The Lead reported March 30 on the financial concerns of General Theological Seminary, today Episcopal News Service has an update on General Theological Seminary's financial difficulties and plans for the future.
According to Dean and President Ward Ewiing, "The students are anxious that they will graduate. Obviously staff are anxious about jobs and faculty are anxious about their positions. I think they're a little over-anxious. The chair tried to assure them that we will be here. We think we see the money. Given all the things I've dealt with here, this not does feel as big a problem as several of the ones we have dealt with. Part of what makes a bigger problem is that nobody knows what the leadership will be and that makes everybody nervous -- and I am not sure, either."
Facing what some have termed a financial crisis, the board of trustees of the General Theological Seminary has suspended its search for a new dean and president and is looking for ways to cover the expense of the 2010-2011 school year.
Meanwhile, at the request of the trustees, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will convene a small group of advisors outside of General to address the seminary's financial concerns. The group is meant to provide "fresh eyes and will serve in an advisory capacity," according to the Rev. Dr. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop.
A roundtable discussion will take place this spring in an effort to "offer additional possibilities for General's board of trustees to consider," Robertson said in a news release due to be posted here.
The members of the group have not yet been chosen and their names will not be released prior to the meeting, he said.
Dean and President Ward Ewing announced in December that he would retire when his successor was hired. The trustees decided March 29 to hire an interim executive director, according to seminary spokesman Bruce Parker. The duties of that position and how it might affect Ewing's plans to retire have not yet been determined, Parker and Ewing said.
General has the money to cover operating expenses for the near future, but will require an influx of revenue to cover the next school year, Parker told ENS March 31. Trustee chair the Rev. Canon Denis O'Pray said during a briefing of General faculty, students, and administrative staff on March 29 that the seminary needs between $2 million and $4 million, according to Parker.
"Immediate steps are being taken to secure these funds," he said.
Ewing told ENS that General's financial situation did not come as a complete surprise to him and the trustees. "We have been aware and even have had a special task group working on the reality that our income for variety of reasons will not presently cover our operating costs and the costs on our loan payments," he said.
Meanwhile on March 31, GTS's admissions team reported on its Facebook page that it had spent the morning of March 30 at the Episcopal Church Center, uptown from the school in Manhattan, "mapping out initiatives that reach ten years into GTS's future. Let that sink in."