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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Executive Director of Communications
The General Theological Seminary
440 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10011
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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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Senior Vice President for External Relations
The General Theological Seminary
175 Ninth Ave
New York, NY 10011
voice: 212-243-5150 ext 285
web: www. gts.edu
GTS Hosts Sixth Annual Easter Egg HuntMarch 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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Associate Vice President for External Relations
The General Theological Seminary
175 Ninth Ave
New York, NY 10011
voice: 212-243-5150 ext 285
web: www. gts.edu
Interim President's Address to the Board of Trustees
Interim President Lang Lowrey's Address to the Board of Trustees
February 4, 2011
First, just for the record I want to note that during the “official” recruiting process for Interim President – no one mentioned that the NYC weather would be so unaccommodating this year. Not that I mind of course! Yet you would think that God might have noticed that General is facing enough challenge ‘as it is’ and that at the very least the weather might give us a break.
It dawned on me the other day as I crawled into my office (on all fours) that perhaps God is not throwing more us one more curve snow-ball (with the record low temperatures and snow) but to the contrary was giving us a great gift trying to remind us that just as the world is changing so must GTS as well! For not only did the 18” of snow create a calm sense of Divine beauty over the Close but I noticed that our community built a new snow bell tower in the middle of the close. For me it was a striking symbol that our struggles are perhaps a loving reminder of what we are capable of building here at GTS If we are willing to recognize the reality of a rapidly changing world and that we quickly embrace the significant change that we need to make in our Mission, organizational structures and in our financial constructs to be an ongoing contributor to the mission of the church.
Unfortunately I have seen too many organizations fail to embrace the changing landscape of their Mission. Most often well meaning and qualified leaders realize that the amount of change needed in the timeframe that is required to survive is too risky so they sanctify the status quo and pray that the problem will outlive their time to lead.
This is not to mention that change will affect us personally – not only the way we have always done things but often in our pocket books. Therefore given the institutional risk and personal implications to the need for rapid change, I have noted that most organizations go about change by finding ways to deny it or sanctify it. Even when change is accepted as necessary, it is often too late or the approach to fixing the problem “is like trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.” Sadly, I have seen too many shipwrecks not to say in my second address to you that GTS must change rapidly if we are to be a contributor to the mission of the church.
I pray that you will receive this message not as criticism of the past but as an observation by a hybrid Priest and businessman who sees the theological education landscape changing at a very rapid rate. All the leading indicators from attendance in seminaries, to statistics in our parishes, to the increasing cost of theological education point to this rapid change. We must either embrace these changes rapidly or have the flagship of theological education in the Episcopal Church perish.
You might be surprised to know that I am less concerned with the financial aspects of this change. Most assuredly, the Plan to choose life is complex , daunting and based on many things out of our control coming together to be successful. Yet we are likely to close on the first of four closings on the sale of assets in a few weeks which paves the way for the renovations and the building of our new library. We have an excellent partner in The Brodsky Organization and the stakes of failure are now very high for M$T bank. The attorney general has approved our plan, most the documents are signed and $5mm is on deposit. Clearly the plan has challenges ahead but if all goes well we could be substantially out of $41mm in debt in the next 12-18 months.
After the first closing we need to focus on the renovation plan. We have worked very hard in coming up with construction budgets and bringing on professionals to ensure we stay within those budgets. We do have complications as the bank is now requiring us to vacate 422 by June and close on the transaction to reduce debt. We must now start moving faculty, students and moving out market tenants which will undoubtedly be an inconvenience to all. This will be the part when we must remember the name of our plan and understand that we will have to move the tents quickly to make the plan work and not get back into hot water with the bank.
At the same time we start renovations we will also need to choose the best way to leverage the Tutu center. We have brought in an exciting team including Jeff Small our new trustee and Matt Tarkenton (an associate of mine in Atlanta) whom understand how to leverage real property transactions. We must find a way to maintain Tutu’s mission and build the endowment to at least $35mm or find other suitable means to accomplish our goals. For as I am sure you remember while the sale of assets substantially reduces debt we still must balance the budget in large part by leveraging Tutu.
This is not to mention that balancing the budget is a difficult task in itself. In addition to leveraging Tutu we need to reduce $1.5mm year in non-cost of capital costs to break even. So I am sure by now you ask why I am less concerned about the financial aspects of the plan when I say we need to change rapidly.
The reasons I say this are fairly simple. First, we have no choice financially speaking… we either change or perish. M$T bank has accepted the plan as the best plan and we are close to completing the first and crucial sale of assets that gives us operating headroom , the renovations and reduction of debt. So as concerning the financial aspects of the plan are Change itself is really not a concern.
No, my concern is our ability to rapidly change institutionally to a rapidly changing theological education landscape. I say this because we must attract another significant M.Div. class to GTS and we must revisit our MA program that was basically put adrift last year because we must stabilize our tuition at current levels or find ourselves back in default of our loans and find ourselves in the middle of the plan not having the revenues needed to finance our costs.
Given the spectacular year that we had last year this is very possible. Yet we need to offer our existing students and new students an even greater experience at GTS by replacing outstanding professors like the Koenig’s and Bishop Carnley. We also need to add practical theology to our strengths and be the best at church leadership in the world. We need to do a better job of involving our students in the education process and we need to promise them a more robust formation experience and back it up by focusing more on their deployment . This is not to say that we do not compare favorably to other seminary’s but only to say that we must be the best if we are to attract the quantity and quality of students that we have been used to having at GTS.
We will have to do all of this rapidly given what the leading indicators are telling us. If we move at glacial speed ( as I have observed is our custom) the opportunity will pass us by and even though we might have successfully restructured our financial landscape we will have failed to offer what students will be looking for in this rapidly changing world of theological education.
All of this will take a restructuring of the way we make decisions in all aspects of the institution. It will mean improving our business office and the willingness by those whom serve GTS to embrace the need for rapid change. The willingness to change is what I worry about because just maintaining the status quo is a losing proposition.
I am thankful that capable leaders like Bishop Sisk and Bishop Lee, Sandra Johnson, Sandy Davies, Jack Murray and Ken Kramer have joined the effort to lead this change. These leaders in addition to others whom have fought to keep GTS alive ( including students , staff and dedicated faculty) and especially your very committed executive committee and alumni members , not to mention the new energy among us like James Reho, our new dynamic chaplain … all bring great hope for our future.
Given this leadership and the good work that our trustees do in care of GTS no doubt we will change rapidly. Yet perhaps the greatest reminder of the hope for our future is the divine beauty of this place (especially with it crowned in snow). I just pray that we at GTS remember that the very essence of the Gospel of Christ is transformative change and that if we embrace it here at GTS perhaps we will send what we achieve out unto the world.
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."
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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,
- Spring Term 2011 at GTS
- Advancement and Communications Offices Merge
- Community Update
- January 2011 Course Offerings
- President Lowrey's Report to the Board of Trustees, October 15, 2010
- Student/Facutly/Staff Perspectives on Plan to Choose Life
- The Rev. Canon Denis O'Pray Closing Prayer
- GTS Trustees Enact Plan for Restructuring
- President's Community Update 9/15/10
- President's Community Update - August 27, 2010