Vancouver School of Theology partnering with Durham University

Vancouver School of Theology (pictured above) has announced a partnership with Durham University in the United Kingdom to offer a British research Ph.D. in theology in Vancouver, British Columbia. The new program began in autumn 2018. 

According to a press release from Vancouver, no other Canadian schools west of Toronto currently offer a Ph.D. in theology. By partnering with Durham University, the School of Theology is filling the need for such a doctoral program in western Canada. 

Full-time students will complete the program in three years; part-time students may complete it in up to six years. Unlike most North American doctoral programs, this new program will not require coursework and will focus entirely on research. Students will go to the United Kingdom for orientation at Durham University but will do the bulk of their work in Vancouver; in addition, they will be eligible for financial aid from both Vancouver and Durham.

New leadership for A Christian Ministry in the National Parks 

A Christian Ministry in the National Parks, a Denver-based organization that provides personnel to minister in 25 national parks, has named new co-executive directors. Amy Kennedy and Dave Degler served as interim joint leaders beginning in January 2018 and were named permanently to the positions in September. The previous executive director, Spencer Lundgaard, who led the organization for 10 years, is now pastor of Village Presbyterian Church in Northbrook, Illinois. 

Prior to her appointment, Amy Kennedy was the organization’s director of placement and communication for seven years. Before that, she was a ministry team member in three national parks. Kennedy is a graduate of Northwest Nazarene University and Regis University. 

Dave Degler most recently served the organization as director of program and leadership, a position he held since 2012. Prior to that, he served as a minister of several churches and as a campus pastor at East Tennessee State University. He is a graduate of Great Lakes Christian College and Emmanuel Christian Seminary.

Update from ATS on revision of standards

By Tom Tanner 

Once a generation the membership of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) engages in a comprehensive revision of its Standards of Accreditation. The first revision was in 1972; the second was in 1996. In June 2018, the membership approved undertaking the third such revision. This two-year process is expected to culminate in June 2020 at the association’s Biennial Meeting in Vancouver, when the membership is scheduled to vote on a new set of standards and procedures.  

The 19-member task force leading this comprehensive redevelopment process has designated 2018–19 as “a year of listening, researching, and reflecting.” The process is building on the ATS Educational Models and Practices Project that began in 2015, which has involved more than 90 percent of the association’s member institutions. (See “Mapping the industry” in the Autumn 2018 issue of In Trust.)  

During this year of listening, the task force will engage various ATS constituencies in different ways (see To ensure that board members have a voice in this process, the task force has appointed a subcommittee on governance, which includes Amy Kardash, president of the In Trust Center for Theological Schools. The subcommittee also includes several members from the redevelopment task force, as well as governing board members from ATS member schools. 

More information on the ATS redevelopment process is online at To offer suggestions, ask questions, or express concerns, email ATS at

Tom Tanner is director of accreditation and institutional evaluation at the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. 

Artifact sells for $27 million

Credit: Christie's Images LTD 2018 

Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria has sold a 3,000-year-old Assyrian relief carving for $27.25 million. Auctioned at Christie’s in New York, the relief had been housed at the seminary’s library. 

An appraisal of the seven-foot stone panel from the palace of Assyrian ruler Ashurnasirpal II revealed that its value had more than quadrupled in recent years. Insurance premiums covering it and two other carvings housed at the seminary had jumped to $70,000 per year. 

The panels were given to the seminary in 1859 by missionary Henri B. Haskell from an excavation by English archaeologist Austen Henry Layard. The proceeds from the sale will go towards underwriting a scholarship fund for international students, students of color, and second-career students. In addition, funds will be used towards conservation of the remaining pair of carvings and a symposium focusing on them this spring.

McGiffert Hall (foreground) overlooks Riverside Park and the Hudson River.

Credit: Benjamin Perry

Union Theological Seminary sells dormitory to Riverside Church 

Union Theological Seminary in New York City has sold a dormitory to Riverside Church for $46.5 million. 

