March 26, 2017

July 22, 2016

Behold the Sinking Ship

The neo-pagans running the Episcopal Church may have won a lots of battles, but they’re still going to lose the war. In the process, a lot of Anglicans and other former Episcopalians are going to do some gloating, I’m sure. So have at it: Turns out that the Episcopal seminary until recently led by Molech cult priestess Katharine Ragsdale is going belly up, according to Jeff Walton of the IRD:

In a surprise move, the Board of Trustees for one of the 10 schools educating Episcopal Church seminarians has voted to cease granting degrees at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 school year. It is unclear how Episcopal Divinity School of Cambridge, Massachusetts might continue on, with the board stating that it “will explore options for EDS’s future” in the coming year.

That’s boilerplate. An institution of higher (or in EDS’ case, lower) education doesn’t have any options if it stops granting degrees. The individuals may re-form it into a think tank or something like that, but it ceases to be a school for the training (using the term loosely) of ministers.

Interim Dean Francis Fornaro, who took office in March of 2015 following the departure of former Dean Katharine Ragsdale, will resign in November and stated “I totally disagree with this resolution.” Fornaro is a 1996 graduate of the seminary and previously served as adjunct faculty there.

“A school that has taken on racism, sexism, heterosexism, and multiple interlocking oppressions is now called to rethink its delivery of theological education in a new and changing world,” declared former Washington National Cathedral Dean and EDS Board Chairman Gary Hall in an official announcement. “Ending unsustainable spending is a matter of social justice.”

That’s got to be some kind of record for stuffing the most SJW cliches in the fewest words, at least in the world of seminary trustees. Of course, EDS hasn’t delivered “theological education” for a long time, so no matter what happens, it won’t be any loss to the Christian world.

Episcopal Divinity School was formed from the 1974 merger of Philadelphia Divinity School and Episcopal Theological School, both of which trace their origins to the mid-1800s. The Cambridge, Massachusetts seminary sold property worth over $33 million to neighboring Lesley University in 2009 in an effort to pay off outstanding debt and regain the school’s financial footing. According to The Living Church, EDS draws 7 percent from its $66 million endowment to cover operating costs; 5 percent or less would be considered sustainable.

It sounds like they’ve discovered a terrible truth: you can only spend like a drunken congressman if you have a printing press that can legally print money. A seminary, not so much.

RIP, EDS. Unitarians everywhere will grieve for you.

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Multiple interlocking oppressions?

[1] Posted by Just a Baptist on 7-22-2016 at 09:35 PM · [top]

“Ending unsustainable spending is a matter of social justice.”

That’s a surprising statement from a liberal. Will we hear any similar rhetoric from other liberals in the upcoming general election?

[2] Posted by the virginian on 7-22-2016 at 10:17 PM · [top]

If only they’d taught the Christian faith, instead of all those “oppressions” ...

[3] Posted by Katherine on 7-23-2016 at 07:01 AM · [top]

If we consider this an abortion, is it a blessing?

Answer: It is a “blessing” to the aborters.  The abortees are dead.  The aborters are no longer bothered by the abortees.

[4] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 7-23-2016 at 08:19 AM · [top]

Gary Hall (son of famed Bowery Boy Huntz Hall) was until recently Dean of the National Cathedral.  However, prior to that post, he was dean of Seabury Western, where he oversaw the closing (“cessation of residential programs”) of that institution.  So he is acquiring significant experience in terminating Episcopal seminaries.  The Cathedral has serious financial difficulties (Hall’s recently appointed successor has significant fundraising experience), and perhaps the Cathedral is fortunate that it survived Dean Hall’s ministering talents.

[5] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 7-23-2016 at 09:16 AM · [top]

If you wonder why EDS is shutting down, check out the list of courses in this article by Rob Dreher:

Now, remember, those are graduate courses in theology, from an institution that TEC likes to portray as a “mainstream” seminary.

[6] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-23-2016 at 10:13 AM · [top]

“Ending unsustainable revisionism is a matter of God’s justice.”

