Clergy renewal grant program enters 11th year

Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. has announced that the  National Clergy Renewal Program, which has awarded more than 1,500 grants in its 10-year history, will continue in 2010. The program provides grants to pastors for travel and study, typically for three to four months. Eligible congregations may apply for an award of up to $50,000, and up to $15,000 of that amount may be spent for congregational support during the absence of the pastor. Lily Endowment is a major supporter of In Trust. More information:

New campus

The board of trustees of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia, has voted to purchase property belonging to Thomas Road Baptist Church as the site of a new campus. The church, started by the Rev. Jerry Falwell in 1956, moved to a new location in 2006. The seminary was founded in 1973 as part of Lynchburg Baptist College, which was also started by Falwell and which is now called Liberty University. Plans include remodeling over 200,000 square feet of church facilities, enabling the seminary to vacate the university campus.

Mergers, Partnerships & Alliances

Moody and Michigan

On January 1, 2010, Michigan Theological Seminary completed a merger with Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, taking the name Moody Theological Seminary - Michigan. Both the Chicago and the Michigan campuses remain open with their own resident students and faculty.

Leaders at the Michigan seminary initially approached Moody's leadership about a merger in summer 2008, and the schools began a nine-month due diligence process to explore the option. Following the approval of the boards of both schools, an application to merge was submitted in June 2009 to the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The Higher Learning Commission approved the merger, with conditions, in October.

Moody Bible Institute was founded in 1886 as the Chicago Evangelization Society by evangelist Dwight L. Moody. Its graduate theological school, called Moody Theological Seminary, enrolls about 400 students.Michigan Theological Seminary, located in the Detroit suburb of Plymouth, was founded in 1994 by a group of evangelical educators, businessmen, and ministers. This fall, when the proposed merger was first announced, about 200 students were enrolled.

Webster and Eden

 Eden Luhr Library

Two schools with adjoining campuses in the St. Louis suburbs - Webster University and Eden Theological Seminary - have signed a memo of understanding involving a real estate transfer, library consolidation, and shared athletic facilities.

Eden will transfer 5.5 acres of its land in Webster Groves, Missouri - including three buildings - to Webster for $5.3 million. The seminary's library collection will also be consolidated into Webster's library, while Webster will provide library services for Eden's students, staff, and faculty, who will have full access to Webster's library resources. In addition, Webster will lease Eden's athletic fields for seven years, and the seminary's students, faculty, and staff will have full access to Webster's fitness center. Eden was founded in 1850 and enrolls more than 200 students. It is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Webster University was founded in 1915as Loretto College, a Catholic women's institution operated by the Sisters of Loretto. The religious order transferred the institution to an independent, nonreligious board of directors in 1967, and today the university operates more than 100 campuses worldwide, with about 21,000 students enrolled.

Changes at the top

 Kenneth G. Radant

■ Dr. Kenneth G. Radant has been named principal of the Association of Canadian Theological Schools (ACTS) Seminaries, a consortium of five theological schools affiliated with Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. He will continue to serve as academic dean of the consortium.

Radant replaces the Rev. Ron Toews, who departed to become director of leadership development for the British Columbia conference of the Mennonite Brethren Church. Toews transitioned to his new role in May 2009 after having served as president since January 2008.

A graduate of Canadian Bible College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Radant taught theology and church history at Prairie Graduate School for nine years before joining the faculty of ACTS Seminaries in 1999.

 Ronald Kovak

■ In July 2009, the board of directors of Knox Theological Seminary appointed Dr. Ronald Kovack as the new president of the school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He succeeds the Rev. P. David Nicholas, who resigned as president after less than one year. 

Co-founder of Kovack Securities, Kovack has served since 1979 as an elder of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, the congregation that helped launch the seminary in 1989. He is also a 30-year board member and past executive director of Coral Ridge Ministries, the organization founded by the church's longtime pastor, D. James Kennedy.

Also in 2009, Dr. Luder Whitlock joined the seminary's board as chair. For 23 years, Whitlock served as president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. He has also been president of the Association of Theological Schools and chair of the Fellowship of Evangelical Seminary Presidents.

