Two new collaborations 
Union Theological Seminary in New York is partnering with Trinity Church Wall Street to create a program for international students. The Trinity Union Fellows program will bring students from China and India to New York City where they will study for one year at Union, an interdenominational school, and Trinity, an Episcopal parish. 

Funded by a grant from the church, the program will begin in the 2018–19 academic year with an initial cohort of up to six students, who will receive living stipends and take English-language courses in addition to courses in Union’s master of sacred theology program. Concurrently, they will participate in worship and learn about congregational governance at Trinity Church. 

The grant program at Trinity Church is funded in part by its portfolio of 11 office buildings in lower Manhattan, which contain 4.9 million square feet of commercial rental space. The real estate is the remainder of a 215-acre land grant given to the parish by Queen Anne in 1705. 

Two theological colleges have announced an affiliation that would allow candidates for ministry in the United Church of Canada to remain in Ontario while taking classes at a British Columbia institution. Under the arrangement, students will be able to earn a 90-credit master of divinity at Vancouver School of Theology (VST) while taking some courses and completing field education at Huron University College, 4,000 kilometers away in London, Ontario. 

The program will combine synchronous and asynchronous online courses through VST with in-person courses at Huron. Degrees can be completed in three years, or in as long as seven years for part-time students. 

Christian college closes
Grace University, a private nondenominational Christian university in Omaha, Nebraska, has announced that it will close at the end of this academic year. The decision comes after years of running deficits and shrinking freshman enrollment, as well as the sale of the campus to Omaha Public Schools. 

University leaders came to the decision that they no longer have the financial means to remain in operation. The school is preparing a teach-out plan for students that is being reviewed by the Higher Learning Commission. No severance plan for faculty and staff is currently in place, with school officials saying that severance will depend on how much money the school has at the end of the fiscal year. 

New name, new mission
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary in Waterloo, Ontario, has announced a change in the institution’s name. The seminary, which is federated with Wilfrid Laurier University, will be renamed Martin Luther University College, a decision that was made by the board of governors as part of their “2015 to 2020 business plan.” 

The school’s principal-dean, Mark W. Harris, explained in a letter posted online that because of their growing undergraduate population, the name “seminary” no longer accurately reflects the missionof the school. Acknowledging both Martin Luther’s contributionsand his anti-Semitism, Harris stated that changing the school’s name to Martin Luther University College will “continue the long process of confronting the consequences of our history, even as it inspires us to continue the enduring positive reforms sparked centuries ago.” 

The hilltop campus of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary has been sold.

Credit: Michael DeTerra

Hilltop campus sold
Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary has sold its hilltop campus in Berkeley, California, to a Muslim liberal arts college. Zaytuna College paid $10 million for the 10-acre campus and plans to move in at the beginning of 2018.

Zaytuna has an enrollment of 52 undergraduates and blends Western liberal arts education with Islamic studies. The school also owns three other buildings in Berkeley — the former home of the Franciscan School of Theology — where it plans to develop a graduate-level seminary. Pacific Lutheran Seminary previously moved to office space in downtown Berkeley, closer to the other members of the Graduate Theological Union. 

Changes at the top

 Tim Hager

■  Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), in Springfield, Missouri,has been restructured, adopting a dean-led organizational model within its parent institution, Evangel University. The board of trustees has appointed Dr. Tim Hager as vice president/dean of the seminary. 

Hager was most recently chief operating officer of the Assemblies of God denomination, a position he had held since 2015. Previously he served forseven years as administrator of field operations for the church’s U.S. missions agency. Hager has also served as an adjunct professor in Evangel University’s master of organizational leadership program since 2010. 

Hager is a graduate of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Lynn, have four adult children.

Prior to the restructuring, Dr. Mark Hausfeld served as president of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and Dr. James Railey, who has now retired, served as the seminary’s academic dean. Hausfeld will continue on the faculty as professor of urban and Islamic studies. 

Under the new model, Hager will report to the university provost/executive vice president, Dr. Mike McCorcle, on academic matters, while reporting to the university president, Dr. Carol Taylor, on fundraising and external relations. 

 Jason Van Vliet

■ Dr. Jason Van Vliet has been named principal and academic dean of Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Ontario. He succeeds Dr. Gerhard H. Visscher, who completed his 9-year term as principal and continues on the seminary faculty as professor of New Testament.

