Illustration by Fernando Cobelo
When Lancaster Theological Seminary called me as interim president for a yearlong contract, I had a basic understanding of the situation the school faced. The challenges and opportunities were complex, as they are for most free-standing mainline Protestant seminaries.
My predecessor, the faculty, and the board had been preparing for years to envision a future for the school that might look different from its past.
As we examined the options, the board and faculty clearly understood what it meant to be stewards of the institution. Lancaster had been around since 1825. The school had seen several significant changes in its storied history.
As we began to engage around the question of how to best advance the mission of the seminary, we all realized that the mission wasn’t born with buildings, budgets, and bylaws. Those things came later, as institutional supports for the mission. This helped us clarify that transformation requires seeing institutional forms as variables while holding the mission constant.
Understanding ourselves as stewards of the mission, rather than only as stewards of the institution, was critical to the faculty-supported board decision to enter into a definitive agreement for combination to become Lancaster Theological Seminary of Moravian University.