Welcome to the Mercersburg Society

The Mercersburg Society was founded in 1983 to uphold the concept of the Church as the Body of Christ, Evangelical, Reformed, Catholic, Apostolic, organic, developmental, and connectional. The Society works to provide opportunities for fellowship and study for persons interested in Mercersburg Theology, to sponsor convocations, to engage in publication of articles and books, and to stimulate research and correspondence among scholars on topics of theology, liturgy, the sacraments, and ecumenism.

The Society’s Corporate Board meets on an annual basis at the opening of the Mercersburg Convocation to review the work of the Society and to offer direction and input to the Executive Committee on its ongoing work. The Executive Committee meets two to three times a year to conduct the business of the Society.

Carol Lytch’s Retirement

Carol Lytch has much in common with John Nevin. Most saliently, she came to us from the land of Presbyterianism. Like Nevin, Carol recognized the importance of taking seriously the quirky particularities of a school’s and a denomination’s history and ethos. Although the Mercersburg heritage was alien to her Presbyterian upbringing (which has been reinforced by lengthy sojourns in Princeton and Edinburgh, the twin bastions of English-speaking Calvinism), Carol immediately immersed herself in the Mercersburg heritage and began to spice her language with such phrases as “mystical presence” and “organic life.”

She developed a love for the seminary’s architecture, its bricks and stained glass, in which the Mercersburg theology is incarnated. Her affection for the portrayals of the German Reformed heroes Ursinus, Olevianus, and Frederick the Pious in Santee Chapel is palpable. She lives out the basic motif in the Mercersburg understanding of history: that the rich seeds planted by our mothers and fathers in the faith must be watered and fed so that the church can grow into the glorious community of love envisioned by John. Her work in the seminary, the community, local churches, and the Mercersburg Society exhibits an exhilarating tension between preserving tradition and encouraging innovation. A healthy plant must preserve its roots, but also adapt to new conditions and unfold unexpected blossoms. Carol has been a natural fit with the Mercersburg Society, for it was that very same dialectic that had animated the work of Philip Schaff.

For Carol’s leadership of the Mercersburg Society , and for providing institutional support, we are grateful.

Richard Schellhase

The Mercersburg Society mourns the recent loss of long-time member and contributor, Richard Schellhase (December 7, 1924 – February 23, 2020). In celebration and remembrance of his life and legacy, his loving spouse, Kay Schellhase, has prepared the following overview of his life and interests: download here.

Catherine Marie Shetler

The Mercersburg Society also mourns the loss of member and contributor Catherine Marie Shetler, 96, of the Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community, entered into rest on Sunday, May 10, 2020 at Hospice and Community Care. Born in Lancaster, she was the daughter of the late Harry A., and Anna B. (Krantz) Dinkelberg. She was married to the late Rev. John C. Shetler for 60 years at the time of his passing. Rev. Shetler was a former Conference Minister of the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference.

Catherine was a graduate of McCaskey High School and became a registered nurse through Lancaster General Hospital’s School of Nursing. She worked as an obstetrics nurse in Bethlehem, PA for several years. Catherine enjoyed gardening and was active in the Trappe Historical Society and also the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She was a lifelong member of the United Church of Christ and most recently Zion U.C.C. in Strasburg Township.

Surviving Catherine are her 3 children: Johanna Shetler of Norristown; Erika, wife of Steven Adams of Delmar, NY; and John, husband of Bonnie Shetler of Pequea; 6 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.