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GTS Trustees Strengthen Management Team

General Theological Seminary Trustees Strengthen Management Team

Professionals from Law, Finance and Business Join GTS Leadership


December 20, 2010


New York City – Meeting on December 20, Trustees of The General Theological Seminary (GTS) elected three new board members, Sanders Davies, Kenneth M. Kramer, Esq., and James K. Murray, Jr.  In accordance with recommendations from the Trustees’ Executive Committee which met earlier in the month, trustees also approved important leadership roles for the new trustees. Sanders Davies will serve as Chair of the Trustee’s Audit Committee. Kenneth M. Kramer will serve pro bono as the Board’s Chancellor (chief legal counsel), and James “Jack” Murray will serve as the Board’s Treasurer succeeding retiring Treasurer Stephen Burrill. In additional actions, Trustees approved the appointment of trustee Sandra Johnson as Interim Chief Financial Officer, at the same time accepting her resignation from the Board so that she might assume this staff position.

“I believe that these elections and appointments of eminently qualified and deeply committed leaders of our Church to these vital positions on our Board of Trustees is a crucial step forward on our long yet promising journey toward achieving the goals envisioned in our Plan to Choose Life,” said Board Chair the Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of New York, referring to the school’s comprehensive plan to reduce debt, build its endowment, and balance the budget.

Sanders Davies, chair of the audit committee, is a certified public accountant and senior partner of O'Connor Davies Munns & Dobbins, LLP, an accounting firm of over 250 professionals with offices throughout the New York tri-state area. Mr. Davies serves in a firm-wide managerial role while serving his clients in the areas of audit, tax and consulting related engagements.  His client experience includes an extensive list of both commercial and not-for-profit engagements. A graduate of Rutgers University, Mr. Davies is a member of numerous professional societies and has served as a board member of several commercial and charitable organizations including the Salvation Army Advisory Board where he was Co-Chair of its Finance Committee. He is an avid sailor and with his wife, Ann, resides in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Sandra Johnson, Interim Chief Financial Officer, is a retired senior banker and senior credit officer.  Ms. Johnson started her banking career with Citibank in 1975 and has handled large corporate accounts, syndications and workouts, served on credit committees and financed mergers/acquisitions and LBO’s.  In addition to her professional responsibilities, she has served as Junior and Senior Warden of Christ Church Riverdale and Treasurer of the Diocese of New York from 1989 to 2002.  In the latter capacity she was a founding Board member and Treasurer of Episcopal Charities, a Trustee of The Diocesan Investment Trust and a Trustee of the Diocese of New York.  She currently serves as a Trustee for the Diocesan Investment Trust of the Diocese of Newark, is an EFM mentor at Christ Church in Short Hills and has facilitated Careers in Transition at the parish for 13 years.  Ms. Johnson and her husband, Bill, reside in Short Hills, NJ.

Kenneth M. Kramer, Seminary Chancellor, is a retired senior partner in the international law firm of Shearman & Sterling LLP. His private practice focused on commercial litigation with specialization in financial service industry disputes, securities class actions, antitrust actions, and corporate governance and contract cases. Mr. Kramer headed his firm’s litigation group and served as a member of the firm’s Practice Management Committee. On his retirement from Shearman & Sterling he joined JAMS, a leading alternative dispute resolution organization, where he serves as an arbitrator and mediator. Mr. Kramer is a 1965 graduate of Colgate University and a 1972 cum laude graduate of Albany Law School. He is active in community affairs and currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Episcopal Social Services and Music for Life International. Mr. Kramer and his wife, Susan, reside in Brooklyn Heights.

James (“Jack”) K. Murray, Jr., Treasurer, currently serves as Chairman of Murray Corporation, a private merchant company.  In 1970 Mr. Murray was one of the founders of a company that is today HealthPlan Services. In 1978, the company was acquired by The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation and in 1989 Mr. Murray assumed the position of President of Dun & Bradstreet Credit Services.  In addition, he held the position of Corporate Senior Vice President of D&B.  In 1993 Mr. Murray retired from Dun & Bradstreet and, with other financial partners, acquired HealthPlan Services from Dun & Bradstreet in 1994. In May 1995, HealthPlan Services became a public company and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Mr. Murray serves as a trustee of numerous institutions in Tampa, Florida including Sykes Enterprises, Inc. (SYKE, a public company listed on NASDAQ).  In addition, he has served as senior warden for St. John’s Episcopal Church, as a trustee of numerous schools in Tampa and currently serves as a trustee of the University of Tampa.  He and his wife, Sandy, live in Tampa, Florida.

