Changing Scenes

The fall 2019 entering class at Christ the King Seminary in Buffalo, New York. PHOTO CREDIT: CHRIST THE KING SEMINARY

On the brink of closure

Earlier this year, the board of trustees of Christ the King Seminary in Buffalo, New York, and members of the seminary corporation voted to close the school at the end of the current academic year. Father Kevin Creagh, the seminary rector, announced the decision on February 4, 2020. The seminary has been forming students for the Catholic priesthood since 1857. Initially part of St. Bonaventure College, it was incorporated separately in 1974 and then moved to the campus of St. John Vianney Seminary in Buffalo. The school’s annual budget is estimated at $3.6 million. In the fall of 2019, the seminary reported a headcount enrollment of 55 students. In the current academic year, there are 26 students preparing for the priesthood and the remainder are lay or diaconal students. More information: click here

The board of trustees of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, has voted to close Logsdon Seminary, which offers the school’s graduate programs in theology. Currently enrolled students will be offered a “teach-out” to finish their degrees. The university will continue to offer undergraduate programs in theology and ministry through the Logsdon School of Theology. Evidence that Logsdon Seminary was struggling financially emerged two years ago. In October 2018, university trustees announced that the seminary would be making cuts to programs and personnel and would be closing four of its extension sites in Texas. At the time, university president Eric Bruntmyer said the cuts were the result of decreased funding from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program and the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Logsdon reported to the Association of Theological Schools that it had a headcount enrollment of 125 students and a full-time-equivalent student body of 66.3 in fall 2019. More information: click here

In March 2020, the board of trustees of Notre Dame de Namur University, a Catholic institution in California’s Silicon Valley, announced the school would not be able to continue operating in its current circumstances. While not a seminary, Notre Dame de Namur is, like some Catholic schools of theology, a small accredited institution owned by a corporation whose members are part of a religious order. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur as an academy in 1851, the school became a degree-granting institution in 1868 and was the first in California to offer bachelor’s degrees to women.

According to a university press release, the school has been experiencing a steady drop in enrollment — from 2,000 in 2013 to 1,363 in 2019. The budget deficit in 2019 was around $3 million. According to seminary leadership, various efforts to reverse the downward trajectory have not been successful. The board of trustees says it is considering three options: renewal, merger, or closure. So far, it has been unable to find a suitable merger partner, and the board has acknowledged that renewal will require an infusion of cash from gifts or from the sale of the campus in Belmont, California. More information: click here

Changes at the top

Changing Scenes
Hy Nguyen

The Society of St. Sulpice and the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas, have announced the appointment of Sulpician Father Hy Nguyen as rector of Assumption Seminary, effective July 1, 2019. He succeeded Sulpician Father Jaime E. Robledo who was granted a medical leave of absence after serving as rector for one year.

A native of Danang, Vietnam, Nguyen was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1997 in the Diocese of Oakland, California, and joined the Society of St. Sulpice in 2000. He has been chair of the Theological Committee of the Federation of Vietnamese Catholics in the United States since 2006.

At the time of his appointment as rector, Nguyen was vice rector, dean of men, and director of extern spiritual directors at Theological College in Washington, D.C. He served as dean of men at Assumption Seminary from 2012 to 2014.

A graduate of St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California, and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Nguyen taught for six years at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore.

Changing Scenes
Pamela R. Durso 

The board of trustees of Central Baptist Theological Seminary has elected Dr. Pamela R. Durso as the seminary’s next president, effective June 1, 2020. She will succeed Dr. Molly T. Marshall, who will retire after completing her 16-year presidency at the end of the 2019–20 academic year.

Durso is currently executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry in Atlanta, where she advocates and provides services for women serving in Christian ministry. She was previously associate executive director and treasurer of the Baptist History and Heritage Society and is currently president of its board. She often teaches as an adjunct professor at McAfee School of Theology and previously was on the faculty of Campbell University Divinity School.

A graduate of Baylor University, Durso has been a strong supporter of clergywomen and has written and edited numerous books and articles on women. Ordained in 2015 by Cornerstone Baptist Church of Snellville, Georgia, and Baptist Women in Ministry, Durso has served in ministry positions as interim pastor, associate minister, senior adult ministry director, and youth minister.

Durso is a member of the board of Amani Sasa (an organization aiding refugees in Uganda) and of the advisory committee for Women at the Wellsprings, a ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, Alabama. She is also co-chair of the Clergy Sexual Misconduct Task Force of the Baptist Women in Ministry and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Durso and her husband, Dr. Keith Durso, have two adult children.

Changing Scenes
Deborah Krause

The board of trustees of Eden Theological Seminary has named the Rev. Deborah Krause as its 14th president, effective July 1, 2020. She will succeed David Greenhaw, who is retiring after a 23-year tenure as president.

Krause is professor of New Testament at Eden. She has been a member of the seminary faculty since 1992 and was academic dean from 2005 through 2018.

