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Bexley-Seabury plans to consolidate programs in one location

Bexley-Seabury plans to consolidate programs in one location

The Board of Directors of Bexley-Seabury Seminary recently voted to end their 17 year partnership with Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus and consolidate all of their programs in Chicago beginning in Fall 2016.

In a letter to seminary stakeholders, the board communicated;

This change next year will bring to a close a 17-year collaboration with our M.Div. program partner, Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus. The current agreement with Trinity will conclude with the Spring 2016 term. We are pursuing possibilities with two promising partner sites, both of which would offer increased opportunities for low-residency and online learning at the master’s degree level. We look forward to reporting specific details in the next several weeks.
Bexley President Roger Ferlo has said that the seminary will work with all current students who will not be graduating this year to ensure they will be able to complete their programs on time, whether in Chicago or at one of their partner schools in Columbus.  Ferlo also reports that all current Columbus faculty have been offered positions in Chicago and that the school is seeking educational partners in Chicago.
The board also expressed its gratitude for the partnership with Trinity over the years.
Our long collaboration with Trinity Lutheran Seminary has been grace-filled and a testimony to the wisdom of the “Called to Common Mission” agreement between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church. Still, the Task Force found, and the Board agreed, that operating from one site will spur focus, energy, creativity, and efficiency.
At the invitation of Trinity President Rick Barger, President Ferlo and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean Tom Ferguson attended the Trinity Board of Directors meeting in Columbus on Saturday, November 7 to relay our Board’s decision. They conveyed our community’s deep gratitude for all that the Bexley Seabury-Trinity partnership has accomplished and for the opportunity to experience two faith traditions coming together to live one Gospel.
Other credible sources, who have asked to remain anonymous, suggest that finances and the costs of maintaining two campuses as well the prospect of increased fees at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, were key factors in this decision.
The Bexley board has also taken the opportunity to announce a new Bexley-Seabury Scholars program aimed at historically under-represented students.
This new initiative would be designed to provide full tuition and expenses for a limited number of M.Div. applicants recruited particularly from under-served communities, making master’s-level training for ordained ministry possible for students who might not otherwise afford the cost of seminary preparation and for whom full-time residency is not an option.
You can read the story from Bexley-Seabury’s website here

Image: Bexley House: administrative offices and student gathering space in Columbus, Ohio.

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Paul Woodrum

Transformed or untransformed, we all die. That’s what makes institutions — tradition on the three legged stool — important if not eternal. Hope Bexley Hall makes it. Came back from GTS alumni meeting this week. Its Dean says it now has housing for only 63 residential students. Makes one wonder if it even should survive, at least as a stand-alone seminary.

Jay Croft

Does GTS have 63 students?

John B. Chilton

We have a system of independent Episcopal seminaries. Many of them are unable to cover their costs. Consolidation of several would cut costs and make the remaining ones financially viable, and enable a reduction in tuition. The question is how to get from here to there. In the for-profit world you don’t have this problem — cost-saving mergers happen through the profit motive. In the non-profit world we hang on to the bitter end (for what motive?) in contradiction to our Christian calling to make the best use of our limited resources.

Paul Woodrum

It’s not money v. cross or the cross instead of money. Jesus commended the widow giving her gift to the temple. He didn’t condemn her for supporting the institution even though he did condemn corruption within it. Adequate funding and sound financial planning are necessary to support the institutions that carry the message of the cross from generation to generation.

Elizabeth Kaeton

Well, Paul, you are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine. Doesn’t make me wrong and you right – you smarter and me stupid. Just makes us different. You know. Like Anglicans. Or, like Jesus, who, as you pointed out, didn’t condemn. He just called us to transformation.

Elizabeth Kaeton

Sorry. Jesus called us to transformation. Not financial security. Even when institutions die – and they all do, eventually – even the stones will cry out.

Rev. Ken Ranos

Well, here finally is the inevitable result of the merger. Can’t say I didn’t see this coming. The breakup of the TLS/BH partnership is a tragedy that is not balanced by the supposed benefits. That relationship was so important to my formation, and I lament the loss.

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