________
This update was provided by: David Lose and Michael-Cooper-White, Presidents of LTSP and LTSG Bishop James Dunlop, Chair of the Transition Team

Transition Team Designates United Lutheran Seminary Leadership Team

(September 14, 2016)  At its meeting on September 6th, the Transition Team of the United Lutheran Seminary affirmed recommendations from the presidents of LTSG and LTSP regarding a nine-member leadership team that will shape the staffing pattern, develop detailed budgets, and propose all administrative policies and procedures for adoption by the board of United Lutheran Seminary (ULS).  Beginning its work immediately, the leadership team’s permanent configuration and makeup will be determined by the ULS president in consultation with its Board of Trustees.

The Transition Team conferred with the appointed chair of the Presidential Search Committee, the Rev. Charles Miller of New York City, as well as with Dr. Jonathan Strandjord, ELCA Program Director for Seminaries, who will be an adviser to the committee.  An institutional profile is being developed in conjunction with the presidential position description.  It is anticipated these key documents will be finalized over the next month, enabling launch of the search for candidates in October.  The ULS Board of Trustees, which will elect the new president, and employ faculty and staff, is anticipated to begin serving early in 2017, although ULS does not officially commence until July 1, 2017.   All current staff positions at LTSG and LTSP remain in place until June 30th, and seniors will graduate with diplomas from the two existing schools.

For the purpose of successful organizational preparation for July 1, 2017 launch, the following leadership team will be recommended to the new president in consultation with the ULS board:  Serving as Senior Vice President for Administration and convener of the transitional leadership team will be the Rev. John Spangler, currently Executive Assistant to the President for Communication and Planning at LTSG.  Mr. Dennis Trotter, currently LTSP’s Vice President for Advancement and President of its endowment foundation, will be Senior Vice President for Advancement, based on the Philadelphia campus.  The Rev. Angela Zimmann will be Vice President for Advancement, based at Gettysburg.  The Rev. Trina Johnsten will be United’s Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment, the role in which she currently serves at LTSP.  Co-directors of Finance will be Ms. Jennifer Byers and Ms. Mariam Nowar; each serves in a similar current role at LTSG and LTSP respectively.  Co-directors of Information Technology will be Mr. Donald Redman and Mr. Kyle Barger, again currently in similar positions at the two schools.  Finally, Ms. Elizabeth Meighan will be recommended to the new president as Assistant to the President and Director of Human Resources.

During its meeting at the Lower Susquehanna Synod office in Harrisburg, the Transition Team, chaired by Bishop James Dunlop, also met with tenured faculty members from the two schools.  At the faculties’ request, notification of ULS faculty positions will be delayed slightly from the original mid-September target date, affording faculty members the opportunity to provide more input and offer proposals to achieve the necessary reduction in overall faculty size and budget.  It is expected that all faculty will be notified regarding the Transition Team’s determination by later this month.

In the course of the second round of special joint board meetings over the summer, the LTSG board amended personnel policies to provide up to 10 weeks of severance for any staff members who will not be offered positions as United Lutheran Seminary commences on July 1, 2017.

Questions may be directed to either Seminary’s President’s Office, the Rev. Dr. David Lose at LTSP or the Rev. Michael Cooper-White, LTSG.

Uniting Pennsylvania Seminaries Choose Name, Launch Presidential Search

“United Lutheran Seminary sums up our vision of the future into which we believe God is calling us,” declared Bishop James Dunlop of Harrisburg, PA at the conclusion of two days of meetings held mid-August in Philadelphia.  The name of the consolidated school that will bring together the Lutheran Theological Seminaries at Gettysburg (LTSG) and Philadelphia (LTSP) was the unanimous choice of the governing bodies of two seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

During the special August 18-19 meetings of the boards and their appointed 12-member Transition Team, decisions were made to determine the path forward for the structure of the consolidation and to launch a presidential search for the consolidated school.

Dunlop, who chairs the Transition Team appointed by the boards of the two consolidating seminaries, continued: “With nearly 350 years of combined history, it’s time we joined together.  By mid-2017, we will be one school on two campuses.  In a time when so many forces in our world seek to divide, our coming together is a powerful witness to our Lord Jesus’ fervent prayer for his followers, ‘that they may all be one.’”

Original plans to consolidate the two existing schools by closing both and creating a new entity were modified at the counsel of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education. In order to preserve licensure and full accreditation, the Department advised that the new school adopt and adapt the existing corporate structure of one of the two schools and have the other join the new venture by closing and transferring its assets.  The boards reviewed multiple factors in adopting a plan forward including the schools’ current accreditation status, the complexity of the corporate structures at each school, the transferability of restricted endowments, and the desire to preserve the historical legacy of both schools by retaining the oldest charter. In order to strengthen the mission of the existing schools by creating United Lutheran Seminary hosted on two distinct campuses, the boards decided to use the corporate entity of the seminary in Gettysburg as the continuing educational corporation. The Gettysburg school will therefore adopt revised bylaws this fall, that create a new board of directors constituted by the synods of both supporting regions of the ELCA and additional members appointed by the ELCA’s Church Council. Degrees currently offered by both schools are expected to be retained, and all current students are guaranteed a pathway to complete their degrees without interruption.

