The deans of Episcopal seminaries warned bishops and other church leaders last year that their theological schools must deal creatively with hard financial realities. The schools can no longer function separately as “11 little grocery stores trying to sell the same products to the church,” declared Donn Morgan of Berkeley, California, then convener of the Council of Deans.
The challenges have been felt not only in the Episcopal Church—which has been torn by breakaway parishes and dissenting dioceses—but in virtually all U.S. denominations, added Ward Ewing of New York City, the current council convener. “Seminaries are in the midst of major transformational change,” Ewing told bishops in September.
Actions by three Episcopal seminaries reflected that crisis. Pullback plans were announced by schools in Evanston, Illinois, and Rochester, New York. A promising financial partnership was struck in Cambridge, Massachusetts.