ABOVE PHOTO: Portrait of PA Senator LeAnna Washington hanging in The Brossman Center, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (l-r: LTSP president the Rev. Dr. Philip Krey, LTSP Trustee chair the Rev. John Richter, East Mt. Airy Neighbors past-president Dan Muroff, Sen. LeAnna Washington)
(Photo by seminary media consultant John Kahler)
The inscription beside a newly unveiled portrait of State Sen. LeAnna Washington (D-PA 4thSenatorial) says simply, “Without her support and that of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, this facility would not have been possible.”
The facility in question is The Brossman Learning Center at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), and the portrait hangs outside of Brossman’s Benbow Hall, which hosts scores of community events each year. Washington has spearheaded efforts to secure funds from the Commonwealth to help pay for the structure.
Sen. Washington, whose district includes the seminary and the surrounding community, has supported the seminary’s development of several facilities including Brossman. Most recently, the senator secured a $250,000 grant to aid in construction of a connector between Brossman and the century-old Krauth Memorial Library, giving handicap access to this historic and important resource. While integral to the academic work of the seminary, both the library and Brossman Center are open to the public, with the library often used by members of the community for research, and The Brossman Center hosting a variety of community events.
Perhaps the prayer petitions by Washington’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. J. Louis Felton of Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ, best summed up both the spirit of the occasion and the momentous community partnership with the seminary that led to the gift of state funds. “We have separation between church and state, but we do not have divorce,” Felton said. “We still have visitation rights.” Those visitation rights were also referenced in remarks by Dan Muroff, past president of East Mt. Airy Neighbors, a community organization, when Muroff referred to The Brossman Learning Center as “the Town Hall in Mt. Airy.”
In brief remarks paying tribute to Washington, LTSP President Philip D. W. Krey said, “No public official has done more for this school than you have.” Krey described as an example of Washington’s life of public service her passion on behalf of victims of domestic violence and described an annual banquet on behalf of victims, hosted at LTSP and organized by Washington.
“These are challenging times for the seminary and challenging times for political leaders,” said the Rev. Dr. John Richter, chair of the seminary’s Board of Trustees, who expressed thanks to Washington on behalf of the Trustees. “We are grateful for your partnership and generous commitment to do what you have done for this little corner of God’s kingdom.”
After the portrait was unveiled, a grateful and visibly moved Washington, who was awarded an honorary doctorate by LTSP two years ago, said the initiative to raise support for the seminary was an example of her low profile commitment over 18 years in office to “getting things done” in the name of public service. “As soon as I met President Krey, I came to appreciate his vision for the seminary and its relationship to serve the community,” she said. “And I felt an immediate connection to that vision and a desire to help make his dream for that vision of a broader community relationship become more of a reality.” She cited the seminary as an example of putting public funds to good and visible use in terms of the community.
The Rev. Dr. Jaykirian Sebastian, chaplain of the seminary, led a brief religious service during the event. The service featured a prayer of gratitude for the seminary and the service of Sen. Washington delivered by Pastor Felton.