Each April, Alvernia’s Seniors College presents a special award to an outstanding individual who, though a selfless life of service to others (especially senior citizens) has helped to make the community a better place. The award, presented at the annual Seniors College Luncheon, is named in honor of Rabbi Alan G. Weitzman, the founder and long-time Director of the Alvernia Seniors College.
This year’s award will be presented to a dedicated community leader, Rev. Luther H. Routte, the Associate Pastor of Robeson Evangelical Lutheran Church in Plowville. He has dedicated his life to fighting injustice and to fostering inter-faith dialog and understanding. Though he continues to address issues facing our community as host of the monthly BCTV show “Generation Gap,” he is best known for wading into any situation to deal with a problem directly—be it racial discrimination, religious intolerance or gang violence. A man of deep conviction and principle, he is a respected leader whose impact will be felt for generations.
Routte was born (1939) in Jamaica, Long Island to Pastor Jesse W. Routte and Attorney Maude G. Routte. A 1960 honors graduate of Wagner College, he began his life of service with the New York City Board of Youth where he worked with teen-aged gang members. Later, he joined the NYC Department of Social Services, developing and running senior center programs for 12 years. In 1988, he graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and—following in his father’s footsteps—entered ministry as the Associate Pastor of Atonement Lutheran Church in Wyomissing, where he served continuously until his retirement in 2007. In 2009, he re-entered pastoral ministry at Robeson Lutheran Church in Plowville.
In addition, Rev. Routte has been involved in international missions in Tanzania, and together with Rabbi Weitzman, battled the Ku Klux Klan’s entry into Reading. The Reverand and his wife Carol (of 31 years) have two grown children, Jesse and Irene, both of whom are emulating their parents by trying to make the world a better place.
The Alvernia Seniors College is in its eleventh year of facilitating the pursuit of lifelong learning for its 700 members. It runs three semesters a year and offers about 20 courses per semester, in addition to clubs for socialization.