A083 Implementation of The Way Forward - Establishing an Effective and Efficient 21st Century Seminary

Original version

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention concur with the October 19, 2017 unanimous resolution of the Board of Trustees of The General Theological Seminary of The Episcopal Church that Article III of its Constitution be amended as follows:

ARTICLE III

The Board of Trustees shall be constituted as follows: The Presiding Bishop of the Church; the Bishop of the Diocese in which the Seminary is located; the Dean of the Seminary; the President of the Alumni Board; one (1) Bishop chosen by the House of Bishops; one (1) presbyter or deacon and one (1) lay person chosen by the House of Deputies; three (3) persons chosen by the Alumni of the Seminary; and the remaining Trustees shall be elected by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees shall fix by Resolution from time to time at its Annual Meeting the total number of Trustees, which number of Trustees shall be not less than nineteen (19) nor more than thirty (30) members. The Presiding Bishop, the Bishop of the Diocese, the Dean of the Seminary, and the President of the Alumni Board shall be members ex-officio. The Bishop elected by the House of Bishops and the persons elected by the House of Deputies of the General Convention shall be elected at each convention for a term of three (3) years. The three (3) Trustees elected by the Alumni (excluding the President of the Alumni Board who shall serve ex- officio while holding that office) shall be elected annually by the Alumni Board for staggered terms of three (3) years. The persons elected by the Board of Trustees shall be elected at the Annual Meeting or other duly called meetings of the Board of Trustees for staggered terms of three (3) years;

And be it further

Resolved, That this shall be effective January 1, 2019, provided that it shall then have been ratified and approved by the Board of Trustees and provided further that all members of the Board of Trustees holding office on such effective date shall continue to hold office until the expiration of their respective present terms of office.

Explanation

The effect of this Resolution is:
• Reduction in the board size from forty-two (42) to between nineteen (19) and thirty (30), depending on current need of the seminary and the Church, giving flexibility and speed to such annual decisions;
• Continuation of election of trustees in roughly equivalent proportions as currently provided: General Convention, alumni, the board, and the ex-officio electing bodies;
• Recognition of the significance of the alumni executive board by provision of its President/Chair as a new ex-officio member of the board; and
• Because of natural attrition, all current trustees are able to fulfill their current term and current term limits would be recognized. In other words, no current trustees would lose their place nor have to resign with implementation of this Resolution in January, 2019.

The proposed Resolution addresses the fifty (50) years of General Seminary’s outside, independent accreditation body, ATS, urgings for flexibility and overhaul, one hundred and fifty (150) years of General Convention’s own struggles with empowering General Seminary to be responsive to the Church’s needs for the current time, and legions of Church leaders’ direct and oblique comments about governance. It continues to recognize the multi-layered constituencies of The Episcopal Church’s original seminary and gives it the flexibility and effectiveness needed for the rapidly evolving changes of the 21st century Church.

General Seminary needs the help of the 2018 General Convention to continue to move forward on this important trajectory. This is an opportunity for the Church to embrace a solution for an adaptive challenge rather than default to a technical fix.


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