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General Seminary Hosts Chelsea Music Festival

6 June 2011

New York City – This summer The General Theological Seminary will host the Chelsea Music Festival (CMF) taking place on the Seminary’s landmarked campus and at venues throughout the Chelsea neighborhood from June 14 through June 18.  Having established itself during the summer of 2010 as one of the city’s major cultural events, this year CMF has selected General to be its Festival Headquarters. Renowned and emerging musicians from around the world will rehearse in various locations on the campus, particularly in the classrooms of Sherred Hall, and the Seminary will be the center for Festival volunteers and ticket sales. Outdoor areas as well as the Seminary’s chapel and auditorium will be used for performances and events.

Prior to CMF’s opening, an invitation-only outdoor reception with the Festival musicians and Artistic Directors will take place on June 13 in the Seminary’s gardens, known as the Close, at 6:30 pm. A brief recital featuring the Festival artists will follow in the Seminary’s chapel at 7:30 pm. As reservations are required for the reception, those wishing to attend should please send an email to GTS Senior VP Bruce Parker (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Reservations are not needed for the recital which follows in the chapel and there is no charge.

On June 16, the Festival’s Bach@Noon series will feature world-renowned virtuoso and Festival Artist-in-Residence Alban Gerhardt performing one of the Bach Cello Suites on the Seminary’s beautiful Close at 12 pm. The public is welcome to attend and the recital is free.

Lastly, on Saturday, June 18, a Festival Talks panel discussion will be hosted by Artistic Director Ken-David Masur.  Paths on the Upright: Improvisation and journeying the musical highway from classical to jazz will take place at 2 pm in Seabury Auditorium. This event is free to those who have purchased tickets for other Festival events. For all events please enter the Seminary at 440 West 21st Street. 

Festival performances at other venues throughout Chelsea—all within walking distance of GTS—together represent an extraordinary week-long event for lovers of classical and jazz music. “Cultural and artistic events like the Festival are what summer in the Big Apple is all about,” said General Seminary president Lang Lowrey, “we are honored to host these talented musicians and to welcome our neighbors to the GTS campus for this wonderful event.” For more details on the performances, the artists, and all Festival events visit, www.chelseamusicfestival.org.


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Media Contact:

Bruce Parker
Senior Vice President for External Relations
The General Theological Seminary
440 West 21st Street
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

General Seminary Trustees Appoint Two New Faculty Members

May 20, 2011

New York City – Trustees of The General Theological Seminary (GTS) meeting on May 17, 2011 unanimously approved the appointment of two new members to the Seminary faculty.  The Rev. Dr. Amy Bentley Lamborn will become Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology and the Rev. Dr. Clair McPherson will become Visiting Associate Professor of Ascetical Theology. The two scholars were selected by Seminary search committees and presented for Board approval by General’s Interim Dean, the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee. “We are delighted to be able to add to the Seminary’s faculty two new professors, both of whom are excellent teachers and possess the highest levels of scholarly ability,” said Bishop Lee. Both professors will begin teaching at GTS in the fall of 2011.

The Rev. Dr. Amy Bentley Lamborn, the Seminary’s new Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology, currently serves as Theologian-in-Residence at Christ Church, Bronxville.  Dr. Lamborn received both her M.Phil. (2007) and her Ph.D. in Psychiatry and Religion (2009) from Union Theological Seminary.  Both degrees were earned with distinction.  She earned the M.Div. degree from the University of the South (1996). Ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 1998, she is currently an analyst-in-training with the Jungian Psychoanalytic Association.  She has previously served as adjunct professor at Auburn Theological Seminary and Marymount Manhattan College and a lecturer at Union Theological Seminary.   Dr. Lamborn is well published. Her most recent paper is "The Fourth/Reduction: Carl Jung, Richard Kearney, and the Via Tertia of Otherness" for the Fall 2011 Psychology and the Other Conference in Boston.  She is the recipient of many awards including the Robert Wood Lynn Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching.   She is currently at work on a book entitled Figuring the Self, Figuring the Sacred:  Imagining Unity and Multiplicity in Depth Psychology and Theology.