The seminary had been negotiating with a developer to purchase the property. However, when it was discovered that philanthropist John D. Rockefeller had imposed restrictions on the land when he deeded it to the seminary, Riverside Church was given the first right of purchase. 

Known as McGiffert Hall, the 82-unit building will be leased back to the seminary for five years while new housing is constructed. During the five-year leasing period, Riverside Church will engage in community conversations and research to determine how best to use the property.

Seminary partners with Lay Center 

Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, has announced a partnership with The Lay Center in Rome. 

An agreement was ratified by The Lay Center board in August. Under the new agreement, The Lay Center, founded in 1986 as a resident community for lay students enrolled in pontifical universities, will become an institute under the School of Theology over a two-year period while remaining a nonprofit organization. 

The School of Theology will establish an office for The Lay Center on its New Jersey campus and will develop joint programming. The center will serve as a base for seminary professors to conduct research in Rome during the academic year. 

Changes at the top

Courtesy Susan Declerq
Anthony Brausch

■ Father Anthony Brausch has been appointed president of Athenaeum of Ohio and rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati. He succeeds Father Benedict O’Cinnsealaigh, who served as president/rector for seven years. Father O’Cinnsealaigh has been named pastor of Our Lady of Victory parish in Delhi, Ohio.

Father Brausch has served on the faculty of the Athenaeum/Mount St. Mary’s since 2008 and became vice rector and director of formation in 2011. He also served as president/rector pro tem during Father O’Cinnsealaigh’s sabbatical in 2018. Ordained in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 2002, Father Brausch served at Our Lady of the Visitation Church and Elder High School, both in Cincinnati, before moving to Rome for further study.

In 2016 Father Brausch was named by Pope Francis to serve as a Missionary of Mercy for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. (In 2017, this title was extended past the Jubilee Year.) He is a graduate of the Pontifical College Josephinum, the Athenaeum of Ohio, and the Gregorian University in Rome.

Courtesy Bexley Seabury Seminary
Micah T.J. Jackson

The board of Bexley Seabury Seminary in Chicago has named the Rev. Dr. Micah T. J. Jackson as its new president. He succeeds the Rev. Dr. Roger Ferlo, who served as president from 2012 until his retirement in fall 2017. Ferlo is now scholar in residence at the Newberry Library and serves as priest associate at the Church of St. Paul and the Redeemer in Chicago.

Prior to his appointment, Jackson served on the faculty of the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, where he was associate professor of preaching and director of comprehensive wellness.

Jackson is a graduate of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Meadville Lombard Theological School, and Graduate Theological Union. He and his wife, Laura, are the parents of one son.

Courtesy of Duke Divinity School
L.Gregory Jones

The Rev. Dr. L. Gregory Jones has been named dean of Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. He succeeds the Rev. Dr. Elaine Heath, dean since 2016, who has stepped down from the position and will remain on the Divinity School faculty.

Jones is the Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Jr. Distinguished Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry at Duke and previously served as Divinity School dean from 1997 to 2010. He founded Leadership Education at Duke Divinity in 2008 and directed it until 2010, when he began serving as Duke University’s chief international strategist, working to advance and coordinate the university’s global engagement. From 2016 to 2017, Jones was executive vice president and provost of Baylor University.

An ordained United Methodist pastor, Jones is a graduate of the University of Denver and Duke University. He and his wife, Susan, have three children.

Courtesy of Emmanuel College
Michelle Voss Roberts

The board of regents of Victoria University in Toronto has named the Rev. Dr. Michelle Voss Roberts as principal of Emmanuel College for a five-year term. Voss Roberts succeeds Dr. Mark Toulouse, who stepped down in June 2017 after more than eight years as principal. Dr. Phyllis Airhart served as interim principal from 2017 to 2018.

Prior to her appointment, Voss Roberts served on the faculty of Wake Forest University School of Divinity, most recently as associate dean of academic affairs. She is the author of Dualities: A Theology of Difference and Body Parts: A Theological Anthropology.

An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Voss Roberts is a graduate of Calvin College, Candler School of Theology, and Emory University.