“While the Seminary’s mission is to prepare leaders for the church and the world, we have been reminded by our financial circumstances that we must become much better at attending to our own internal business practices,” said GTS President Lang Lowrey following the meeting. “Jack, Sandy, Sandra and Ken are at the top of their professions and will bring to the Seminary a wealth of experience not only to assist in our financial turnaround but to rebuild our business practices and systems as well.  I continue to be grateful for the willingness of so many who love General to respond actively by getting involved to make the Plan to Choose Life a reality."


# # #
Media Contact:
Bruce Parker
Associate Vice President for External Relations and Alumni/ae Affairs
The General Theological Seminary
175 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
(212) 243-5150 x285,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.gts.edu

Spring Term 2011 at GTS

Spring Term Courses Offer Unique Learning Opportunities at General Seminary


January 21, 2010


New York City – Beginning in February the General Theological Seminary will offer a new roster of courses in which participants can explore their faith and expand their theological understanding while enjoying the beauty of the Seminary’s landmarked campus in the heart of the Big Apple. All courses may be taken for graduate-level credit, and accommodations are available on campus in the Desmond Tutu Center. To register and for further information (including full course descriptions) visit www.gts.edu or contact Director of Admissions, William Webster at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 212-243-5150 ext. 280.

World Religions Prayer Practicum

In our increasingly pluralistic society, Christian spirituality is being strengthened by the encounter with other faith traditions. Participants in this course will gain a basic familiarity of the world religions and an ability to guide others in authentic Christian spiritual practices informed by interfaith understanding. Adjunct Prof. C. McPherson. Six Saturdays: February 12 & 26, March 12 & 26, April 2 & 16, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon.

Discernment

A theological, experiential and practical exploration of Christian discernment from New Testament times to the present, with special emphasis on its social and political implications. Human embodiment and desire are also studied as special influences on the process of discernment.   Prof. Elisabeth Koenig. Thursdays 6:30-8:30 p.m. 

What is Islam?

This course is an introduction to the common religious, cultural and political base of what is popularly called Islam, concentrating on fundamental origins of the faith found in the Quran and in the career of the Prophet Muhammad, considering as well the beliefs and observances shared by most Muslims and some of the differences among them.  Adjunct Prof. Frank Peters, Wednesdays 1:30-3:20 p.m.

Faith, Film, and Popular Culture

Participants will discover the homiletical, scriptural, theological insights that movies can offer those who preach and teach the faith in the North American context. Screenings are followed by insightful analysis and interpretation.  Prof. Mitties DeChamplain, Mondays 1:30-4:20 p.m.

Children’s Spirituality in Literature and Film

The voices of children in literature and film are drawing keen interest from scholars around the world utilizing new models of literary, filmic, cultural, multi-cultural, psychoanalytic, theological, and feminist criticism. Students will examine books and films for children and those capturing experience of childhood for adults while learning to apply recognized critical standards, in addition to insights from their own perspectives.  Prof. Elisabeth Koenig, March 7-11 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 pm.

In God we Trust: Theology and the Marketplace

An engaging exploration of the marketplace where religion and economics meet, using theology to connect a vision of the world as an expression of God's grace with economic measures that account for future generations and the sustainability of the whole environment. Adjunct Prof. Susan Lee. Mondays 7:00-9:00 p.m.

The General Theological Seminary, located in the heart of New York City, educates and forms leaders for the church in a changing world. Founded in 1817 as the first theological seminary of the Episcopal Church, General offers certificate and degree programs including the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Theology. The Seminary is also home to the Desmond Tutu Center, a full-service conference center with sixty modern guest rooms.


