Canadian Anglicans reach long-awaited settlement on damages relating to Native residential schools, women make only slight gains in board member representation, and Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond receives a $1 million gift.
A landmark agreement between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Canadian federal government on damages arising from Native residential schools was officially signed in March. That means claims for damages from physical and sexual abuse will now be evaluated and settlements paid out to 2,200 Native claimants against the church without lengthy legal proceedings. The Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corporation will pay 30 percent of the settlement with payments not to exceed $25 million; the federal government will pay the remaining 70 percent under the agreement.
The agreement required approval of the General Synod and all thirty dioceses of the church, and in February the Diocese of Calgary was the final diocese to ratify the agreement. The dioceses will pay $22 million and the national church $3 million into a special corporation that will disburse the church's 30 percent share of damages paid to Native claimants for physical and sexual abuse (no cultural abuse claims are to be included). Eighty percent of the funds will be coming from dioceses that were not named in lawsuits and had no residential schools within their boundaries. The biggest contributor will be Toronto Diocese, the largest of the dioceses, which is raising $5 million.
The Anglican agreement sets a pattern for another agreement with the Presbyterian Church of Canada, which will pay $2.1 million for its share of damages from a handful of schools. The United Church of Canada and the Roman Catholic Church, the other two churches involved in residential schools, have not reached agreements. The federal government wants nationwide agreements, but the Catholic Church says it can't negotiate a national settlement, as responsibility rests with individual dioceses and religious orders.
Despite the agreement, healing and reconciliation with Native people are still a long way off. The Reverend Margaret Waterchief, a Native priest from Calgary Diocese who calls herself a "product of residential schools," says aboriginal people remain on the bottom rung of Canadian society because their culture and language have been taken away and that many are homeless and suffering from addictions because they have lost their roots.
Little Gain by Women
A recent In Trust survey of theological schools reveals that, for the fifty-two respondents, the number of women serving on governing boards has increased only 2 percent since an identical survey three years ago. That survey, published in the New Year 2000 issue, showed women's representation at 24 percent, a figure closely echoed in Auburn Theological Seminary's June 2002 survey In Whose Hands. Despite the virtual flatline, statistics for new board members reveal the potential for greater growth in the near future. On average, women comprised 30 percent of all new board members, with evangelical denominational schools showing the only decrease, going from 17.1 percent of current members to 13.8 percent of new members. Mainline denominational and peace church schools showed the most robust growth, each showing women comprising 40 percent of new board seats.
Luce Fellows Named
The Association of Theological Schools and the Henry Luce Foundation have announced seven Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology for 2003-2004. Each will receive a sabbatical grant allowing a year-long research project.
One of the new fellows, Blake Leyerle of the University of Notre Dame Department of Theology, proposes to draw some connections between early Christian pilgrimages and contemporary travel in her project, "Traveling Space: Theorizing Early Christian Pilgrimage."
Leyerle expects her study to include a variety of perspectives, she said, and she provides a ready example. "What we see is what we think is important," she said. "I traveled to Israel some years ago, and from my photos, you would think there was nobody in Jerusalem." That's because her focus was on buildings and historical sites. Just so for early pilgrims, who focused on the things they had come to see and did not report on local color: Some scholars have concluded that there weren't people around the pilgrimage sites. That has made, said Leyerle, for some "really boring" texts on pilgrimages.
"Pilgrimages have to do with the nature of empire, not just individuals," said Leyerle. Constantine sanctioned pilgrimages, in part as a way to draw people toward the center of his empire.
Although today's tourists are "continually frustrated in their search for authenticity," Leyerle said, travel still has to do with concepts of home, and return to home. And notwithstanding the challenges early pilgrims faced, she said, "they all experienced tremendous happiness."
The other new Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology and their projects are:
Ana Maria Díaz-Stevens, Union Theological Seminary, "Routes and Roles in Hispanic/Latina Leadership in Faith Communities"
Paul Hanson, Harvard University Divinity School, "The Bible and Politics: Anatomy of an Unsettled Relationship"
Walter Lowe, Candler School of Theology of Emory University, "Christianity and Anti-Judaism"
Rebekah Miles, Perkins School of Theology of Southern Methodist University, "Good Kids, Good Society, Good God: Theological and Ethical Reflections on Raising Good Children"
Khiok-khng Yeo, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, "Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Freedom: A Confucianist-Pauline Hermeneutic of Pistis (in Galatians) and Chung-shu (in Analects)"
Randall Zachman, University of Notre Dame Department of Theology, "The Living Icons of God: Manifestation and Proclamation in the Theology of John Calvin"
When Christianity Today recently announced the winners in its first ever "Forty Best Christian Places to Work" competition, three seminaries were among the (unranked) top eleven finishers. Dallas Theological Seminary; Multnomah Bible College and Seminary in Portland, Oregon; and Phoenix Seminary in Scottsdale, Arizona, were standouts among the eighty-five workplaces that submitted employee responses and human resources profiles and policies to the judges.
Focus on mission, involved leadership, and a collegial work environment were some of the most cited sources of job satisfaction. That held true for the high-ranking seminaries.
Wayne Grudem came to Phoenix to teach Bible and theology after twenty-four years of teaching at other schools. He said, "Our president often asks people, 'How can I help you?' 'How can I bless you?' 'How can I help you succeed?'"
At Denver and Multnomah, small perks serve as a sign of caring for employees: At Multnomah, employees get free lunches when students are on campus, at Dallas, an employee who has worked at least half a day can take off the rest of the day for personal business and still count a full work day. (Dallas had the lowest voluntary turnover of employees in the top eleven with just 3 percent.)
The "forty best places" were divided into ten categories. Seminaries swept the small colleges, universities, and seminaries category with Phoenix Seminary, Beeson Divinity School, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and Denver Seminary taking the honors. In the medium colleges, universities, and seminaries category, Dallas and Multnomah tied for first place.
$1M Gift Received
As promised, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR) has received the $1 million pledged by a Virginia Baptist couple. "It's not often that we see a personal check drawn on a local bank for a million dollars," said BTSR president Tom Graves, "but, true to their word, these generous friends sent such a check to BTSR today.... We're deeply grateful and extremely gratified by this remarkable vote of confidence."
This gift retires one half of what the seminary owes on the purchase and renovation of its main building, and the effect of the gift was felt before it was even received; since the pledge was announced last fall, several other substantial gifts have been received.
School to Center
Prairie Graduate School in Calgary, Alberta, will reconfigure itself next fall as the Centre for Intercultural Missions. The decision was made by the governing board of Prairie Bible Institute, Three Hills, Alberta, PGS's parent body, at the recommendation of Jon Ohlhauser, the institute's new president.
Prairie Graduate School had been a candidate for accreditation as a graduate theological school by the Association of Theological Schools.
The institute plans to sell the graduate school's property in Calgary to provide an endowment for the prospective center.
Changes at the Top
Monsignor Ted L. Wojcicki has been in position as president-rector of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary since June 2002, replacing Monsignor Dennis Delaney, who is now vicar for pastoral planning.