By Sue Ann Rybak
A student in a wheelchair bowed his head during the opening prayer at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia’s (LTSP) “Library Connector” groundbreaking ceremony held on Thursday afternoon. Another barrier to learning will soon be broken after the project is complete.
The library connector will not only connect The Brossman Center to the Krauth Memorial Library, it will provide handicapped access to the library.
State Rep. Cherelle L. Parker (D-200th district), who joined seminary officials in hardhats for the groundbreaking, was instrumental in helping to secure a $500,000 grant from Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program, said Rev. Phillip D.W. Krey.
“It is the last public building on campus that is not handicap accessible,” Krey said. “The building will be named after Timothy Briedegam, the son of Helen and DeLight Briedegam and the interior hall of the building will be called Parker Hall in honor of State Rep. Cherelle Parker.”
Phase I of the ‘Library Connector’ being built at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), 7301 Germantown Ave., is estimated to a cost of $1.9 million, according to Eric Bultz from Roberson Butz Architects. Construction is scheduled to begin in a few months. The project should be completed by the end of summer.
“I believe that politics is simply a tool used to decide how scarce resources are allocated,” Parker said. “Every vote that I cast had be something that was going to transmit into something that was going to benefit the community that I serve. All the major institutions in our area from different churches and ministries come here to study,” she said.
Parker said the training students receive at Lutheran Theological Seminary help “to raise up the leaders who can connect with the community in a way that politicians can never connect.”
Parker became emotional when she learned the interior hall of the building was going to be named after her. Parker thanked LTS and said she was overwhelmed.
“It [the project] does put meaning into what I do,” Parker said.
The Rev. Dr. Katie Day said projects like the library connector don’t just happen “from the good intentions of the community of faith. You have to have effective partners,” Day said. “Dr. Parker has been an effective partner. She is a bridge person in the community of faith and government. We all benefiting from that.”
Dr. Karl Krueger, director of Krauth Memorial Library summed up the impact of the project on the community.
“We need books, we need resources to provide and empower leaders so they may serve this community, this city and this world,” Dr. Karl Krueger, director of Krauth Memorial Library said, after reading a quote from Henry Eyster Jacobs about the role of libraries.
“Libraries empower people to do ministry,” or as Krueger pointed out- “books empower people to serve.”