Author Archive

November 20, 2012

From the Deans: Sharing God’s Blessings

By sharing their stories, worshipping and visioning together, and by working together on administrative tasks, the congregations of the Northeast Philadelphia Conference intentionally share God's blessings, the Rev. Kevin Hilgendorf writes in the December "From the Deans" column. Together they build faith, have fun, and even save some money through economies of scale. How can the congregations of your conference collaborate for mutual benefit?

November 1, 2012

From the Deans: Getting Rooted in Scripture

The Bible is a complicated book -- a library, actually, written over 1,000 years -- and its diverse literary styles and historical contexts have often seemed overwhelming, the Rev. Gordon Simmons, dean of Delaware Conference, writes in November's "Word from the Deans." Don't give up, he says. Keep reading Scripture, read in a group, focus on parts that work and listen for what God is trying to say. That's how to get (and stay) rooted in scripture.

October 31, 2012

Responding to Hurricane Sandy

"Now that Hurricane Sandy has passed, our hearts and prayers go out to all who have suffered loss of life, property, or have been traumatized by this historic storm," Bishop Burkat writes in a message to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod. Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA is working with many partners, from other denominations and from non-religious relief agencies, to help those facing the devastation of this storm. Click through for a prayer suitable for All Saints Sunday and information about volunteering.

October 29, 2012

Hurricane Update Oct. 29

From Bishop Burkat: We are now experiencing a storm of unprecedented fury, strength and breadth. Extraordinary measures of evacuation, road closures, public transit cessation, and the necessity of community shelters are indications of the serious peril caused by the hurricane called Sandy. Communication and collaboration among our faith partners has been swift and effective. Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA has been monitoring the storm's progress in cooperation with the Red Cross and other voluntary organizations in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The SEPA Synod has been in constant contact with Lutheran leaders through e-news and website updates. LDR will be mobilizing resources and volunteers once the storm passes and needs are known.

October 28, 2012

Hurricane Update Oct. 28

As Hurricane Sandy approaches, Bishop Burkat and your Synod staff are praying for our congregations and leaders and for all who are in the path of this serious storm. Lutheran Disaster Response-Eastern PA suggests that in preparation for the storm that may disrupt our communications systems, take the time this evening to "touch-base" with your neighbors and local community. In times of crisis, these are the folks who will be most able to help us and who we will be most able to help.

October 4, 2012

Tanzanian University Gets New Name

As of October 2012 SEKUCo will have a name change to Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University (SEKOMU). Since 2006 our synod has been partnering with SEKUCo to start and expand this University College. In a very short period of time they have gone from being a new College to having provisional approval to function under the Tanzanian Department of Education to now becoming a full fledged University with a new name. Congratulations to Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University.

September 27, 2012

From the Deans: Go to God in Prayer

"Our dwelling is where we live - we’re not just an occasional guest. Likewise, our relationship with God should not consist of only an occasional visit. Especially if that visit is solely for the purpose of helping us out of trouble," the Rev. Lamont Anthony Wells, dean of our Northwest Philadelphia/Olney Conference, writes in October's "Word from the Deans."

September 19, 2012

Turning Point Named Zone of Peace

Members of the Zones of Peace Steering Committee selected Rhawnhurst Turning Point to be recognized by the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia as a Zone of Peace. As a new member of the Zones of Peace Program, Turning Point joins a region-wide interfaith movement of churches, synagogues, mosques, other houses of worship, schools, and community-based organizations working to address the root causes of violence and promote peace.

August 9, 2012

Prayers for Peace for Sikh Community

The following letter was sent by Bishop Burkat and the other Co-Conveners of the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia to the Sikh Community of Philadelphia in response to the attack on the Temple in Wisconsin. Please continue to keep our Sikh Brother and Sisters in your prayers as together we seek peace.

July 12, 2012

Judge Blocks City’s Homeless Feeding Ban

A federal judge today (July 11) blocked enforcement of the Philadelphia's ban on distributing free food to homeless persons in city parks, including Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The Welcome Church, a synod-sponsored homeless ministry, and three other religious groups brought suit claiming that the city's plan to move all feeding to City Hall interfered with their ability to minister to homeless persons where they live -- along the parkway.