# # #
Media Contact:
Bruce Parker
Associate Vice President for External Relations and Alumni/ae Affairs
The General Theological Seminary
175 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
(212) 243-5150 x285,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.gts.edu

Advancement and Communications Offices Merge

General Seminary Merges Advancement and Communications Offices

President to Head New Office Joined by Associate VP and Three Staffers

 

December 3, 2010

New York City –In the interest of making its administration more effective, The General Theological Seminary (GTS) will merge the Communications Office with the school’s Department of Institutional Advancement, Seminary President Lang Lowrey recently announced. The new department will be called the Office of External Relations, a title the Seminary used in the 1980s for an office encompassing similar responsibilities. The new Office of External Relations will have responsibility for development, communications, alumni/ae affairs, and marketing Seminary programs. It will also oversee the Chelsea Square Conservancy, a group of Seminary friends and donors formed around preserving the Seminary’s historic grounds as well as the GTS Media Workshop, which makes recordings of GTS programs, including sermons from the Chapel, available on the Internet.

“Because fundraising is so critical to the mission of our school and will require my involvement,” said President Lowrey in making the announcement, “I will myself be providing primary oversight of this new department.”  Charles Knapp, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Alumni/ae Relations, Lowrey explained, has agreed to assist with the transition in leadership until the end of 2010. “Charles will be departing GTS on January 1 with our deep appreciation for the work he has done here,” said Lowrey. “In the face of troubling news about the finances of GTS last year, Charles and his team none-the-less raised an impressive amount for the Seminary’s Annual Fund—a figure that has set a recent high water mark in General’s history. I am very grateful to Charles for agreeing to remain with us to provide a smooth transition.”

The day-to-day operations of the new Office of External Relations will be headed up by Bruce Parker, former Executive Director of Communications who, with the merger, has been promoted to Associate Vice President for External Relations and Alumni/ae Affairs.  A 1984 graduate of GTS, Parker has served the Seminary for the past 17 years and is the Seminary’s most senior staff member. “While his primary area of expertise will serve the communications and marketing side of the new office,” said Lowrey, “Bruce will also draw upon his many years of working in close collaboration with development. He has been intimately involved in planning and creating support materials for many of our fundraising efforts including the last capital campaign.”  Before joining the GTS staff in 1993, Parker served as a communications consultant to Washington National Cathedral, to Trinity Church Wall Street, and to the national offices of the Episcopal Church, and in this capacity provided support to many fundraising efforts.

In addition to Parker, the new External Relations team will consist of Senior Advancement Officer Donna Ashley, a 2006 graduate of the Seminary, and Director of Development Don Temples. “Donna has done excellent work for GTS and Don has also served us with distinction,” said Lowrey. “I am looking forward to directing the efforts of this promising new department at GTS.”

Also as part of the restructuring, Lowrey announced that Chad Rancourt, who has served for the last seven years as Media Coordinator in the Communications Office, will advance to the position of Director of Communications in the new Office of External Relations. A communications veteran with significant experience on Wall Street and in the advertising industry, Rancourt has been responsible for establishing a consistent graphics branding for the Seminary and for taking a key role in marketing Seminary programs.

Although the new office will also continue to provide a number of specialized production services, some internal support services previously provided by the Communication Office may need to be curtailed or appropriated to other GTS units. Similarly, the new office will maximize its efforts by accelerating the move to electronic communications and away from those venues that require paper. The move to electronic communications is both a cost consideration as well as a statement about stewardship of the environment. “I have met several times with the new External Relations staff and am excited by the synergy that I feel will be generated by this very talented group of people,” said President Lowrey in concluding the announcement. “Two members of the team are alums of GTS and all four have made significant contributions to the Seminary over the years.”

# # #
Media Contact:
Bruce Parker
Associate Vice President for External Relations and Alumni/ae Affairs
The General Theological Seminary
175 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
(212) 243-5150 x285,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.gts.edu

Community Update

GTS Community Update -- November 30, 2010

Friends,

As you know, this month has been a very busy time on the Close with the 2010 Alumni/ae Gathering, the Paddock Lectures, the Annual Lecture of the Anglican Society, and meetings of the Friends of the Library and the Associate Alumni/ae Executive Committee all having taken place recently. We both want to thank the entire GTS community for the wonderful hospitality that was shown to all our visitors. In this Update you will also find news about the implementation of the Plan to Choose Life and some important developments concerning our staff and faculty.

