This morning's Inside Higher Ed includes a long feature article called "Light Collection Plates." The title is deceiving, because the piece is not about congregational finances, but about theological education. Author Elizabeth Redden does a fine job of summarizing what many of readers of In Trust magazine and In Trust Blog already know: Theological schools are hurting.
How are schools hurting? According to Dan Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, endowments are down by as much as a third. Both he and Robert Cooley, president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, predict more schools cooperating in years to come. Cooley writes on this topic in the current issue of In Trust magazine. Read his article here.
The article also includes examples of theological schools that are trying to address their economic problems in various ways. They include:
- Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, which is considering some form of cooperation with Andover Newton Theological School.
- Weston Jesuit School of Theology, which just reaffiliated with Boston College -- you can read a recent story from In Trust magazine about this reaffiliation here.
- McCormick Theological Seminary and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago are in the midst of rethinking or even dissolving their formal partnership.
- Nazarene Theological Seminary is using recent grants from the Kern Family Foundation and the Henry Luce Foundation to rethink the way it provides theological education.
Read the full article in Inside Higher Ed here.
Thanks to Jon Hooten for bringing this news to my attention.