July 10, 2012

Churches Appeal of Feeding Ban Heard

Religious leaders and city officials testified July 9 in the first day of a hearing on the legality of the city's ban on free meals for the homeless along Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The Rev. Violet Little of the Welcome Church testified along with other homeless advocates and a deputy mayor. Little and the other plaintiffs argue that providing food, such as the coffee hour after her "church without walls" services on the Parkway, are central to their ministries and the city's ban interferes with the expression of their faith.

July 6, 2012

Wonderfully Made Camp In the News

In a Huffington Post column, Nicole Greer writes that she found our Synod-sponsored "Wonderfully Made Camp" at a time when her local church was becoming uncomfortable with her self-understanding as a gay Christian. "Wonderfully Made opened my eyes to opportunities I have to minister to others who feel rejected by the church, and consequently have doubts about Jesus's love for them," she writes. Link to the article after the jump.

July 5, 2012

Red Hill Celebrates 25 Years with ASP

When 27 volunteers from St. Paul's, Red Hill, left for Avery County, North Carolina June 30, they marked 25 consecutive years doing home repairs with the Appalachia Service Project. The quarter-century run is one of the longest records of participation among Lutheran congregations, ASP officials said. Upper Perkiomen newspaper "Town and Country" highlighted St. Paul's volunteerism in a recent issue.

June 6, 2012

Tanzania Mission: The First Six Months

SEPA Synod lay missionaries Susan and Tom MacPherson have completed six months of their two-year adventure in Tanzania. Click through for an update from the MacPhersons on their work at Irente Children's Home and information about how you or your congregation can support their ministry. Download an insert to use in your Sunday service bulletin for a Sunday in June or July. Please remember the MacPhersons in the public prayers in your church.

April 12, 2012

Easter in Arusha

"The Easter Sunday service was filled with great joy. We sang some favorite Easter hymns and we were asked to assist with the distribution of Communion...The church was packed. With a few dozen people still in the aisle, the bread almost ran out...The pre-poured wine and juice also ran out, and they were served common cup. It was a joyous occasion." Since early November, Tom and Susan MacPherson have lived in Tanzania, representing our synod as they work at the Irente Children’s Home, a mission of the North Eastern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. In addition to their work caring for the children, Susan teaches English, bookkeeping, and computer skills to many of the workers at the orphanage and Tom works as a handyman. More importantly, they both share God’s love with all the people they meet and find God’s love in those same people. Join in their journey by reading their "Partners in Mission" blog at Read more to learn how to send encouragement to the MacPhersons and how to support their work.

April 11, 2012

Rev. Davenport Named to LSA Board

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has appointed the Rev. Patricia Ann Davenport, SEPA Assistant to the Bishop and Director for Evangelical Mission, to the national Board of Lutheran Services in America, the Baltimore-based network of two Lutheran denominations and their over 300 health and human service organizations.

April 11, 2012

“Burst” Grant to Resettle Refugees in the Northeast

Congratulations to Rev. Ben Krey and Prince of Peace, Philadelphia, who received one of Wheat Ridge Ministries’ first “Burst Project” grants. Ben will be working with the congregation to help resettle new refugee families arriving in their community. In partnership with Lutheran Children and Family Service, they will use a former parsonage to temporarily host families to acclimate them to their new community.

April 5, 2012

Easter Greetings from Bishop Burkat

May you encounter the risen Christ in his glory and power this Easter, and my you experience Him as Lord and center of your life! Blessings and peace to you during this holiest of weeks, and prayers for a joyful Easter as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.

March 29, 2012

LSH Women of Courage Honor Bishop Burkat

Lutheran Settlement House will celebrate its 110th Anniversary with its Women of Courage Awards Ceremony and breakfast on Thursday, May 31. The Awards Ceremony will honor Bishop Claire Burkat and four inspiration clients from LSH’s homeless services, domestic violence program, literacy program and senior center. You can join in supporting LSH and honoring Bishop Burkat by attending the breakfast, which will be held May 31 from 8-9:15 am at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia, 215 S. 16th Street. Tickets are $50 per person and include a donation to LSH.

January 3, 2012

No Injuries in Hatfield Church Fire

A New Year's Eve fire heavily damaged the old church building at Grace Lutheran Church in Hatfield. The current church and two adjacent homes were spared through the efforts of several local fire companies. The former church was used as a daycare, educational space, and home of the Laymen Playmen theatrical group. "The lost building represents many years of memories and ministry for so many people of the Hatfield area," the congregation said on its website. "The congregation is grateful to the brave firemen and other emergency responders who put out the fire and prevented damage to other structures."