The Rev. Dr. Clair W. McPherson, the Seminary’s new Visiting Associate Professor of Ascetical Theology, has taught at a variety of colleges and seminaries, including Union Seminary and General Seminary, where he earned his Master of Divinity (1982), Seabury-Western in Chicago, the University of Missouri, and Washington University in St. Louis, where he earned his Doctorate in medieval literature (1980), with a specialty in Old English and Latin. He is currently  Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Gallatin School and at Fordham College Lincoln Center. Among the papers Dr. McPherson has presented have been “Spirituality and The Arts,” at the Spirituality Summit, Charlottesville, North Carolina, 2003-2004;  and “Satan in Gregory the Great,” at the Medieval Academy, Harvard, 2006;  “The Genoels Diptych: an Early Medieval Paradigm” at the Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2010, and "Medieval Time" at the Medieval Forum, Plymouth, New Hampshire, 2010. He has published three books on Spirituality, translations,  original poems, book reviews, and has served as Contributing Editor of Spirituality and Health. His current project is The Angels: a Study in Medieval Tradition.

In other trustee actions, retiring professor of Ascetical Theology, Dr. Elisabeth Koenig and professor of New Testament, the Rev. Dr. John Koenig were elected Professors Emeriti/ae of the Seminary, having served with distinction for 25 and 33 years respectively. Both departing professors were honored at a lovely reception in Seabury Auditorium on May 4. Trustees also received with gratitude a beautiful portrait in oil of Professor J. Robert Wright, the gift to the Seminary of Paul and Mitzi Noble. Bishop Lee also noted with pleasure that the Seminary’s Distinguished Visiting Professor of Systematic Theology, the Most Rev. Peter Carnley AC will be returning to GTS to teach once again this fall.

The Seminary’s selection process continues for a New Testament professor with a scholarly concentration in the Pauline and Johannine texts. Bishop Lee successfully petitioned the trustees to empower their Executive Committee (which meets more frequently than the full Board) with the right to approve the search committee’s New Testament candidate so that all three professors would be able to begin teaching at the Seminary in the fall of 2011.



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Media Contact:
Bruce Parker
Executive Director of Communications
The General Theological Seminary
440 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 243-5150 x285
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

General Seminary's 189th Commencement on May 18

May 5, 2011

General Seminary's 189th Commencement on May 18

New York City -- Chimes from the bell tower will ring out and majestic brass music will fill the garden-like campus of The General Theological Seminary on May 18 as faculty members in colorful academic regalia are joined by friends, trustees, and students for the historic institution's 189th Commencement Exercises. Forty women and men will receive degrees, diplomas, or certificates conferred by the Seminary's Interim Dean, the Right Rev. Peter James Lee.  Additionally, the Seminary’s honorary doctorate will be conferred on Michael Gecan, Co-Director, Industrial Areas Foundation; Kay Redfield Jamison, Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Joshua Mar Nicodimos, first Metropolitan of the newly formed Nilackal Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church; George Rupp, CEO & President, International Rescue Committee; and T. Dennis Sullivan II, President & CEO, Church Pension Group.

Michael Gecan is a community organizer in the Industrial Areas Foundation and was trained in part by Saul Alinsky. He is lead organizer for East Brooklyn Congregations and other New York based organizations as well as the Executive Director of United Power for Action and Justice, a Chicago Based Industrial Area Foundation affiliate.  Mr. Gecan spent two decades wrestling with New York politicians in an impassioned effort against all odds to build three thousand new homes. His 2004 book, Going Public: An Organizer's Guide to Citizen Action, tells how organized citizens can, with discipline and dignity, outmaneuver bureaucracies and generate change. Gecan's vision of the richness of community life and the value of public action has roots in the rough Chicago neighborhood where he was raised.

Kay Redfield Jamison is Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and is an Honorary Professor of English at the University of St Andrews. A clinical psychologist and writer who is one of the foremost experts on bipolar disorder (as well as suffering from the disorder herself) she began her study of clinical psychology at University of California, Los Angeles in the late 1960s, receiving both B.A. and M.A. degrees in 1971. Receiving her Ph.D. in 1975, she became a faculty member at the university. Dr. Jamison was Distinguished Lecturer at Harvard University in 2002 and the Litchfield lecturer at the University of Oxford in 2003. Having won numerous awards and published over one hundred academic articles, she has been named one of the "Best Doctors in the United States" and was chosen by Time as a "Hero of Medicine." Dr. Jamison is an Episcopalian and was married to Dr. Richard Wyatt until his death in 2002.