[7] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 7-23-2016 at 07:09 PM · [top]

TJ, a reader in the comments left this course description that should be put on the epitaph of this ex-school (it’s like an ex-parrot, only dumber):

T 3150 Queer Incarnation

The incarnation is sometimes presented as an arithmetic problem: What do you get when you add some divinity to a human body? But thinking about incarnation has to start much further back, in the realization that accounts of Jesus show us how little we understand about either divinity or bodies, much less about how bodies can show, act, and becomes divine. Just here and theology of the incarnation can learn from works of queer theory and the writings of queer thinkers. The body of Jesus – despised, de-sexed, and yet miraculously distributed – invites us to an exchange of bodies along the margins of human power and its certainties. We will think about the queerness of Jesus’ body with the help of some traditional texts on incarnation and passion (Athanasius, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Julian) and much more recent work on gender performance, bodily transition or transformation, and the rituals of camp.

Yes, I’m sure that comparing Athanasius to the “rituals of camp” will lend itself to some amazing thoughts, such as “if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.” (Captain Jeffrey Spaulding, Animal Crackers)

[8] Posted by David Fischler on 7-23-2016 at 07:31 PM · [top]

I remember reading a few years ago that you can get an M.Div. from a number of mainline seminaries now without having to take a single course devoted to Scripture.  I remember thinking, well that’s that, then.

This wouldn’t happen if we had more folks like Deacon Payne in our seminaries:

[9] Posted by Jim the Puritan on 7-24-2016 at 01:58 AM · [top]

By unsustainable spending, they mean:

Military spending.
Nicer cars than they have.

[10] Posted by Ed the Roman on 7-24-2016 at 07:41 AM · [top]

Ah, yes, the rituals of camp. Bible Study, handicrafts, swimming and late night singing around a fire. For me, those were important times in the strengthening of my faith.

[11] Posted by Just a Baptist on 7-24-2016 at 08:27 AM · [top]

I can remember when the Philadelphia Divinity School closed. It had a beautiful campus consisting of a square block of stone buildings with a superb theological library that was part of St. Clement’s parish. The parish boundaries had been gerrymandered so the library could be used by the students. As for the students, they had staged a protest over women’s ordination. Few of them, it seemed, wanted to go to Cambridge. The seminary had begun in a parish, St. Andrews, and had brought the churchyard skeletons to the campus when the old parish was sold to another denomination. They rested in a cement vault, with the headstones laid flat on the ground. It is likely that the architect William Strickland was among them.  The proceeds from the church sale were used to continue the school on its West Philadelphia campus. The beautiful Cistertian nave with its carved, canopied stalls and ceiling adorned with saints sat empty on my visit, save for the skeletons, which had been crated in large boxes and lay in the chancel, ready to go to consecrated ground elsewhere. In a ‘poor Yorik’ moment, a friend picked up one of the skulls and contemplated it before returning it to the box.

[12] Posted by Adam 12 on 7-25-2016 at 06:21 AM · [top]

The article fails to mention that EDS Board Chairman Gary Hall is also the former Dean of Seabury Western when it closed several years ago.  He seems to be making a career out of closing Episcopal seminaries.

[13] Posted by ToAllTheWorld on 7-30-2016 at 03:40 AM · [top]

“Ending unsustainable spending is a matter of social justice.” Gary Hall seems to be the Joseph Hazelwood of TEC’s current leadership.

[14] Posted by Fr. Dale on 7-30-2016 at 06:55 AM · [top]

#5.Dick Mitchell,
“Gary Hall (son of famed Bowery Boy Huntz Hall)” The Bowery Boys were also known as “The Dead End Kids”. How fitting a name is that applied to the current situation?

[15] Posted by Fr. Dale on 7-30-2016 at 07:00 AM · [top]

Satan has long been the Chancellor of this evil institution.  It demise is an unalloyed gain for humanity, as will be the implosion of the denomination that it fed.

[16] Posted by Jeffersonian on 8-25-2016 at 09:30 AM · [top]

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