Dean steps down amid investigation

The Rev. Ergun Caner has been removed as dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia. Earlier this year, the school conducted an internal investigation into statements Caner had made about his religious background. He will continue

 Ergun Caner

teaching at the seminary while theology professor Dan Mitchell serves as interim dean.

According to the school, Caner has apologized for the "misstatements" that resulted in the internal investigation. Using video and audio clips that demonstrated discrepancies in Caner's own accounts of his childhood, various Muslim and Christian bloggers had alleged that he overstated his youthful participation in extreme forms of Islam in order to boost his credibility as a Christian convert.

Mergers Partnerships Alliances  

Meadville Lombard and Andover Newton

Meadville Lombard Theological School, a Unitarian Universalist seminary in Chicago, Illinois, and Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, have announced plans to join forces. Both schools will keep their identities under a new corporate umbrella, with some classes held on the Massachusetts campus and others conducted online. Leaders of the two schools hope additional seminaries will join in the venture.

The board of Meadville Lombard has decided to sell that school's campus with a possible lease-back option for part of the facility. The property includes a main building (below), which contains the 140,000-volume Wiggin Library, as well as three adjoining houses used for residential students and offices.

In May 2009, Andover Newton had announced that it was negotiating a partnership with Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. But in December 2009, the two schools issued a statement saying that merger talks had been discontinued. 

Andover Newton is affiliated with both the United Church of Christ and the American Baptist Churches. The school has a significant Unitarian Universalist presence, including trustees, faculty, and students.

Meadville Lombard was formed from the 1930 merger of Meadville Theological School and Lombard College.

Changes at the top

 José Arturo Cepeda

■ Father José Arturo Cepeda has been named rector-president of Assumption Seminary. He replaces Father Lawrence J. Christian, rector-president since 2004, who was named pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas.

Father Cepeda was formerly vice rector of the seminary and had been vocation director for the Archdiocese of San Antonio since 2004. He has served as a priest in the archdiocese since 1996.

Assumption Seminary provides spiritual and personal formation for candidates preparing for priesthood in the Archdiocese of San Antonio and other dioceses. Its students receive their academic training at Oblate School of Theology, the nearby theological school operated by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and at local universities.

 Mark S. Massa

■ Jesuit Father Mark S. Massa has been appointed dean of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, succeeding the founding dean, Jesuit Father Richard J. Clifford.

Father Massa is a graduate of the University of Detroit, the University of Chicago, the Weston School of Theology, and Harvard University. Until this year he was professor of theology and director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University.

The School of Theology and Ministry was founded in 2008, when the Weston Jesuit School of Theology re-affiliated with Boston College. An article about the re-affiliation was published in the Summer 2009 issue of In Trust.

■ The board of trustees of Calvin Theological Seminary has named the Rev. Julius T. Medenblik, former chair of the seminary's board, as the seminary's next president. In June, Medenblik's appointment was ratified at the annual meeting of the Christian Reformed Church. He will take office at the end of the 2010-11 academic year.

Julius T. Medenblik

Medenblik will succeed the Rev. Cornelius Plantinga Jr., who was the seminary's dean of the chapel from 1996 to 2002 and has since then served as president.

A graduate of Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, Illinois), the University of Florida Law School, and Calvin Theological Seminary, Medenblik is the founding pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He and his wife, Jackie, have two children.

Founded in 1876, Calvin Theological Seminary is a seminary of the Christian Reformed Church in North America and is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

 Andrew H. Wakefield

■ Dr. Andrew H. Wakefield has been named dean of Campbell University Divinity School, succeeding the founding dean, the Rev. Michael Cogdill, who will return to teaching after 14 years at the helm.

Wakefield is a graduate of Wake Forest University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Duke University. He has been a member of the faculty of Campbell University Divinity School since the school's inception. He and his wife, Olivia, have two daughters.

The divinity school is a graduate division of Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina and was established in 1997.

 John H. Garvey

■  John H. Garvey, dean of the Boston College Law School, has been appointed president of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He succeeds Vincentian Father David M. O'Connell, who in June was named the next bishop of Trenton, New Jersey. Father O'Connell was ordained as a bishop on July 30, 2010.

Garvey has been dean of the Boston College Law School since 1999. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Harvard Law School, Garvey was an assistant to the solicitor general under President Ronald Reagan and a law professor at the University of Kentucky and at Notre Dame. He and his wife, Jeanne, have five children and 11 grandchildren.

