December 2017 A concerned student letter is written to Dr. Krentz over the delay in approval for Black leadership in Black History Month worship services. Here is a portion of that letter:
…I think both our Lutheran heritage and our ecumenical openness may be increased through seeing the chapel as community expression vs. classroom extension. Since there is no need for the polity / liturgical expression in chapel to be the same between the two campuses, I propose we let the Gettysburg chapel be the unashamedly full-on, Lutheran liturgical expression of polity that so many students, faculty, alumni and donors of both predecessor seminaries have expressed a desire for. This would be a right pairing for the Lutheran dominated student and faculty population in Gettysburg. Let the Philadelphia chapel embrace our more ecumenical context by naming publicly and proudly when we worship in a Baptist, AME, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Methodist, or Lutheran expression. It is the right context for this Philadelphia community, and we (in the privileged place as Lutherans) must name this publicly to create that space. It is the only way I can see that we will build the trust this community needs to embrace our current context. We can do more from our place of privilege to create a stage from which our ecumenical peers present the best that their traditions have to offer. Ideally I’d like to see a Philadelphia chapel context that embraces a format that states publicly the leader(s), the denominational affiliation / context (examples: Black Church, and/or Episcopal, and/or Feminist), the scripture(s) being utilized, and the theme of the service.
Publicly promoting these four aspects (leader, context, scripture, and theme) will give an even footing to all. We must, in my opinion, go further yet and invite our ecumenical peers to lead. It is not enough to simply state that anyone may lead and return to a default position of mostly Lutheran / Episcopal leadership when other expressions of faith do not step forward due to the previous eras skepticism and/or out right hostility toward leaders, contexts, scriptures, and themes that do not fit easily into white, Anglo-European-American-Lutheran-Episcopal norms…
One of the proposed policies in the ULS Policy Survey seeks to address this ongoing systemic issue in the ULS community. This announcement is part of the timeline of racism at United Lutheran Seminary