Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, Massachusetts, successfully weathered special reviews by both of its accreditors, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. The reviews followed complaints filed with the agencies about the firing of the president and three faculty members in 1997 by Archbishop Spyridon, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.
Both reports noted changes in the school’s bylaws that begin to clarify the roles of the school’s boards and of church authorities. Each body warned the school that it would be looking carefully at implementation of the new documents during the next regularly scheduled reaccrediting visit in 2001.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges report, published in May, cited special appreciation for the school’s assertion that “in the day-to-day operation of the school, the institution functions on its own, . . . and does not receive interference from the Greek Orthodox Diocese of North America.” The New England regional continued: “The commission looks forward to being assured that practice at the institution accurately reflects these mandates and perspectives.”
The Association of Theological Schools’ June letter to Holy Cross was at once more blunt about the school’s situation and more pastoral in tone. The conclusion noted that the school had responded to the accreditors’ 1998 warning. The ATS said it had lifted Holy Cross’s warning status but noted that a number of troublesome areas remained.
One such area is institutional trust. Noting the ATS standard that “governance is based on a bond of trust among boards, administrators, faculty, students, and ecclesial bodies,” the letter goes on to say: “Governing documents, no matter how precisely worded and legally appropriate, cannot compensate for the absence of ‘bonds of trust.’” In the commission’s perception, this lack of trust at Holy Cross has contributed to palpable pain for persons on both sides of the controversy, and ultimately threatens the capacity of the school to achieve its purpose.”
Holy Cross is the only seminary of the troubled Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the largest and wealthiest jurisdiction under the control of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartolomeos of Constantinople. When Bartolomeos appointed Spyridon—the first American-born head of the archdiocese—the move was celebrated as the beginning of a new style of church leadership. Things have turned out rather differently than hoped: Spyridon is widely described as authoritarian and out of touch with the unique situation of the church in America. In January, five of the eight American metropolitans signed a request to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos that Spyridon be removed from his office on account of his “lack of Christian and pastoral love.” Bartholomeos summoned Spyridon to Istanbul, but the Patriarch decided not to oust him. In June, the Clergy Laity Conference of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Boston (which covers most of New England) voted to endorse the metropolitans’ January report and request for Spyridon’s ouster, continuing the controversy.
Copies of both accrediting agencies’ reports, along with extensive documentation on the controversies at Holy Cross in particular and at the archdiocese in general, can be found online at www.voithia.org. Official but less comprehensive information can be found at www.hchc.edu, Holy Cross’s site, and www.goarch.org, the site of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
The Association of Theological Schools has named the new crop of Henry Luce III Fellows and Lilly Faculty Fellows.
The seven Henry Luce III Fellows will engage in year-long research in various areas of theological inquiry funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. At the conclusion of their research year, the Fellows will gather at the annual Luce Fellows Conference to present and critique their work.
This year’s Luce Fellows and the titles of their areas of research are:
Catherine A. Brekus, assistant professor, University of Chicago Divinity School, “The World of Sarah Osborn (1714-1796): Popular Christianity in Eighteenth-Century New England.”
Mary Rose D’Angelo, associate professor, University of Notre Dame Department of Theology, “Early Christian Sexual Politics and Roman Imperial Family Values: Rereading Christ and Culture.”
Stanley J. Grenz, professor, Regent College, “The Social Imago: Trinitarian Anthropology and the Postmodern (Loss of) Self.”
Carl R. Holladay, professor, Candler School of Theology of Emory University, “Reading the New Testament as Scripture: A Theological Introduction.”
Reinhard Hutter, associate professor, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago/Duke University Divinity School, “Freeing Freedom-Remembering the (Natural) Law: Christian Liberty, Its Modern Transformation, and Its Theological Recovery Under Postmodern Conditions.”
Jon D. Levenson, professor, Harvard University Divinity School, “The Tree of Life: The Loss, Recovery, and Redefinition of Immortality in Judaism and Christianity.”
Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry, Vanderbilt University Divinity School, “Toward a Theology of Children: Care of Children as a Religious Discipline and Communal Practice.”
Lilly Theological Research Grants have been given to seventeen faculty members in ATS member institutions. Ten faculty members were named Lilly Faculty Fellows and given grants for fulltime research, seven others were given smaller grants for smaller projects. The Lilly Faculty Fellows for 1999-2000 and their research topics are:
Thomas E. Buckley, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, “The Struggle for ‘Total Separation’: Virginians and the Statute for Religious Freedom, 1787-1947.”
Catherine Keller, Drew University Theological School, “The Face of the Deep.”
Sang Kyun Lee, Princeton Theological Seminary, “Liminal Creativity of Marginality: Toward an Asian American Theology.”
Richard A. Lischer, Duke University Divinity School, “The End of Words: The Postliberal Alternative in Homiletics.”
