Bexley Seabury Board Announces One Site, Multiple Advantages for Students

November 9, 2015

The Board of Directors of Bexley Seabury Seminary Federation (BSSF) today announced that beginning with the Fall 2016 term, the seminary will operate from one site, in Chicago. The change, recommended to the Board by its Beyond Walls Task Force, was adopted by unanimous vote.

The move will bring to a close what will have been a 17-year partnership between Bexley Seabury and Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. Since 2004 the Bexley Seabury M.Div. degree has been offered in conjunction with Trinity

Bexley Seabury Beyond Walls Task Force October 2015 72dpif

Beyond Walls Task Force Members, L-R: Melinda Rhodes-DiSalvo, Daniel W. Shannon, Roger Lumpp, Charlotte Reed, Gary B. Manning, Sandra Ferguson McPhee, John E. Denson Jr., chair

through a collaboration that began in 1999. A formal celebration of the long association is being planned for May in Columbus, in addition to Bexley Seabury’s participation in commencement at Trinity on May 21 when it will award 2016 M.Div. degrees. Transition planning is under way in consultation with continuing M.Div. students, so that they can complete their studies on schedule.

“Consolidating Bexley Seabury’s operations in Chicago will bring new energy and focus to our work and, I am confident, will create still more choice and flexibility in course offerings while continuing to provide the kind of rich community life that has been one of the Columbus program’s greatest strengths,” said BSSF Board Chair W. Michie Klusmeyer, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia. “We are proud of, and grateful for what will have been a 17-year collaboration with Trinity Lutheran Seminary. This is a grace-filled and mission-faithful time,” Klusmeyer continued.

Bexley Seabury President Roger Ferlo spoke to the ecumenical significance of the partnership, and emphasized the seminary’s commitment to expanding and strengthening its ecumenical reach. “The Trinity–Bexley Seabury alliance demonstrated the deep wisdom of the ‘Called to Common Mission’ agreement, entered into by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church in 2000. Our partnership has shown how two faith traditions can each benefit when we live into the Gospel together,” Ferlo said. “We look forward to deepening these ecumenical ties—a hallmark of the Bexley Hall experience—in the richly diverse theological culture of Chicago.”

The seven-member Beyond Walls Task Force was commissioned by the Bexley Seabury Board of Directors under its 2015–2017 Strategic Plan “to challenge where we are and where we are heading” in fulfilling one of four key plan goals: to increase access to theological education.

Task Force members are: John E. Denson Jr., BSSF Board vice chair, Task Force chair and rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Indianapolis; Roger Lumpp, BSSF trustee associate andretired business integration consultant; Gary B. Manning, BSSF director and rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, Wauwatosa, Wis.; Sandra Ferguson McPhee, BSSF director, attorney and trustee of the Church Pension Fund; Charlotte Reed, BSSF Board secretary and rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Springfield, Ohio; Melinda Rhodes-DiSalvo, BSSF director and director, Office of Teaching and Learning, College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University; Daniel W. Shannon, BSSF director and retired dean, University of Chicago Graham School.

“I congratulate the members of our Task Force and applaud their enthusiasm and creativity. Our Board is deeply grateful for their work to date, and to come,” said Board Chair Klusmeyer.