A graduate of Amherst College, Eden Theological Seminary, and Emory University, Krause is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Changing Scenes
Thomas L. Kiedis

Dr. Thomas (Tommy) L. Kiedis has been appointed the sixth president of Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary and Graduate School beginning February 1, 2020. Kiedis succeeds Dr. Peter W. Teague, who, after leading the school for 21 years, has been named president emeritus.

The summer 2019 issue of In Trust announced that Dr. Ben Gutierrez had been appointed president of Lancaster Bible College; however, in July 2019, the college announced that the planned leadership transition from Teague to Gutierrez would not proceed. Teague agreed to postpone his retirement until 2020.

A graduate of Crichton College, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kiedis has been a member of Lancaster’s corporate governing body since 2012 and was the lead mentor for the college’s church planting concentration (part of its master of arts in ministry program). He has been senior pastor of Spanish River Church in Boca Raton, Florida, for the last 10 years.

Kiedis and his wife, Shannan, have six adult children.

Changing Scenes
Eric Michael Riesen

The executive council of the North American Lutheran Church has appointed the Rev. Dr. Eric Michael Riesen president of North American Lutheran Seminary, which is located on the campus of (and shares faculty and resources with) Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. (North American Lutheran Seminary was founded in 2014 at Trinity as the seminary of the North American Lutheran Church, a denomination that was organized in 2010.)

Riesen, who began serving in his new role on February 1, 2020, succeeds the Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin, the school’s first president. She has been appointed president emeritus and will continue to teach full time at the seminary. Riesen has been a Lutheran pastor for 34 years, most recently at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ashland, Ohio. From 1994 to 2016 he was pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Brentwood, Pennsylvania.

Riesen is a graduate of Indiana University, Fort Wayne, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Luther Seminary. He and his wife, Terry, have three adult children.

Changing Scenes
Marjorie R. Kerr

Tyndale University has announced the appointment of Dr. Marjory R. Kerr as president and vice chancellor, effective July 1, 2020. She will succeed Dr. Gary Nelson, who will retire in June 2020 after serving as president for 10 years.

Kerr is currently president and vice chancellor of Booth University College in Winnipeg, a position she has held since 2016. Prior to that, she was Booth’s vice president and academic dean, and she also served on its board for six years, three of them as chair.

A graduate of the University of Waterloo, Kerr is a registered psychologist and a certified executive coach. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Waterloo, the University of Guelph, and Tyndale Seminary. A lifelong member of the Salvation Army, Kerr has held several significant leadership roles within the organization.

Changing Scenes
Angela Zimmann

The board of trustees of United Lutheran Seminary appointed the Rev. Dr. Angela Zimmann as interim president, effective December 1, 2019. She succeeded Dr. Richard Green, who had been leading the school on an interim basis since the departure of the seminary’s previous leader, Dr. Theresa Latini. Green retired on November 30, 2019.

At the time of her appointment, Zimmann was vice president of institutional advancement and adjunct professor of homiletics at United Lutheran Seminary.

Zimmann previously served as bishop’s assistant to the president of the Lutheran World Federation in Jerusalem, co-pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in the Old City of Jerusalem, and as a pastor of various Lutheran churches in Michigan. She is a graduate of University of Toledo, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and Bowling Green State University. Zimmann and her husband, the Rev. Martin Otto Zimmann, have two children.


Every gift is a surprise

Book review by Kathy Hansen

Changing Scenes
Happy Surprises: Help Others Discover the Joy of Giving, by
David L. Heetland (Wesley’s Foundery Books, 2019, 146 pp., $19).

In his new book, David Heetland harnesses the power of story to educate and inspire nonprofit leaders, board members, development officers, clergy, and fund-raisers as they in turn help people to become philanthropists.

Happy Surprises is divided into short, practical chapters, each of which focuses on an important aspect of fundraising and begins with a true story drawn from his decades of experience as the lead fundraiser at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. The stories describe “happy surprises,” which are gifts from committed donors. At the end of each chapter, Heetland asks: “What can we learn from this happy surprise?” and he provides a practical answer.

The very structure of the book underscores the importance of friendship. Each gift that Heetland describes is grounded in a personal relationship based on shared mission, mutual respect, thoughtful care, and sincere gratitude. The book becomes a primer on how to identify and build sustainable, long-term networks that result in charitable gifts that are rewarding to donors and significant to the recipient.

Happy Surprises is simple and straight-forward. Board members and other fundraising volunteers are sure to be inspired by the stories and will learn some of the fundamentals of fundraising. Along the way, they will be disabused of fundraising stereotypes and consider the deep satisfaction gained by inviting philanthropy. Those new to the profession, or building a fundraising operation, will find practical advice about fundamentals.

Reap the benefits of Heetland’s experience and use Happy Surprises to stimulate rich conversation with boards, fundraising committees, and advancement teams.

Top Topics
Roles & Responsibilities
Board Essentials

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