James McKearney

■ The Provincial Council of the U.S. Province of the Society of St. Sulpice has appointed Sulpician Father James L. McKearney as president/rector of St. Patrick's Seminary & University effective July 1, 2009. He succeeded Father Gerald L. Brown, who had served as president since 2004.

Father McKearney is a graduate of Western Connecticut University, St. Mary's Seminary & University in Baltimore, and the Gregorian University in Rome. Ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Hartford in 1995, he joined the faculty of St. Patrick's in 1999 and became a Sulpician in 2001. McKearney was appointed vice-rector of the seminary in 2007. St. Patrick's Seminary was founded by the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1898 and has always been staffed by priests of the Society of St. Sulpice. It is located in Menlo Park, California.

 Stevan Wlusek

■ Father Stevan Wlusek became rector of St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ontario, on January 1, 2010. He succeeded Bishop William T. McGrattan, who served as rector from 1997 to 2009, when he was appointed an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Toronto. When named rector, Father Wlusek was simultaneously appointed episcopal vicar for formation and support for the Diocese of London. Ordained to the priesthood in 1986, he had served several parishes as associate pastor and pastor until 2000, when he joined the faculty at St. Peter's, lecturing in  spirituality and pastoral theology.

A graduate of St. Peter's, Creighton University, Regis College, and the University of St. Michael's College, Wlusek chaired the Diocese of London's sexual abuse committee from 2003 to 2006.

St. Peter's Seminary, founded in 1912, is affiliated with King's University College, a Catholic affiliate of the University of Western Ontario.

 Robert Bottoms

■ Dr. Robert G. Bottoms, chair of the board of trustees of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, has been appointed interim dean and president until June 30, 2011, following the resignation of the Very Rev. Gary R. Hall, who is returning to pastoral ministry.

Bottoms was president of DePauw University for 22 years before retiring in 2008. He is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, Emory University, and Vanderbilt University. He is director of the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University. He and his wife, Gwen Vickers Bottoms, have two adult children and are lay members of Trinity Episcopal Church in Bloomington, Indiana.

Seabury-Western, an Episcopal school, was created in 1933 by the merger of Seabury Divinity School and Western Theological Seminary. An article about transitions at Seabury-Western and other Episcopal seminaries appeared in the Summer 2008 issue of In Trust. It is available online at

■ In 2009, Dr. Peter Man Seok Chang was appointed the sixth president of Washington Baptist University in Annandale, Virginia. He succeeds Dr. Jacob Suk-Tae Shin, who had served as president since 2006. 

Chang is a graduate of Seoul National University, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and Union Theological Seminary. Washington Baptist University is a candidate for accreditation by the Association of Theological Schools.

It was founded in 1982 as the Baptist College and Seminary of Washington and serves primarily Korean and Korean-American students.

IRS Check Sheet

Few things are more chilling than a notice that your tax return is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service.

But the IRS, as part of its enhanced oversight of nonprofit organizations, has provided in advance what in other settings might be called a "cheat sheet" for nonprofits facing such a review. In December 2009, the IRS released a Governance Check Sheet to be used by its agents who conduct examinations of exempt organizations, "to gather information on (their) governance practices and internal controls." The examinations will concentrate on the "exempt organizations" that are classified as 501(c)(3) public charities, which includes schools that file the annual Form 990 tax return. Nonprofits notified that they are subject to an audit - or who anticipate one - can view the Check Sheet to prepare for that event.

The two-page Check Sheet can be found at, along with a brief statement about how it is used by IRS examiners. According to the statement, the examiners inquire about "organizations' governance structure including bylaws provisions, board meetings, and relationships between directors; board practices for compensation decisions; adoption of written conflict of interest and document retention policies; and financial oversight practices."

The inquiry mirrors the questions that nonprofit organizations are now answering on the new Form 990. The new form, which went into effect last year, includes two pages of questions about nonprofit governance. (See "The New Form 990" in the Summer 2009 issue of In Trust, which is available at 

The IRS says the data captured in the reviews "will be included in a long-term study to gain a better understanding of the intersection between governance  practices and tax compliance."

- Dorothy S. Ridings


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