General Theological Seminary financial concerns

At the recently completed meeting of the House of Bishops questions were raised about the finances of The General Theological Seminary (GTS). AZBishop reported on Twitter “HOB passes resolution calling for restructuring of seminary system. Most are in serious financial trouble” The Secretary of the House of Bishops Ken Price reports that although a resolution did not come forward, the House did discuss the finances of GTS and the Presiding Bishop and the HoB committee on seminaries would be involved in future discussions with GTS.

By email from: General Theological Seminary

For Immediate Release

29 March 2010

General Seminary Board of Trustees Addresses Financial Concerns

New York City–The Board of Trustees of the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church resolved to move forward in finding the financial resources necessary to meet fiscal challenges that have recently surfaced in connection with its search for a new Dean and President. The current Dean, the Very Rev. Ward B. Ewing announced in December his intention to retire once his replacement has been hired.

At the conclusion of the Board’s meeting on March 29, Board Chair, the Rev. Canon Denis O’Pray, said trustees determined to ask the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, in response to her willingness to help, to convene a special think tank. Composed of board members and other Episcopal Church leaders, the group will address the Seminary’s pressing financial concerns in the context of the Church’s overall needs for theological education. In addition, the Board asked the Search Committee for a New Dean to consider instead the creation of an interim position so that the Seminary might fully appraise its financial situation and finalize specific ways of moving forward.

Earlier in March members of the trustees’ Executive Committee had received projections of a shortfall in operating funds from a consultant retained in the connection with the search process. The projections were presented to the full board at this meeting and resulted in the decision to take immediate action. Following the Board meeting, Chairman O’Pray and the Dean, along with many other trustees, met with the Seminary’s faculty, students, and administrative staff to share the outcome and to answer questions.

Media Contact:

Bruce Parker

Executive Director of Communications

The General Theological Seminary

175 Ninth Ave

New York, NY 10011

voice: 212-243-5150 ext 285

fax: 212-243-5150


web: http://www.

Can anyone report about the status of the projects intended to improve finances, the Tutu Center and the luxury condominiums?

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  1. No, can’t speak to those things, but glad y’all got an e-mail since we didn’t, even though there were (at least) two or three classes during the meeting with students after the Trustees adjourned.

  2. I just stayed at the Tutu Center last week, when I spoke as a guest at GTU. The financial concerns mentioned in the e-mail you shared were not readily visible!

    –James F. McGrath

  3. David Sibley

    The understanding that has been given in the past to us in the student body is that all the income ($29 million + a $4 million inflation adjustment) from the 99-year lease for luxury condominiums along 9th Avenue has already been received. This has caused a problem in the past for the seminary’s bookkeeping, as you may recall from here.

    The Tutu Center recently received its permit to operate as a hotel when there aren’t conferences being held there, but nearly a year worth of downtime and permitting prevented them from advertising empty rooms to people unaffiliated with the seminary. The project itself, however, is complete, and the Tutu Center is open for business and guests.

  4. I pray that the financial problems at GTS may be worked out satisfactorily. I pray also for the students and faculty, who must be quite concerned.

    June Butler

  5. blgriffith

    I was a student representative to the Board of Trustees from ’03-’05. At least for those of us with Higher Education experience, we knew this day was coming. Yet, it had to come about before we could begin to honestly pull ourselves out of trouble. I don’t see this as a terrible occurrence, even though it could end terribly.

    I want to say that the end of the seminary should not at all be a forgone conclusion, despite the current challenges. One can look at the incredible turn around of institutions such as the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio to know that all is not lost (a case study for my Master’s Degree in Higher Ed./Organizational Change). There is certainly hope.

    GTS must situation itself in a distinctive way among the other seminaries both within the Episcopal system and generally. This tended to be the case until more recently. As we look for new leadership, we need people who are not embarrassed by the Tradition of the place. We must acknowledge that for a seminary graduate school we cannot downplay the essential nature of an excellent full-time faculty, strong library, and committed worshiping community.

    GTS has incredible good will and reputation. It has been and continues to be a very important institution for academics and priestly formation. Honestly, this presents us with a incredible opportunity – if we navigate the shoals wisely.

    ed.note- blgriffith – please sign your name next time

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