The Catholic University of America educates lay students and candidates for the priesthood through its School of Theology and Religious Studies.

 Michael A. King

■ The Rev. Michael A. King has been named vice president and dean of Eastern Mennonite Seminary. He succeeds Ervin R. Stutzman, who was dean for nine years until January 2010, when he became executive director of the Mennonite Church USA. Dr. Sara Wenger Shenk served as interim dean before moving to Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary as that institution's new president.

King is owner of Cascadia Publishing House, an Anabaptist-Mennonite publisher in Telford, Pennsylvania. He has also served as part-time pastor for several Mennonite churches in Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Eastern Mennonite University, Palmer Theological Seminary, and Temple University. King and his wife, Joan, a behavioral health consultant, have three daughters.

Eastern Mennonite Seminary is a graduate division of Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

 Michael Jinkins

■ The board of trustees of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has named the Rev. Michael Jinkins as the school's ninth president. He succeeds the Rev. Dean K. Thompson, the seminary's president since 2004, who retired in August.

Jinkins served on the faculty of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary for 17 years. In 2004, he was named academic dean, and he was appointed to a second five-year term in 2009.

Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), he is a graduate of Howard Payne University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Austin Seminary, and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. He is married to Dr. Deborah Jinkins, associate professor of curriculum and instructions at Texas A&M University - Central Texas, and they have two adult children.

 Gail R. O'Day

■ The Rev. Gail R. O'Day has been named dean and professor of New Testament and preaching at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, succeeding Bill J. Leonard, who helped found the divinity school and served as its first dean. Leonard will remain on the faculty as professor of church history.

A graduate of Brown University, Harvard Divinity School, and Emory University, O'Day is an ordained United Church of Christ minister. From 2003 until this year, she was chief academic officer at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where she joined the faculty in 1987.

The school of divinity is a graduate division within Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. An ecumenical institution with a Baptist heritage, it enrolled its first students in 1999.

 Lang Lowrey III

■ In June, the board of trustees of the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church appointed the Rev. Lang Lowrey III as interim president. He replaces the Very Rev. Ward B. Ewing, who retired this year after 12 years as dean and president.

Lowrey is a senior partner at two Atlanta financial services firms — Renova, a bank restructuring and consulting company, and Genesis Business Advisory, which provides management and investment services to businesses. He acknowledged that his "first priority will be to address the serious financial situation" that the seminary faces because of high levels of debt. (The retiring dean cited unexpected delays in opening the seminary's new conference facility, the Desmond Tutu Center, as a principal cause of the school's difficulties.)

Lowrey is a graduate of George Tech and Georgia State University. Before discerning a call to ordained ministry, he was twice appointed as a turnaround CEO for Fortune 500 companies in financial distress. He then attended Candler School of Theology at Emory University and subsequently founded a new church and day school in Smyrna, Georgia.

In July, the new interim president announced that an agreement had been reached with its chief lender, M&T Bank, which will provide the seminary with a $5.3 million line of credit to ensure its continued operation for the 2010-11 academic year. Proceeds from the sale of four residential units on the seminary's historic campus are expected to repay the loans.

Founded in 1817, the General Theological Seminary is located in New York City and is the oldest Episcopal seminary in the United States.

Interim appointments 

Retired Episcopal Bishop Jack McKelvey has been appointed interim president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He succeeds the Rev. Eugene C. Bay, who retired after four years as head of the school in Rochester, New York, which is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches. McKelvey was suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, New Jersey, before being named bishop of the Diocese of Rochester in 1999. He retired in 2008.

Father Michael J. Witt, professor of church history at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Shrewsbury, Missouri, has been named interim president-rector of the seminary, which trains priests for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson announced that a national search has begun to replace Monsignor Ted L. Wojcicki, who has returned to parish ministry after eight years as president-rector.

Canon Boyd Morgan, associate professor of liturgical studies and former provost of Queen's College Faculty of Theology in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, has been named administrator pro tempore by the Queen's College Corporation. Last year, the corporation declined to renew the contract of the Rev. John Mellis, provost and vice chancellor, while the corporation proceeded with a "visioning" process to determine the school's future.


Father Arthur L. Kennedy, rector since 2007 of St. John's Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, and Father Peter J. Uglietto, rector-president since 2005 of Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, have both been named auxiliary bishops in the Archdiocese of Boston.

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