Dawn of a new century
With the advent of the 21st century came the seminary’s most ambitious construction project, which was also the seminary’s first building dedicated primarily to classroom use, The Brossman Learning Center, completed in 2005. With Brossman completed, the cramped Krauth Memorial Library was able to move part of its collection, including the Lutheran Archives Canter at Philadelphia, to the undercroft of Brossman. Changes in technology, including the growing demand for education online, introduced rapid innovation. Globalization and post-modern culture influenced seminary teaching and learning greatly. Religious pluralism forged an attitude of wider understanding. The school added a Multicultural Mission Resource Center in Brossman, and in 2008 engaged a Professor in Islamic Studies and Muslim-Christian Relations. The seminary introduced a Center for Interreligious Dialog, which reached out to its neighbors from Muslim and Jewish traditions. This fast-paced change led to a new mission statement. The global economic crisis of 2008 sharply impacted the seminary. Early in the new century, Professor Timothy Wengert completed the most recent translation of the Book of Concord, working with Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod editor Robert Kolb and others. Professors Wengert and Richard Stewart “rediscovered” the former St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Center City Philadelphia. The church’s foundation, housed inside the walls of the University of Pennsylvania’s Masque and Wig Club, was once led by the Rev. Jehu Jones, the first African American Lutheran pastor to serve a congregation in North America. In addition to Professor Wengert, Professors David Grafton and Katie Day, and former dean J. Paul Rajashekar, will be your guides for this chapter. Oh, and in case you’re asking, “What’s an aught?” – The New Yorker explains.