In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I greet you as the newly elected Chair of the Board of Trustees of The General Theological Seminary. This is a great honor and I accept the trust it betokens.
I must be truthful with you: I am not a graduate of GTS; my alma mater sits on a hill in Alexandria, Virginia. I was elected to General’s Board by the House of Bishops at the 2009 General Convention. Since that time, I have come to love and value this seminary and am committed to its continued growth and vitality as a place of formation and education for the leadership and ministry of The Episcopal Church.
Your Board is made up of 42 members, drawn from across The Episcopal Church and from every order of ministry. Some members are elected at General Convention, some are elected by the alumni, others by the Board itself, and a few are trustees by virtue of their office. The Board meets three times each year at the Seminary, plus a monthly telephone conference. There is an Executive Committee which makes necessary decisions between meetings and helps in planning the agenda for the full-board meetings. All Board meetings are open to members of the GTS community, though the Board also goes into executive session to consider personnel and other sensitive matters.
As I write this, I am on the way home from our February meeting. We spent a good deal of time at this meeting hearing reports about The Wisdom Year and its growing effectiveness. This is good news for us!
The Board also spent a sizeable amount of time discussing the painful period just experienced by the faculty, students, and staff. We heard reports from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and their 1-on-1 work with individual faculty members and groups, as well as a report from the Dean about his efforts at seeking reconciliation and resolution of this situation.
We attended Chapel, once for a beautiful Evensong and then for Morning Prayer. We heard a fine sermon from the President of the Alumni Executive Committee, the Rev. Scott White, and a lovely reflection offered during Morning Prayer by a GTS Junior.
I look forward to serving as Chair of the Board and look forward to meeting and knowing many of you. Coming up in May is Commencement and, in June, the General Convention where we will gather alumni and friends for a reception and dinner on June 30 at the Cathedral Church of Saint Mark in Salt Lake City.
Please keep the Seminary in your prayers. And, if you have not already done so, please remember to write a check to GTS in thanksgiving for the role the Seminary has had in your life and formation – and the impact its ministry is having on the coming generation of leadership for The Episcopal Church and God’s mission.
The Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel, 3rd Chair, Board of Trustees The General Theological Seminary