Author Topic: A Bold Proposal Regarding the ELCA Seminary System  (Read 7875 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: A Bold Proposal Regarding the ELCA Seminary System
« Reply #75 on: September 06, 2012, 08:23:59 PM »
So subjective, so subjective. It's a wonder that the Church for all these years found the "gall" to declare that there was a truth above and beyond all others.


Just who is "the Church" that made the declaration? How did it come to make that declaration?
"The church Ö had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Richard Johnson

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Re: A Bold Proposal Regarding the ELCA Seminary System
« Reply #76 on: September 07, 2012, 12:15:37 AM »


Yale also produced our esteemed editor and moderator, Pr. Richard Johnson.

Peace, JOHN

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prsally

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Re: A Bold Proposal Regarding the ELCA Seminary System
« Reply #77 on: September 11, 2012, 10:45:58 PM »
It seems to me that the ELCA seminaries have their own constituencies and have for quite some time been receiving only a portion of their funding from the wider church. Thus they are in some ways semi-autonomous institutions and have some say as to whether or not they would be put up for sale. Anytime you have institutions, and I would include congregations in this, which basically control their own budgets and set their own plans and hire their own people it becomes questionable as to who outside of the institution can attempt to control their fate. The ELCA and many other church bodies are in the situation of having many larger physical plants than present numbers might justify.  However it is also the case that the seminaries have assets such as bookstores, regional headquarters, well used chapels, continuing education centers, the ability to host larger church gatherings which serve a wider constituency and this makes selling them more problematic, donít forget alumni dollars either. Perhaps the ELCA needs to do an overall inventory of all its assets and then suggest rather than an order a plan for possible downsizing. I say this as an LCMC pastor but feel this is true not only for the ELCA but for many other denominations and institutions as a whole. Certainly once an institution is gone its total value has been reduced to money which often tends to be spent quickly and to prop up similarly struggling entities, is that worth it?

racin_jason

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Re: A Bold Proposal Regarding the ELCA Seminary System
« Reply #78 on: September 12, 2012, 10:07:11 AM »
How much does the ELCA financially support the eight seminaries? Is it on a per-student basis in addition to a standard annual stipend?

What would it take for the ELCA to shut down a seminary? Would it be as simple as cutting off funding?
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Dadoo

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Re: A Bold Proposal Regarding the ELCA Seminary System
« Reply #79 on: September 12, 2012, 02:26:09 PM »
How much does the ELCA financially support the eight seminaries? Is it on a per-student basis in addition to a standard annual stipend?

What would it take for the ELCA to shut down a seminary? Would it be as simple as cutting off funding?

Jason,


How the ELCA would "close" a seminary? I would say that the only method we have is to deauthorize them, that is to say, by national vote (I think it would take that) the ELCA would declare that a particular seminary would no longer be an approved school to do one's "Lutheran year" at or have one's internship administered by. In essence, the seminary in question would become just another Divinity school. One could go there for classes but then one would have to transfer to a recognized seminary so as to be approved for ordination. So it would not be so much of a "closing" as a matter of delivering a death blow to the institution. I would think most if not all of our seminaries would not survive such a move by the denomination.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: A Bold Proposal Regarding the ELCA Seminary System
« Reply #80 on: September 12, 2012, 05:26:57 PM »
What would it take for the ELCA to shut down a seminary? Would it be as simple as cutting off funding?


You could look at how ELCA colleges were shut down, Dana in Blair, NE, and Waldorf College in Forest City, IA.
"The church Ö had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: A Bold Proposal Regarding the ELCA Seminary System
« Reply #81 on: September 12, 2012, 05:52:20 PM »
The Report on Theological Education put ELCA direct support to the seminaries at 12.6% of their revenues for 1994, with the synods granting another 16.2%.  By 2007 the direct support from churchwide and synods combined had shrunk to 20%, half of what it was (40%) when the ELCA started.  The combined dollar amount in the early '90s was in the $8-9 million range. 

The Report set future goals regarding a complete re-appraisal of the then-existing funding system, but apparently none of the ideas raised for actual change (with closing 1 or 2 of the 8 being the most radical of proposals) have been able to get much traction.  In many respects, the 8 seminaries have -- particularly through the Clusters and other co-operative ventures through the Vocation unit (formerly the Division for Ministry) -- more and more acted/decided as a system. 

As for how the ELCA allocates its funding share for each of the seminaries, I don't know.  I'm thinking the answer to that is one that would actually be easily obtainable with a phone call to Higgins Road, and impossible to find out any other way -- it's not the the answer musgt be a secret, it just isn't something out there for the public.  I do know, however, that the separately-funded financial aid for individual ELCA seminarians has increased some, and the Fund for Leaders's scholarships (some full-ride for 3 years, some partial) seem to be allocated so each seminary has the the same number of students receiving such scholarships.

The ELCA Vocation unit appoints a member or 2 to each ELCA seminary's Board of Directors.  Most other BoD members are elected/chosen by the synods, and I believe positions (clergy/lay, male/female, Bishop/staff, etc.) are actually allocated via the Regions.

Looking at the ELCA's financial support for each seminary and the actual votes it has on their Boards could leave the impression that the churchwide ELCA has very little influence on the direction of our seminaries.  I believe such an impression would be mistaken.  But I think that's a matter of very intentional collaboration and bringing seminary leaders together.

At the same time, I don't think anyone at Churchwide has the nerve to say, "We're only supporting 7 seminaries in the next budget."  What's going to happen is that a sem Board is going to finally conclude, "We can't do this any more."  That's what has driven Southern to merge with Lenoir-Rhyne and Pacific to move in that direction with Cal Lu.

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« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 07:57:02 PM by The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS »
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Charles_Austin

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Re: A Bold Proposal Regarding the ELCA Seminary System
« Reply #82 on: September 12, 2012, 07:32:23 PM »
Dana was a weak college 20 miles away from Midland Lutheran; a strong college.