Van Vliet has served on the faculty since 2009 as professor of dogmatics, vice-principal, dean of students, and associate librarian. Ordained in the Canadian Reformed Churches, he was pastor of Maranatha Canadian Reformed Church in Surrey, British Columbia, from 2005 until 2009. 

He is a graduate of Trinity Western University, the Theological College of the Canadian Reformed Churches, McMaster Divinity College, and the Theological University of Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. Van Vliet and his wife, Janet, have seven children. 

 Phyllis D. Airhart

■ The board of regents of Victoria University has appointed Dr. Phyllis D. Airhart as interim principal of Emmanuel College in Toronto. Airhart, who will serve until June 2018, succeeds Dr. Mark Toulouse, who has retired after eight years as principal. Emmanuel College is the United Church of Canada theological college that is part of Victoria University, which is itself federated with the University of Toronto. Emmanuel is also one of the constituent institutions of the Toronto School of Theology. 

Airhart is professor of the history of Christianity at Emmanuel and has served as interim principal twice before, in 2008 and 2014. She has also served as director of advanced degree programs at the college. 

A graduate of the University of Manitoba and the University of Chicago, Airhart is married to Matthew Airhart. 

 J. Brent Walker

■ The Rev. J. Brent Walker has been named interim president of the John Leland Center for Theological Studies in Arlington, Virginia. He succeeds Dr. Mark Olson, who is stepping down after 10 years as president to become senior pastor of Haymarket Baptist Church in Haymarket, Virginia. 

Walker recently retired after 17 years as executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Previously he was pastor of Richland Baptist Church in Falmouth, Kentucky. He is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar. 

Walker is a graduate of the University of Florida, Stetson University College of Law, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Nancy, have two grown children. 

Jo Ann Rooney

■  In August 2016, the board of trustees of Loyola University Chicago named Dr. Jo Ann Rooney as their 24th president, the first lay person to lead the university. She succeeded Dr. John P. Pelissero, who served as interim president for one year after long-time president Father Michael J. Garanzini retired and was named chancellor. 

Prior to her appointment, Rooney was managing director of Huron Consulting Group in Chicago. Previously she was president of Spalding University for eight years. In addition, she was nominated and confirmed under the Obama administration to serve as senior advisor to the under secretary of defense (comptroller). She also served as acting under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. 

A member of the American Bar Association, Rooney is a graduate of Boston University, Suffolk University Law School, and the University of Pennsylvania.

 William H. Harrison

■ The board of governors of Lutheran Theological Seminary Saskatoon in Saskatchewan has named Rev. Dr. William H. Harrison as president. He succeeds Rev. Dr. Michael Nel, who served a two-year term as acting president from 2015 to 2017. 

Harrison was previously director for mission and ministry for the Anglican Diocese of Huron, Ontario. Before that, he was principal of the Kootenay School of Ministry in British Columbia and served in positions at the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad in Saskatoon. 

Harrison is a graduate of Carleton University, St. Paul University in Ottawa, the University of British Columbia, and Boston College.

Garwood P. Anderson

■ Dr. Garwood P. Anderson has been named interim dean and president of Nashotah House, an Episcopal seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin. He succeeds Father Steven A. Peay, who served as dean and president of the seminary since 2015 until he stepped down from the role for personal reasons. Father Peay will continue at the seminary as research professor of homiletics. 

Anderson has served at Nashotah House since 2009, first as associate dean for academic affairs, then as professor of New Testament and Greek. Previously he served on the staff of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship from 1984 until 2001 and was assistant professor of biblical studies at Asbury Theological Seminary’s Florida campus from 2002 to 2007. 

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin– Eau Claire, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Marquette University, Anderson is senior warden at Zion Episcopal Church in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He and his wife, Dawn, have three grown children.

Jeren Rowell

■ The board of trustees of Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, has named Dr. Jeren Rowell as president of the seminary. He succeeds Dr. Carla Sunberg, who led the seminary from 2014 until she stepped down in 2017 after being elected as a general superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene (see 

Prior to his appointment, Rowell was a superintendent of the denomination’s Kansas City District. He was pastor of Shawnee Church of the Nazarene in Kansas from 1991 until 2005. Rowell has served on the board of Nazarene Theological Seminary since 2005 and was chair of the board from 2009 until 2017. 

