United Lutheran Seminary

United Lutheran Seminary, with campuses in Gettysburg and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one of the seven seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).[2] It was created in 2017 when the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia merged.

United Lutheran Seminary
Religious affiliation
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
PresidentR. Guy Erwin
Academic staff
Students226 (FTE)
CampusPhiladelphia and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania


Lutheran Theological Seminary at GettysburgEdit

The Church of the Abiding Presence, the chapel of the United Lutheran Seminary-Gettysburg.

On September 5, 1826, what is now the oldest Lutheran seminary in the Americas held its first classes with eight students in the small borough of Gettysburg. In 1832, the seminary relocated to Seminary Ridge overlooking Gettysburg, becoming the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.[3]

In July 1863, the seminary's premises and environs became the stage for the Battle of Gettysburg. Schmucker Hall. the original seminary building, is today a museum dedicated to the battle that took place there, the role of faith in freedom in nineteenth century America, and also Civil War medical practices. Schmucker Hall was the largest fixed field hospital at Gettysburg.[4]

Lutheran Theological Seminary at PhiladelphiaEdit

Founded by the Ministerium of Pennsylvania in 1864 to preserve both Lutheran identity and the study of and instruction in the German language, the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia was first located in the Center City District. It relocated to Mount Airy in 1889, a historic site where the first shots of the American Revolution's Battle of Germantown had been fired a century before.[5]


The current school was founded on July 1, 2017, as a consolidation of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.[6] United Lutheran Seminary continues under the charter of Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.[7][8][9]

The first president of the seminary, Rev. Dr. Theresa F. Latini, a Presbyterian, was announced on April 20, 2017.[10] Latini's previous experience working for OneByOne, an organization that performed "gay conversion", caused significant controversy[11] and she was fired on March 14, 2018.[12] The Rev. James Dunlop, bishop of the ELCA's Lower Susquehanna Synod, served as acting president. On May 16, 2018, the seminary board announced its selection of Dr. Richard Green as interim president, beginning June 1.[13]

On June 9, 2020, the seminary board announced the election of the Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin as president. Erwin was previously bishop of the Southwest California Synod of the ELCA. He is the first Native American bishop and the first openly gay bishop of that church body.[14]

Notable facultyEdit

Notable affiliationsEdit

In 1835, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg welcomed one of the first African Americans to study theology in America, Daniel Alexander Payne, who later became a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the first president of Wilberforce University under AME auspices.[15]

A century after its early integration, Gettysburg was also the first among American Lutheran seminaries to grant tenure to a female professor, Dr. Bertha Paulssen. Graduating in 1965 was Elizabeth Platz, the first woman to be ordained (in 1970) by a U.S. Lutheran body.[16]

Following his graduation from the Philadelphia seminary, Franklin Clark Fry was elected to the presidency of the United Lutheran Church, the Lutheran World Federation, and the World Council of Churches. On April 7, 1958, Fry was featured on the cover of TIME.[17]


  1. ^ "EDNA". www.edna.pa.gov. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  2. ^ "Seminaries". ELCA.org. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  3. ^ "History: United Lutheran Seminary".
  4. ^ "History: United Lutheran Seminary".
  5. ^ "History: United Lutheran Seminary".
  6. ^ Spangler, John (June 29, 2017). "Two historic Pennsylvania seminaries become United Lutheran Seminary July 1". religionnews.com. Religion Press Release Service. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  7. ^ Holmes, Kristin E. (March 10, 2017). "Seminaries feel the crunch of a changing faith". Philly.com. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  8. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about the Unified Seminary - August 2016" (PDF). United Lutheran Seminary. August 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 21, 2017. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  9. ^ MacDonald, G. Jeffrey (May 2, 2016). "Lutheran seminaries will merge instead of launching a new school". The Christian Century. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  10. ^ "United Lutheran Seminary Names Theresa Latini As Its First President — Gettysburg Seminary". April 20, 2017. Archived from the original on August 24, 2017. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  11. ^ Scott Jaschik (March 14, 2018). "Seminary in Turmoil". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  12. ^ Scott Jaschik (March 15, 2018). "Lutheran Seminary Fires President". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  13. ^ "Seminary names interim president". GettysburgTimes.com. Gettysburg Times. May 18, 2018. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  14. ^ Seminary, United Lutheran. "United Lutheran Seminary Names Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin As Next President". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  15. ^ "History: United Lutheran Seminary".
  16. ^ "History: United Lutheran Seminary".
  17. ^ "Time Magazine Cover: Apr. 7, 1958".

External linksEdit

Official website