Kathleen E. McVey, Princeton Theological Seminary, “Early Christians and the Motherhood of God.”
Edward E. Roslof, United Theological Seminary “”Religion and Culture in Contemporary Russia: Moscow Province.”
Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Harvard University Divinity School, “Ethos and Ethics of Interpretation: Gal. 3:28.”
Ronald F. Thiemann, Harvard University Divinity School, “The Public Intellectual: Social Criticism and Religious Vision.”
Timothy J. Wengert, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, “A Research Proposal Concerning the Life and Thought of Philip Melanchthon.”
Khiok-khng Yeo, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, “Pauline Eschatology and Millenarian Hope: The Interaction Between Three-Self Churches and Maoist Utopianism.”
The small grant recipients are:
Charles A. Bobertz, St. John’s University School of Theology, “A Ritual/Liturgical Reading of the Gospel of Mark.”
Michael S. Driscoll, University of Notre Dame, Department of Theology, “A Biocultural Model for the Study of Urban Monasticism in Early Analysis of the Material Culture.”
D. Bruce Hindmarsh, Briercrest Biblical Seminary, “The Evangelical Conversion Narrative: A Study of Spiritual Autobiography in England, 1720-1790.”
Frank A. James III, Reformed Theological Seminary, “An Immigrant Theologian in England’s Reformation: Peter Martyr Vermigli’s Cross-Cultural Contribution to Edwardian Culture, Politics, and Religion.”
Michael Jinkins, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, “The Need for Conflict in Communities of Faith: The Application of Isaiah Berlin’s Value-Pluralism to Congregational Life.”
Jeanette Y. Rodriguez, Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, “Cultural Memory: The Presence of a People.”
Douglas M. Strong, Wesley Theological Seminary, “Patterns of Spirituality and Race Relations on the Underground Railroad.”
Changes at the Top
Duane Larson assumes the presidency of Wartburg Theological Seminary on July 15. He comes to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America school from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (Pennsylvania), where he was professor of systematic theology. His predecessor, Roger Fjeld, who led the school for fifteen years, retired the day after his sixty-fifth birthday.
The board of trustees of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has appointed the Right Reverend Steven Charleston president and dean effective August 1. Charleston, most recently chaplain of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, is former Episcopal bishop of Alaska. He is a 1976 graduate of EDS. The Very Reverend William Rankin, the school’s last president, left last year to become vice president of the United Religions Initiative in San Francisco.
Byron Klaus is the new president of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri. He was previously professor at Southern California College in Costa Mesa. In the course of its search for a president, the school sent over a thousand surveys to staff, graduates, and denominational officials before developing their profile. Klaus succeeds Del Tarr, whose eight years as president of the school included the building of a new $6.5 million dollar campus. Tarr, who earlier spent fourteen years as a missionary in Africa, plans to divide his time between Africa and the U.S.
The executive committee of the Graduate Theological Union’s board has elected John Dillenberger interim president while the Berkeley, California consortium searches for a successor to Glenn Bucher, who left at the end of June. Dillenberger was the GTU’s first president, serving from 1962 to 1971, and has spent the last two years as acting director of the GTU library.
Charles R. Foster is interim dean of Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He began the position on July 1, after the departure of R. Kevin LaGree for the presidency of Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. Foster is professor of religion and education and associate dean of faculty development at Candler.
An in-house interim has also been named by Columbia Biblical Seminary and Graduate School of Missions of Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. John H. Davidson, the school’s executive vice president, assumed the interim presidency on July first. His predecessor, Johnny V. Miller, has returned to parish ministry.
United Theological Seminary, a United Methodist School in Dayton, Ohio, does not plan to hire an interim following the abrupt resignation of president Michael G. Nickerson on June 1, according to board chair David Ruffer. The school’s senior administration is sharing leadership, and the board hopes to have a new president in place by January.
Barbara Brown Zikmund has announced plans to step down from the presidency of Hartford (Connecticut) Seminary in June 2000. Zikmund, who has led the interdenominational school for ten years, was chosen by a national committee to be nominated for the presidency of the United Church of Christ at its general synod. Her nomination was scuttled, however, when she failed to attract the necessary two-thirds vote of support by the boards of United Church of Christ agencies, whose representatives met behind closed doors in March.
Clyde McDowell, Denver Seminary Head is Dead
Clyde B. McDowell, president of Denver Seminary, died June 7, a year after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. McDowell, 49, had been president of the multidenominational evangelical school since 1996. Prior to his tenure at Denver, McDowell, a Conservative Baptist minister, was pastor of several churches, including Mission Hills Baptist Church in Littleton, Colorado.
Last February, when McDowell became unable to manage the school’s day-to-day operations, the board reaffirmed his presidency and decided to hire an interim CEO. Leith Anderson, pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prarie, Minnesota (where McDowell had also served), will remain in that job until June 2000.