Thoughts About the Interim Presidency

Phillips Theological Seminary is in a season of transition. Not so much in the understanding of our identity as a school offering theological education dedicated to learning the way of Jesus in order to cultivate vital congregations, communities, conversations, and the public good. Or in our core commitment to preparing Christian leadership for churches, non-profit faith-based organizations, or in other forms of ministry.

Nonetheless, things are changing around here. With the stepping down of the Rev. Dr. Gary Peluso-Verdend from the presidency, with three new faculty members arriving this fall, with a number of personnel changes in key offices, with 50+ new students arriving this fall in degree program classes, and 80+ registrations in the Ministry Training Program, how we look and feel as a community is very different than a year ago.

As interim president, it’s my job to lead this school through all this change. I hope to encourage the practice of the best of Phillips’ tradition: hospitality; devotion to our mission; excellence in teaching, learning, and research; exceptional support for students as they develop their skills in academic work while dealing with ministries, secular employment, families, etc.

At the same time, I hope we learn some new habits around including persons from diverse races, sexual orientations, and other differences in identity. I hope we discover new ways to incorporate the gifts of all who enter the Phillips community as students, faculty, board members, friends.

I hope we renew our concern for churches that are seeking to be faithful to Jesus in the communities they serve in ever new, ever inspiring ways.

In other words, we have much work to do this year as we live into the transitions that have come and are coming our way.

Because we have assembled a first-rate faculty and staff over the years, because we have so many friends and donors, because we have a student body that is filled with passionate, creative, interesting people, I am confident that we can do this work well.