During this meeting, both boards also affirmed the Transition Team’s recommendation to launch a search in early fall for the individual who will serve as the first president of the united school.  Both current presidents, the Revs. David Lose of Philadelphia and Michael Cooper-White of Gettysburg, have said they will not be candidates.  “The quest now begins for a leader who will join us in launching a premier seminary serving the church and the world of the 21st century,” stated the Rev. Elise Brown of New York City, who serves as the Transition Team’s vice chair.  Dunlop and Brown also announced that heading the presidential search committee will be the Rev. Charles Miller of New York City.  A graduate of Gettysburg, Miller has served in recent years as a key leader among trustees on the Philadelphia board.  Prior to his retirement, Miller was the ELCA’s Executive for Administration, responsible for overseeing daily operations of the church’s national and international work.  “In Charles Miller,” the two agreed, “we have a widely respected church leader with deep roots in both of these great schools of the church.”

The governing groups of both existing schools also affirmed broad parameters of curricular design efforts conducted over the summer by a faculty work group.  This new curricular structure is not a hybrid of the existing schools but a creative competency-based program that will integrate academic disciplines to yield outcomes needed for 21st century church leaders, rostered and lay. In addition, the boards gave significant attention to measures of transition support for existing faculty and staff members of the two schools.  It is expected the workforce of the combined school will be approximately two-thirds that of the current seminaries’ employees.  Board chairs Dr. James Lakso of LTSG and the Rev. John Richter of LTSP stated, “We want to do the best we can in supporting all our valued employees, including those whom the emerging unified school will be unable to retain.”

“Our goal all along has been to create a new venture in theological education that enabled us to better prepare leaders responsive to the challenges of the day in a way that is more affordable for students and more sustainable to the larger Church,” said Richter, “and we believe the decisions of the boards accomplish this goal.” Lakso added, “We are seeking the best possible launch for United Lutheran Seminary and both boards affirmed strong support for the use of both campuses and programs distinct to each school including the Urban Theological Institute and the Town and Country Church Institute.” Lose and Cooper-White shared their belief that the new school will strengthen the mission and embrace elements of the ethos and history of both schools.

In more immediate matters, the boards heard encouraging reports on fall enrollment at both schools, who celebrate significant increases in entering new students over the prior year.  Also noted is the trend of continuing strong donor support, a key to the recently announced commitment to award full tuition scholarships to all full-time, residential ELCA students while also significantly increasing aid to all other students.

The United Lutheran Seminary will remain in partnership with six other seminaries of the ELCA.  The ELCA Church Council needs to approve bylaw changes and ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton will consult in the presidential search process.  Gettysburg was founded in 1826 and Philadelphia in 1864.

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For further information, contact the Rev. John Spangler, Executive Assistant for Communication and Planning  (jspangler@ltsg.edu) or visit the website  www.newschooloftheology.info

Additional Resources:

PDF version of this news release

Recommended “Pathway” Enabling Resolutions

Frequently Asked Questions about the Unified Seminary

July 29, 2016 Update on Unifying the Seminaries in Philadelphia and Gettysburg

newsletter-graphic-July29w
From David J. Lose, LTSP President and
Michael Cooper-White, LTSG President

We are writing you jointly as constituents of LTSG and LTSP in order to provide an update on the work to unify these two historic institutions for the sake of the whole Church. Much has been accomplished in the six months since the Boards of the two schools both unanimously voted to enter into a process to form a new venture in theological education, and we are excited to offer this update. We want also to remind you of our reasons for undertaking this significant work and will begin there.

Context
We currently face two challenges that we are trying to address by joining our two wonderful seminaries. The first is a great shortage of pastoral leaders. A recently-released study by the ELCA reported that we currently have 600 unfilled pastoral vacancies and that that number is expected to grow to 1000 over the next four years. In this regard, we have never needed our seminaries more. At the same time, the current ELCA network of seminaries (and theological education across the church) is proving unsustainable, as the eight ELCA schools collectively ran an operating deficit of $70MM over the last decade.

By joining LTSG and LTSP we are striving to equip a new generation of leaders who are responsive to, and able to address, the challenges our congregations are facing in a culture that no longer has a vested interest in congregational health. By combining forces, we will be able to do so in a way that is sustainable for the church and more accessible and affordable for students. Toward that end, we not only project a balanced budget from day one of the new venture, but we are also (a) offering full tuition scholarships to all full time, residential ELCA candidates for rostered ministry, and matching church-generated scholarships up to 100% for all other students, and (b) starting a Distributed Learning MDiv degree that will enable more students to complete their theological training at a distance.

