When I started my graduate studies in theology last year, I never anticipated a curriculum with vocabulary like air rights, luxury condominiums, or student protest. But Union Theological Seminary faces an ethical and financial conundrum, one that threatens to fracture our community from within.
When Brad Braxton was tapped last year as the next senior pastor of Riverside Church, he was billed as an energetic and dynamic preacher with the power to reinvigorate the flagship pulpit of progressive Protestantism.
Union Theological Seminary in New York has awarded degrees to 104 students, its largest graduating class since 1992. Included were 59 students who received Master of Divinity degrees. “Slightly more than a third of the students are going into some type of church-related work, ranging from pastoral services to chaplaincies,” said a Union news release.
Serene Jones of Yale University has been selected to be the first woman president of Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She will assume the presidency of the 172-year-old nondenominational seminary on July 1, succeeding Joseph Hough, who is retiring after serving since 1999.
When Bob Edgar announced that he was stepping down as head of the National Council of Churches, someone suggested that he might apply for the soon-to-be-vacant pulpit across the street at the historic Riverside Church. Or perhaps a better fit might be yet another nearby position on Manhattan’s Upper West Side—the soon-to-be-vacant presidency at Union Theological Seminary, where Joseph C.
JosephC.HoughJr., who helped to rescue New York’s Union Theological Seminary from financial jeopardy during his eight years as president, announced April 24 that he will retire from the post in June 2008. Hough, 73, was lured out of a planned retirement in 1999 to lead the ecumenical seminary founded in 1836.
The venerable Union Theological Seminary in New York, in dire financial straits a few years ago, topped its fund-raising goal of $39 million in cash, pledges and planned gifts at the start of this month, President Joseph Hough announced.
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