Alumni/ae Gathering and Paddock Lectures

The Matthews Room of the Tutu Center was filled to its capacity for the three Paddock Lectures, each of which featured the fine scholarship of the Rev. Dr. Bruce Chilton ‘74. If you were unable to attend, please check upcoming issues of TWAG concerning the availability of recordings. Another noted scholar and GTS graduate, the Rev. Dr. John Kater ’66 was this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Alumni/ae Award which was presented at a wonderful banquet in the refectory on November 11.

Contract Signed with Brodsky Organization
As you receive this Update a press release is also being finalized to announce that GTS and the Brodsky Organization have signed a contract leading to the sale of the GTS properties specified in the Plan to Choose Life. Although additional third party approvals are needed before the agreement is finalized, the signing of the contract clears the way for us to start implementing a number of components of the plan. Residents of Pintard Hall and of Dehon Hall will begin to be relocated and the Seminary will begin to end the practice of renting housing units to outside tenants living in 422. Please visit the Blogs section of the Rookery for the most up-to-date information about implementation. On the evening of December 7 the Seminary will be inviting residents from the surrounding neighborhood, as well as local media representatives, to learn about the Plan to Choose Life by joining us in Seabury Auditorium for a meeting with President Lowrey.

Relocation of Faculty Residences on the Close
As part of the further implementation of the Plan to Choose Life, the relocation of faculty residents of Chelsea 2,3,4 will also soon begin. Prof. David Hurd’s household will be moving into the Moore Building apartment previously occupied by the household of Prof. Drew Kadel. The soon-to-be vacated apartment of our retiring Chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Stuart Hoke, also in Moore, will become the new residence of the Kadel household. The Seminary is deeply appreciative of the patience and generosity shown by all students and faculty members who are being relocated as part of the implementation plan.

News from Prof. John Koenig and Prof. Elisabeth Koenig

Long time professors at GTS John and Elisabeth Koenig have informed us that they are investigating early retirement. Serving as Glorvina Rossell Hoffman Professor of the Literature and Interpretation of the New Testament, Prof. John Koenig joined the GTS faculty in 1978. As an effective and engaging teacher, he has enkindled a love of the New Testament in hundreds of GTS graduates. He is also a noted scholar and author having written many articles and several books relating biblical studies to the ministry of the church. Joining the faculty in 1986, Dr. Elisabeth K.J. Koenig, Professor of Ascetical Theology, is currently at work on a book about discernment and she teaches an extremely popular GTS course on the same subject. A sensitive and accomplished teacher, her foundations course in spirituality has served to introduce generations of GTS students to the inseparable connection between spiritual practice and social commitment. With special expertise in areas of patristic spirituality, fourteenth century English mystics, and the relationship between ascetical theology and psychology and art, she is frequently published in journals such as Theology Today. Our Easter term will feature a wonderful event at which we can all celebrate the impressive contributions John and Elisabeth have made to the life of General Seminary and express our thanks.

Chaplain’s Position

We were pleased so many were able to join the community on the afternoon of November 19 at a lovely reception to celebrate the ministry of our departing Chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Stuart Hoke. Stuart’s last day with us was November 22. His time here at GTS has been a blessing to all of us. The search committee under Bishop Lee’s direction has narrowed the field to several candidates who have been invited to the campus for interviews and a tour. A new Chaplain is expected to join the community in January.

Administration News

We both want to express our appreciation to Maureen Burnley for the energy and effectiveness with which she has assumed responsibility for the logistical implementation of the Plan to Choose Life, particularly the relocation of residences and offices. We are also indebted to the staff of the Business Office and Sandra Johnson, our new Interim CFO, for undertaking all the extra duties that have had a critical role in assuring a successful outcome to the agreement with the Brodsky Organization. Lastly, a special word of thanks is also due to the staff of the External Relations Office who worked so hard to insure a successful Alumni/ae Gathering. A prior Update informed you of the merger of the former institutional advancement and communications offices to create the Office of External Relations. This announcement will soon be made public in a press release that will be sent later in the week of November 29.  Also, a complete organizational chart of the Seminary’s administration will soon be added to the Rookery for your reference.

