The General Theological Seminary has unveiled a new vision for its educational mission and its relationship with the wider church and the world. The Rev. Dr. Patrick Malloy, Associate Dean, presented A 21st Century Vision for Theological Education and Formation at a dinner for GTS alumni/ae during The Episcopal Church's triennial General Convention held in Indianapolis. Download the full text of his introductory remarks here.
"Many people told us how excited they are by what they see happening on Chelsea Square and how hopeful they are," Dean Malloy said in the introduction to his presentation, speaking of visitors to the GTS exhibition booths during General Convention. "They are excited by the prospects of what we can become and of what we can do."
The new vision is a major step in the efforts of GTS to transform itself for the 21st century, an era of historic global shifts in religious life and affiliation. Recognizing the need to change for the future, while building on the seminary's past excellence, the Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk, Chair of the GTS Board of Trustees, established a visioning team. Led by the Rev. Dr. William Clarkson IV, a trustee, the team worked tirelessly and collaboratively for more than a year with various stakeholders, including trustees, faculty, seminary staff, students, and members of the GTS Alumni/ae Executive Committee, to develop the new vision for the seminary.
The new vision comprises four key areas of commitment: staying financially sound, focusing on academic excellence, preserving the seminary's worship and community life, and streamlining organization and governance.
In the area of academic excellence, GTS envisions a highly selective Master of Divinity degree program for the education and formation for future clergy, together with multiple certificate and continuing education programs. In addition to core studies in the major theological disciplines, GTS will develop programs in urban church mission, transformational leadership, non-parochial ministries, and ecumenical and interfaith studies. Using state-of-the-art technology in the classroom and including bilingual and multi-cultural education will become a higher priority. Furthermore, GTS faculty will offer teaching for the wider church using new distance-learning technology. In its academic initiatives, GTS will seek collaborative educational partnerships with other seminaries and institutions.
Viewing worship and community life as a particular strength, GTS will, at the same time, preserve and build upon this area of its mission. What has been formative for seminarians in the past will become widely available to others, as GTS intentionally opens itself to the church and world, welcoming and incorporating commuter students, pilgrims, visitors, and anyone who seeks to be in relationship with the seminary.
In all this, staying financially sound, a priority during the past year, will continue to be a focus, as GTS seeks new revenue streams, strives to remain debt-free, and continues to grow the endowment. GTS also will streamline its organization and governance, reinvigorating trustee committee work and seeking counsel from advisory groups comprising bishops, alumni/ae and community leaders.
"With the new vision before us," noted President Lowrey, "the next step is to develop specific strategies for implementing the vision. The GTS leadership is already beginning a process for creating a strategic plan."
Click to download: A 21st Century Vision for Theological Education and Formation
Click to download: Associate Dean Patrick Malloy's introductory remarks