George Rupp became president of the International Rescue Committee on July 1, 2002.  For the previous nine years, Dr. Rupp was president of Columbia University. Prior to his time at Columbia, Dr. Rupp served as president of Rice University. Earlier, he was the John Lord O’Brian Professor of Divinity and dean of the Harvard Divinity School. Under his leadership, the curriculum of the school was revised to address more directly the pluralistic character of contemporary religious life.  Born in New Jersey, Dr. Rupp has studied and conducted research for extended periods in both Europe and Asia. He was awarded an A.B. from Princeton University in 1964, a B.D. from Yale Divinity School in 1967, and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1972.  He is the author of numerous articles and five books, including Globalization Challenged: Conviction, Conflict, Community (2006). George Rupp and his wife Nancy are the parents of two adult daughters who are teaching and writing with scholarly expertise in East Asian and African studies.

Dennis Sullivan became President of the Church Pension Group in June of 2004. A distinguished business and investment professional, his career has revolved around investments, finance and administration in the for-profit, not-for-profit and government sectors. He served as Financial Vice President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, President and Chief Investment Officer of Princeton University Investment Company, and Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Labor & Industry for the State of New Jersey. He also worked with J.P. Morgan Securities and served as Chief Financial Officer of the New York Public Library. His positions in the government sector include serving as Secretary of Finance for the State of Delaware, and Executive Director of the Municipal Assistance Corporation for the City of New York, a particularly critical role in the early 1980s. He has served as a trustee of the Prospect Park Alliance, and has served on the Russell 20-20 Association, the Research Council on Global Investment of the Conference Board, and the Advisory Committee for the New York State Common Retirement Fund. Mr. Sullivan holds a BA (Phi Beta Kappa) from Princeton University, and an MA from Oxford University, England.

Joshua Mar Nicodimos is first Metropolitan of the Newly Formed Nilackal Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Born in 1962, His Grace received a Masters degree from Kerala University, a B. D. from Serampoor University, a Master of Theology from the Indian Institute of Spirituality, and an S. T. M from The General Theological Seminary. An innovative and responsible leader in his church, he early took a lead in the preparation of teaching materials for Christian education at all levels, especially in the areas of Baptism, Eucharist, and the sacramental life. Before his consecration in the Mar Elia Cathedral, Kottayam on May 12, 2010, H.G. Joshua Mar Nicodimos served as Superior of the Holy Trinity Ashram, Ranni, India, where he served as spiritual leader of forty monks. He also served as Director, Holy Trinity Disabled Children’s Centre in Trivandrum, and as Local Manager of the Holy Trinity School, also in Trivandrum. Throughout centuries, the heads of Metropolitan sees have been considered by the Malankara Orthodox Church as the apostolic successors of St. Thomas.  

The General Theological Seminary, founded in 1817, prepares women and men for both ordained and lay ministries through a wide variety of degree and certificate programs. Its historic campus in the heart of New York City is also home to the Desmond Tutu Center, a modern, full-service conference facility. The Seminary conferred its first honorary degree in 1885. The ceremonies of Commencement, including the sections recited in Latin, were devised during this period and continue to be used today with few changes.


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Media Contact:
Bruce Parker
Senior Vice President for External Relations
The General Theological Seminary
175 Ninth Ave
New York, NY 10011
voice:  212-243-5150 ext 285
fax: 212-243-5150
email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
web: www. gts.edu

GTS Community Update - March 31

GTS Community Update

March 31, 2011

Friends,

We hope this Update finds each of you well as we move through this period of self-examination and spiritual growth to which the Church calls us during the season of Lent. With slightly less than two months between now our Commencement in May, it seemed a good time to update you on a number of important developments at GTS.

The Plan to Choose Life
On March 30 the Seminary closed on the first sale of assets, Chelsea 2,3,4 and the Enclave property, proceeds from the sale of which totaled $18 million. Our next closings (taking place this summer) will be on the 422 West 20th Street apartment building and on the property where our tennis court now stands. Later in the year, following the renovation of Seabury Hall, will be the closing on the West Building.  Please note that although the Chelsea 2,3,4 closing was a gateway transaction (having cleared many legal and bureaucratic hurdles), we must still maintain a sharp focus on these remaining closings to make sure that Phase I of the Plan to Choose Life goes smoothly.

