From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Timothy Lull, Lutheran Theologian, Seminary President, Dies
News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Wed, 21 May 2003 14:03:18 -0500
ELCA NEWS SERVICE
May 21, 2003
TIMOTHY LULL, LUTHERAN THEOLOGIAN, SEMINARY PRESIDENT, DIES
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Rev. Timothy F. Lull, president and
professor of systematic theology, Pacific Lutheran Theological
Seminary (PLTS), Berkeley, Calif., died May 20 of complications
following surgery. He was 60. PLTS is one of eight seminaries of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
"The church has lost a great theologian, a great leader and a
great friend," said the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the
ELCA, in a letter to the PLTS community as it met May 21 for a noon
memorial service at the seminary's Chapel of the Cross.
"I have repeatedly called upon Tim for his theological
insights, his contextual perspective, his curiosity and his deep
friendship," Hanson wrote. "While his earthly journey has ended much
too soon, his legacy of leadership will continue to guide the church
for years to come, as will the impact his witness and teaching has
had on the lives of those whom he has touched," he wrote.
Born in Fremont, Ohio, Lull was a graduate of Williams College,
Williamstown, Mass. He earned a bachelor of divinity degree from
Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Conn., and master of philosophy
degree and doctorate from Yale Graduate School, New Haven. He was
ordained in 1972 and served as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church,
Needham, Mass., while an instructor at the Yale Divinity School.
Lull joined the faculty of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at
Philadelphia in 1977. In 1989 he became academic dean of PLTS, and
became the seminary's sixth president Jan. 1, 1997. Since 1989 he
served also as a core doctoral faculty member of the Graduate
Theological Union -- a consortium of nine seminaries, dozens of
centers and institutes, and the University of California at Berkeley.
Lull became one of the consortium's leaders, said the Rev. Mark
R. Ramseth, president, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, who
chaired the PLTS board when it named Lull as president. "He was
always pushing the envelope to effect change and relevancy in those
institutions," said Ramseth.
Ramseth called Lull's death "a huge loss for this church."
"I was always struck by his agile, winsome mind. He had ways
of articulating the depths of theological thought and reflection, but
he did it in a way that was relevant and pertinent to the church and
challenged the church to stretch and move forward," said Ramseth.
"I always had a hard time keeping up with him. This guy was a
person of profound energy. He was juggling most every issue that the
ELCA faces and did it with credibility and integrity," he said.
"Students found him accessible and found that their call from
the church was confirmed not only by his witness to the gospel but by
his encouragement," said Ramseth.
Lull was Lutheran co-chair of the Lutheran-Reformed Committee
for Theological Conversations, which developed the full-communion
agreement the ELCA entered into with the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.), Reformed Church in America and United Church of Christ in
1997. He and his wife, Mary-Carlton Lull, joined an ELCA delegation
in Rome for meetings March 21-26 with Vatican officials of the Roman
Catholic Church, including a March 24 audience with Pope John Paul
Lull authored "Called to Confess Christ" and "My Conversations
with Martin Luther," and he edited "A Common Calling" and "Martin
Luther's Basic Theological Writings." Since November he has written
the monthly "Our Faith" column for The Lutheran, the magazine of the
The Rev. David L. Miller, editor, calculated that Lull has
written more than 40 articles for The Lutheran over the past 15
years. Miller said Lull was such a fine and energetic writer on "key
teachings and aspects of Lutheran faith and history" that the
temptation was to use him too much.
Lull wrote "lively lucid prose that always engaged readers and
took them into a deeper awareness of their faith," said Miller.
While drawing on church history, tradition and confessions, Lull's
writing was "never stodgy" and "always bristled with life," he said.
Lull and his wife were the parents of two adult sons. Lull is
also survived by his grandson and by his sister -- the Rev. Patricia
J. Lull, dean of students, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.
-- -- --
The home page of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary is at
http://www.plts.edu/ on the Web.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG
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