After chapel each morning, it has been great seeing so many students, faculty, and staff starting their day with our new “continental breakfast” in the lobby of West Building. We encourage you to join the community as often as you can for a hot beverage, pastry, and good conversation. After all, as we all know, the coffee hour is an inseparable part of the Episcopal experience.

As we return from our Thanksgiving holiday and as we mark the beginning of Advent, let us all give thanks for the innumerable ways God has blessed us, for the people we love, for the love we receive from others, and for the privilege of sharing a life of study, worship, and community here in Chelsea Square.

God’s peace,

 

The Rev. Lang Lowrey       The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee
Interim President                  Interim Dean

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January 2011 Course Offerings

January Courses Offer Unique Learning Opportunities at General Seminary

New York City --  Beginning January 10 the General Theological Seminary will offer four short term courses in which participants can explore their faith and expand their theological understanding while enjoying the beauty of the Seminary’s landmarked campus in the heart of the Big Apple. All courses may be taken for graduate-level credit, and accommodations are available on campus in the Desmond Tutu Center. To register and for further information visit www.gts.edu or contact Director of Admissions, William Webster at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 212-243-5150 ext. 280.

Jesus Wept: When Faith and Depression Meet
No leader of a faith community and no spiritual director can afford not to know about the quiet devastation of clinical depression, which affects twenty million Americans. People of faith may have a unique relationship to this condition, including a profound shame that makes them reluctant to seek treatment and the popular insistence on perpetual cheeriness as a necessary condition of faith.  This class will examine depression as it is currently understood, as well as the ways in which its despair has been treated in Christian tradition. Adjunct Prof. Barbara Crafton, January 10-14, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.

Greenfaith: Earth Spirituality, Stewardship, and Justice Practicum
Imagine a world where in every community religious leaders speak influentially on the environment; where houses of worship use renewable energy, produce no solid waste, press for clean-ups of local toxic sites, and lead community efforts for environmental sustainability; and where religious educators teach children that caring for the earth is an ethical obligation. This course will offer participants theological and practical training to make this world a reality. Adjunct Prof. Fletcher Harper, January 24-28, from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.  

Biblical Theology for the Spiritual Guidance of Children

Biblical Theology is a discipline that studies the narratives, poetry and other literature of the Bible to discover how the writers of biblical texts understood interrelationships among God, humans, and the world. Such critical study will enable participants to reflect on how the biblical theologies influence our own theologies today. Students explore several foundational stories in the scriptures, focusing on how these give rise to our thought and talk about God and creation. Through lectures, discussions and small group exercises the class will consider the ways children hear, wonder about and interpret biblical stories.  Prof. John Koenig, January 15-16,  from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm.

Practicum in the Spiritual Guidance of Children

This practicum teaches the art of inviting children into the Christian language system in a way that honors their wonder and undifferentiated awareness of God’s presence. It is in this context that the skills of observation, the relationship of child development to the spiral curriculum, and the awareness of method, fluency in the curriculum, and foundational theory are experienced and critically reflected on.  Godly Play is the centerpiece of this supervised experience with special attention to key core presentations found in Volumes 2, 3, and 4 of The Complete Guide To Godly Play. Distinguished Visiting Prof.  Jerome Berryman, January 10-14, from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.

The General Theological Seminary, located in the heart of New York City, educates and forms leaders for the church in a changing world. Founded in 1817 as the first theological seminary of the Episcopal Church, General offers certificate and degree programs including the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Theology. The Seminary is also home to the Desmond Tutu Center, a full-service conference center with sixty modern guest rooms.

###

Media Contact:
Bruce Parker
Associate Vice President for External Relations
The General Theological Seminary
175 Ninth Ave.
New York, NY 10011
(212) 243-5150 x285
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


THE GENERAL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
440 West 21st Street, New York City, NY 10011   |   tel (212) 243-5150  fax (212) 727-3907

The General Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church is a tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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