Updates
At respective meetings in April, the Boards of LTSG and LTSP each voted unanimously to move ahead with the process to unify the two schools. They also authorized the creation of a Transition Team made up of twelve persons (six from each school) responsible for creating by-laws and policy handbooks for the unified school; recommending new members of the faculty, staff, and Board; selecting a name; and authorizing a presidential search committee. The Transition Team, chaired by Bishop Jim Dunlop with Pastor Elise Brown serving as vice-chair, met last week and is making significant progress on all these matters.

On Friday, July 15, the Boards of the two schools met jointly on the campus of LTSG to get to know each other better, receive updates on the continued work with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and our accrediting agencies, and to have conversation on the role of the new Board. (The Boards will meet a second time together on the LTSP campus in late August.) While in Gettysburg, the Boards also heard reports from their members and the presidents on the tremendous support received in recent assemblies of the synods of Regions 7 and 8. Several of the synods adopted formal resolutions of support and encouragement, including also expressions of concern for disruption in the lives of current employees. In synod discussions, on the floor, in informational forums, and “around the edges,” most who spoke with trustees and other seminary representatives affirmed the new venture while also offering helpful suggestions and posing thoughtful questions, some of which we could answer and some whose answers are still being sought. We are grateful for the support, candor, trust, and patience as we move this venture forward.

Work with the PA Dept. of Education is going well. It is their counsel that one of the two schools provide the continuing corporate entity for the new venture to guarantee that licensure and accreditation remain intact, and that the other school join this school through merger or, more likely, closure and transfer of assets. At this point, the Transition Team is reviewing a variety of factors to help it discern which school may best play which role. The temptation in all of this will be to name the school that provides the corporate entity as the “winner” and the other school as the “loser.” But it’s vital to see this as a joint effort between two schools with a deeply intertwined past and a shared future. The school that provides the continuing corporate entity, after all, will have a new set of by-laws, a new Board representing Regions 7 and 8 of the ELCA, a new name, and a new president. It will be, for all intents and purposes, a new school. The combined strength of the schools will enable us to create a new venture in theological education hosted on two distinct campuses that better serves the larger church and world.

The Boards also affirmed their strong support of existing and specialized work at both campuses, including the Urban Theological Institute at LTSP, the Town and Country Church Institute at Gettysburg, and the training of candidates in the Theological Education for Emerging Ministries programs that occurs at both schools. The work to unify the two schools will provide more resources to strengthen all of these important commitments.

Conversations with faculty and staff about how best to support our community are ongoing. Each school has engaged a chaplain to offer spiritual care during this time of transition. Policy handbooks at both schools provide guidelines for transition support for staff. In order to provide a measure of security for faculty, while also creating flexibility for the emerging school to meet its financial and curricular goals, tenured faculty members have been offered a voluntary transitional support package. In exchange for resignations effective July 1, 2017, tenured faculty who accept the offer are guaranteed either a position in the new venture or continuing compensation for a defined period.

The working group on Educational Design and Curriculum Development, composed of the deans and representative faculty of both schools and in conversation with the rest of the LTSG/LTSP faculties, is starting “from the ground up” to create a new curriculum that is responsive to the present demands, challenges, and opportunities of serving the Church in the twenty-first century. By the end of the summer, it expects to submit a report to the Transition Team proposing degrees to be offered at the new school, the broad outlines of the curriculum, and counsel regarding the size and kind of faculty needed to execute the new curriculum. Specific recommendations about faculty and staff will be the responsibility of the Transition Team and will be communicated to the faculty and senior staff in September and to all staff in early 2017.

Requests
At this point in our journey, we have three requests for you. The first is to continue to hold our communities in your prayers. As you can easily imagine, while our work is hopeful and exciting, it is also disruptive and at times anxiety-provoking. This is particularly true for our faculty and staff colleagues, not all of whom will find a place in the new venture. Know that we will continue to treat our people with respect and compassion and support them as fully as possible during this time of transition.

The second request is to come to us with questions, concerns, or ideas. Much has been said, and even more assumed, regarding our work that does not always align with our experience, effort, or expectations. We will continue to be as straightforward and forthcoming with information as we have it. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact either or both of us (dlose@Ltsp.edu, mcooper@Ltsg.edu).

Third, we ask that you offer your financial strength to our effort. We rely on the generosity and faithfulness of our constituents to make exceptional education available for our future leaders both increasingly accessible and tuition free, thereby meeting the challenge of providing leaders for the church. Given a strong response to our announcement of stronger financial aid – with both schools at mid-summer already beyond our fall admissions projections – we anticipate a focused first fundraising appeal for scholarships will be launched jointly even while we remain separately functioning institutions this coming academic year.

Please know of our gratitude for your support, gifts, and prayers. This is a significant undertaking that we believe will have a salutary and long-lasting impact on the Church we have been called to serve. But we cannot do it alone. Your partnership and prayers are essential. Thank you. Even more, thank God for you.