GTS Inaugurates Archbishop Tutu Center and New Education ComplexNew York City — Trustees of The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church (GTS) today unanimously approved the creation of a new educational conference center on the Seminary’s historic property in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. In addition to housing 60 guest rooms with state-of-the-art conference facilities, the new complex will become home to the Archbishop Tutu Center at GTS. During their morning session members of the board heard final presentations on the plan from architects, consultants, and financial experts. Feasibility studies on the renovation of the Seminary buildings which front Tenth Avenue have been underway for several years. “This decision is truly historic,” said Board chair the Very Rev. Robert Giannini following the vote to approve the new plan. “Besides providing the entire Episcopal Church with an educational conference center in the heart of our nation’s most international city, this bold initiative will make it possible for General to undertake the kind of continuing education programs and conferences that are so critical to meeting the needs of the church in a changing world.”
The Seminary’s expanded vision for service to the church balances its educational mission with a newly structured plan of fiscal responsibility. Revitalization of the Seminary’s landmarked property will be achieved through a combination of philanthropy and low-interest debt. Eventually the complex of renovated buildings will remove a total of 60,000 square feet from the current operating budget and will be self-sustaining through revenue generated by conferences and education activities. In addition to the conference center, Seabury Hall and its auditorium will be made fully accessible and equipped with the latest education technology. The Tenth Avenue properties will house GTS offices for continuing education, the Center for Christian Spirituality, and the new Archbishop Tutu Center at GTS. The Tutu Center will have a faculty-rank director and will sponsor research, institutes, and lectures that seek new understandings in the Church’s mission to promote peace and work toward an end to violence and injustice at home and abroad. Desmond Tutu, 1984 Nobel laureate, former spiritual leader of the Anglican Church of South Africa and visiting professor at GTS, preached at the Seminary’s annual baccalaureate service which followed the meeting of the Seminary’s trustees.
The oldest theological seminary of the Anglican Communion, General’s enrollment is now at full capacity and its endowment among the highest of seminaries in the United States. Construction on the new education complex will begin in the next year.