The proceeds from the first sale of assets have enabled us to pay off our existing $5.3 million bridge loan, which had been previously secured by the library gift made by the Keller family (with their gracious permission). Although the Seminary has operating funds to complete this 2010-2011 fiscal year, a second bridge loan is required to take us through the 2011-2012 fiscal year which begins in July. Although we have a commitment letter from M&T Bank to provide for next year, a mortgage will be needed to secure the new loan, and we must once again have the NYS Attorney General’s and the NYS Supreme Court’s permission, an often lengthy process. Because this second loan may take some time, we must watch our cash flow very carefully until the new loan is secured because we have no way to access funds other than those we already have on hand. We must also still find a resolution to our property tax situation which was a major factor in delaying the closing on the first sale of assets.

One advantage of having the first sale of assets behind us is that we can commence our efforts on Phase II of the Plan to Choose Life in leveraging the Tutu Center toward rebuilding our endowment. With the help of an experienced consultant we are working on creating a new business plan and we remain optimistic about our ability to utilize the Center to rebuild our endowment.

As you may know, one potential partner in the Tutu Center is the Virginia Theological Seminary. As part of our ongoing conversation with them, the leadership at VTS has asked one of their consultants, Professor Simon Lee, to spend March 30 to April 4 at General learning more about GTS, the Tutu Center, and meeting with faculty and staff members. Dr. Lee is Professor Emeritus of Jurisprudence and Dean of the Law School at Queen’s University Belfast. A noted scholar, he is the author of several books and has served as a commentator for the BBC. Please provide him with a warm GTS welcome to the Close. I want to make it clear that VTS is not doing diligence at GTS prior to merger or purchase but is here as an interested party in making an investment in the Tutu Center.

Renovation and Housing Issues
We are pleased to report that renovations on the Dehon and Pintard dormitories are well underway. Because of the delay in the 2,3,4 closing we are required to telescope a 16-week project into 9 weeks. The Seminary’s 11-member Housing Committee lead by the Dean has completed the housing assignments for next year. Unfortunately the exigencies of the Plan to Choose Life may require relocations for our students, faculty members, and others. Members of the GTS community have been flexible and wonderfully patient about these relocations, making it all the more critical that we stay on schedule so that no more is asked than is absolutely required. On Tuesday, April 5, the Housing Committee meets to review assignments, consider appeals, and review policies. On Thursday, April 7, 1:15 – 2:00 p.m. in Seabury Auditorium a meeting of the whole GTS community will take place during which the Housing Committee will provide a full report on their activities.

The build-out of the new Keller Library continues on schedule. A great evening was had last week as students, faculty, and staff gathered in the new space for a pizza party and to have a tour of the new facility. Bishop Lee and Drew Kadel are finalizing plans for the relocation of books stored offsite back into the new library, as well as disposition of those that will be relocated.

Annual Fund
Our Annual Fund, the Seminary’s primary fundraising effort, continues to track as equal to or slightly better than the Fund at the same time last year. We are currently approaching the $600,000 mark and need to equal or exceed the Fund’s total of $1 million last year. The banks are watching our Annual Fund and it is a very critical part of the Seminary’s annual cash flow. We are very appreciative of the help of our trustees in this effort.  All our trustees are making calls to donors this year. We are also pleased to report a bequest gift of $500,000 was received from the estate of the Rev. Davis Given (GTS ’49), who died in October 2007. His estate gifts to General have totaled over $780,000. Fr. Given was head of the Navajo Good Shepherd Mission in Arizona and assistant priest at Trinity Church, Wall Street in New York.  In retirement, he served at St. Luke in the Fields, New York.

Personnel Changes

As most of you know, Executive Vice President Maureen Burnley spent her last day with us on March 15. We had a lunchtime gathering where community members thanked her for her contributions to the Seminary. To address the areas of need created by Maureen’s departure and with the Executive Committee’s approval, I have appointed Sandra Johnson as Executive Vice President in addition to her duties as CFO (announced in my 2/16 Update). Sandra is chartered with making additional changes in the Business Office. Lodged high on the list of priorities will be the need to address our accounting and administrative systems.

In the Office of External Relations, Donna Ashley, who has worked for us as a consultant for the past year, has been added to the staff as Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Having served several years ago at GTS as Director of Admissions, Donna has an in-depth knowledge of the Seminary and of the Episcopal Church and will be a great asset to our fundraising efforts. Bruce Parker, a 17-year veteran of GTS, will continue to oversee the entire department, moving into the position of Senior Vice President for External Relations. Both Bruce and Donna are GTS graduates. It is my plan to broaden the scope of this department and to create new ways to increase our Annual Fund giving. Donna will be a great help in this initiative. Sadly, we must bid farewell to Director of Development Don Temples, who has served GTS for the past four years. Don will be moving on to a new position with the United Methodist Church Board of Global Ministries. We wish Don all the best in this new chapter of his professional life.