A graduate of Northwest Nazarene University and Olivet Nazarene University, Rowell and his wife, Starla, have four children.

 Robert Samuel Thorpe

■ Dr. Robert Samuel Thorpe has been named interim dean of Oral Roberts University College of Theology and Ministry in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He succeeds Dr. Vinson Synan, interim dean since August 2016, who will now serve as scholar in residence. 

With his appointment as interim dean, Thorpe will continue to serve as chair of undergraduate theology at Oral Roberts, a position he has held since 2015. Previously he was academic dean at Peniel College of Higher Education in Brentwood, Essex, in the United Kingdom. From 2005 until 2010, he taught at the University of Wales in Bangor. Concurrently, he has served on the faculty of Oral Roberts since 1991. 

Thorpe is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Oral Roberts University, and the University of Tulsa. He and his wife, Christine, have four children.

 Brian R. Kiely

■ In 2016, Father Brian R. Kiely was named rector of Pope St. John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts. He succeeded Father William Palardy, who was named pastor of St. Agatha Catholic Church, Milton, Massachusetts, after six years as head of the seminary. 

Prior to his appointment, Father Kiely was regional vicar of the west region of the Archdiocese of Boston. He served for 12 years as pastor of St. Patrick Church in Natick, Massachusetts and, before that, as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Dracut, Massachusetts. 

Ordained in 1978, Father Kiely studied for two years at Boston College before entering Saint John’s Seminary in Boston. He pursued further studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. 

Pope St. John XXIII Seminary focuses on preparing second-career seminarians for the Catholic priesthood. An article about the seminary, based on an interview with Father Kiely, is available at

Michael Woroniewicz

■ With approval from Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, Father Michael Woroniewicz has been named rector of SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan. He succeeds Monsignor Thomas Machalski, rector for six years, who will serve in parish ministry in the Diocese of Brooklyn after a sabbatical. 

Father Woroniewicz has most recently served as pastor of St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Ida, Michigan, and as vicar for the Monroe Vicariate, a part of the Archdiocese of Detroit that serves rural southeastern Michigan. He has been an adjunct faculty member at the seminary since 2006. Ordained in 1985, Father Woroniewicz is a graduate of Wayne State University, Sacred Heart Seminary College, St. John Provincial Seminary, and Aquinas Institute of Theology.

SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, founded in 1885, is a Catholic seminary that focuses on preparing immigrants and international students, mostly from Poland, to serve American parishes. 

 Daniel Leonard

■ Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver has named Father Daniel Leonard as rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. He succeeds Father Scott Traynor, rector from 2013 until 2017, who has been appointed pastor of St. Benedict Catholic Church in Yankton, South Dakota. 

Father Leonard has served on the faculty of the seminary for more than 15 years while also serving Colorado Catholic parishes — from 2000 to 2005 as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Boulder and from 2005 until 2017 as pastor of Christ the King Church in Denver. 

Ordained in Ireland in 1994, Father Leonard was incardinated in the Denver Archdiocese in 2006. He is a graduate of the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, both in Rome. 

 Christopher Brittain

■ The Rev. Dr. Christopher Brittain has been named dean of divinity and Margaret E. Fleck Professor in Anglican studies at Trinity College, one of the federated institutions of the University of Toronto and a part of the Toronto School of Theology. He succeeds Canon David Neelands, who completed his third term as dean in June 2017 after serving since 2002. 

Before his appointment, Brittain was for 10 years professor of social and political theology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, where he remains an honorary professor. Previously he served on the faculty of the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

An ordained Anglican priest, Brittain has served in the Anglican Church in Canada, the Episcopal Church of Scotland, and the Diocese of Europe. He is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick, Trinity College, and St. Michael’s College, Toronto. 

Hakim J. Lucas

■ Dr. Hakim J. Lucas has been named 13th president of Virginia Union University in Richmond. He succeeds Dr. Joseph F. Johnson, who was serving as acting president during the terminal sabbatical year of former president Claude G. Perkins. 

Lucas was previously vice president for institutional advancement at Bethune-Cookman University, where he had served since 2012. He had formerly served as director of development at State University of New York at Old Westbury and dean of institutional advancement and development at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn.

Lucas is a graduate of Morehouse College, Tufts University, Union Theological Seminary, and Fordham University. 


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