Courtesy of Moody Bible Institute
Mark Jobe

The board of trustees of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago has named Dr. Mark Jobe as president. He succeeds Greg Thornton, Moody’s senior vice president of media, who has been serving as interim president of the institute since Dr. J. Paul Nyquist resigned in January 2018.

Jobe is the founding pastor of New Life Community Church in Chicago, which has grown from 18 to more than 5,000 congregants since 1986. He also founded New Life Centers in 2005, which creates programs for underserved populations in Chicago. Jobe also hosts a daily radio program on the Moody network.

Jobe is a graduate of Moody, Columbia International University, and Bakke Graduate University. He and his wife, Dee, have three grown children.

Courtesy of Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Barry J. York

Dr. Barry J. York has been appointed president of Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh. He succeeds Dr. Jerry O’Neill, who has retired after 23 years as president of the school. York has served on the faculty of Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary since 2013 as professor of pastoral theology and dean of faculty.

Previously he was pastor of Sycamore Reformed Presbyterian Church in Indiana, a congregation he planted in 1994. He currently serves as an elder at College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

York is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Purdue University, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and Reformed Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Miriam, have six children.

Courtesy of St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry
Stephen J. Loughlin

Dr. Stephen J. Loughlin has been named president of St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in Pittsford, New York. He succeeds Father George P. Heyman, president since 2015, who has been named pastor of two parishes in Fairport, New York — Church of the Assumption and Church of the Resurrection.

Loughlin has been a member of the faculty of DeSales University since 1999 and has served as chair of the university’s philosophy and theology department since 2011. Loughlin has served on the editorial board of the theological journal Nova et Vetera and oversees the work of the Aquinas Translation Project which works to provide English translations of the works of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Loughlin is a graduate of St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario, and the University of Toronto.

Courtesy of Orthodox Church of America
John E. Parker

The board of trustees of Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, has named Archpriest John E. Parker III as dean. He succeeds Archpriest Steven Voytovich, who served as dean for five years. The announcement was made by the head of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey within the Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop Michael, who also serves as rector of St. Tikhon’s Seminary.

Father Parker most recently served as rector of Holy Ascension Church in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Prior to being received in the Orthodox Church in 2002, he served in the Episcopal Church as a youth minister and was a grade school Spanish teacher. He was ordained into the Orthodox priesthood in 2003.

Since 2011, Father Parker has been chair of the department of evangelization for the Orthodox Church in America. He has also served on the board of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center for five years.

A graduate of the College of William and Mary, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Father Parker and his wife, Jeannette, have two college-age sons.

Courtesy of Jason Smith/University of Chicago
David Nirenberg

Dr. David Nirenberg has been appointed interim dean of the University of Chicago Divinity School. He succeeds Laurie Zoloth, dean since 2017, who stepped down in June 2018 to take on the role of senior adviser to the provost for programs on social ethics.

Nirenberg concurrently serves the university as executive vice provost and as the Deborah and Edgar D. Jannotta Distinguished Service Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought. He has been on the faculty of the university since 2006 and holds several academic appointments across departments. Prior to being appointed as executive vice provost, Nirenberg served as dean of the Division of Social Sciences from 2014 to 2018. Previously he was on the faculties of Rice University and Johns Hopkins University. He is a graduate of Yale University and Princeton University.


David Crawford has been named president of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He has served as interim president of the seminary since 2017.

The Rev. Dr. Jesse Zink, principal of Montreal Diocesan Theological College since 2017, has been named director of the Montreal School of Theology, an ecumenical consortium consisting of three autonomous theological colleges affiliated with McGill University. While taking up his new role, Zink remains principal of Montreal Diocesan Theological College.

Dr. Garwood Anderson, interim dean of Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Wisconsin, has been named provost and president of the school. The seminary is reorganizing its leadership structure; they were previously led by a single dean/president, but that position will now be split in two. Anderson will serve as provost/president, and the school will work towards hiring his counterpart, a chief advancement officer.

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