Faculty News
Please mark your calendars for a special farewell event honoring Professors Elisabeth and John Koenig. This event will take place on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. If it's a nice day, we will use the Chapel lawn. If it rains, it will be in the Hobart and Fosbroke Rooms of the West Building. We hope as many of you as possible will be able to attend this tribute to two of the Seminary’s most beloved professors. Bishop Lee reports the search for a New Testament professor has yielded four excellent candidates. Searches are also underway for positions in Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology.

Upcoming Address Change for GTS
The U.S. Postal Service has informed the Seminary we must change our mailing address to conform with our 21st Street entrance since we no longer have an actual entrance at 175 Ninth Avenue. Accordingly, will be phasing in the new 440 West 21st Street address sometime in the near future. Please do NOT begin using this address, however, until you receive official notification from the Seminary.

Chelsea Music Festival
Our External Relations Office has been in conversation with the Chelsea Music Festival about their use of our campus facilities as rehearsal space and as a central location for their volunteers. There would also be one or more public concerts in our Chapel. Taking place at venues throughout Chelsea from June 13-18, the festival has been known as a world-class gathering of chamber music performers, but they are branching out into other areas of classical music. It is an international festival with artists of the highest caliber participating. The director is Ken Masur, associate conductor of the San Antonio Symphony and son of Kurt Masur, former artistic director of the NY Philharmonic. This is a great opportunity to raise our institutional profile in Manhattan as well as be of service to the Chelsea community.

Format for May Board of Trustees Meeting
The Executive Committee has been working to streamline and improve the efficiency of the three meetings we have each year. For our upcoming May meeting they have decided to hold Commission meetings telephonically and on several days (5/13, 5/16, 5/17) prior to our one plenary meeting which will take place on Tuesday, May 17, from noon to 5:00 p.m.  

Jeff Small Lecture Reminder

As mentioned in our last update, GTS trustee, noted speaker and theologian Jeffrey Small will be speaking here on Monday, April 4 at 7 p.m. in the Tutu Center. All are invited to attend. His presentation, Rethinking Christianity in the 21st Century, will address a number of provocative questions including:  What is the future of Christian thought in this modern, secular age? How do we conceive of God today? How do we reconcile science and religion without watering down either one? Click Here for more information about Jeff Small. We are glad to be able to attend and hope you can make it as well.

God’s peace,

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

GTS Hosts Sixth Annual Easter Egg Hunt

March 31, 2011

General Seminary Hosts Sixth Annual Easter Egg Hunt

New York City--The General Theological Seminary (GTS) in the heart of Chelsea invites one and all to its annual Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m. on the Seminary’s beautiful park-like grounds on West 20th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. This is the sixth year GTS has hosted the happy event which typically draws hundreds of children and their parents from throughout the Chelsea neighborhood.

Participants are invited to gather at the gate in front of the Seminary’s chapel across from 422 West 20th Street shortly before 3 p.m. The pealing of the Chapel’s bells precisely at 3 o’clock will signal the beginning of the hunt at which time the gates will open and visitors will be invited in to search the Seminary grounds for brightly colored eggs containing candy and toy surprises—1400 of which will have been hidden throughout the Seminary’s lovely gardens. Younger children and those in strollers will be invited to enter somewhat before 3 p.m. so that they may be escorted to an enclosed playground area where eggs will have also been hidden.

With the Seminary’s deep appreciation, Chris Ballard, a former GTS staffer and now a fulltime student, has retired after five years of dedicated service as coordinator of the popular event. This year he turns this responsibility over to Gale Jones, the spouse of a current student. To assist her in welcoming guests and coordinating the event, Ms. Jones will be recruiting a small group of volunteers from the GTS community. “Easter is the most joyous holiday of the Christian year,” said Bishop Peter James Lee, Dean of the Seminary. “We are delighted to be able to share our beautiful grounds with our neighbors and to have their children join with those from our own community in this fun-filled event.”


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.

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Media Contact:
Bruce Parker
Associate Vice President for External Relations
The General Theological Seminary
175 Ninth Ave
New York, NY 10011
voice:  212-243-5150 ext 285
fax: 212-243-5150
email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
web: www. gts.edu

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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