Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

NYT: (Episcopal) General Seminary--8 Jobless Profs for 86 Students in Cash-Strapped School

Otterman, Sharon.  "Seeking Dean's Firing, Seminary Professors End Up Jobless."  New York Times.  1 Oct 2014.  Accessed 2 Oct 2014.

The General Theological Seminary in Manhattan, the nation’s oldest Episcopal seminary, seemed to be regaining its footing after almost having to seek bankruptcy protection in 2010. It sold off some valuable real estate — its leafy campus in Chelsea is just steps from the High Line — and hired a new dean and president, the Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, who promised to make the struggling institution a “joyful, thankful and useful” place.

A year after his arrival, however, the seminary has fallen into turmoil. Eight of its 10 full-time faculty members walked off the job on Friday to protest what they described in letters to the school’s board of trustees as Mr. Dunkle’s overly controlling management style, his habit of making vulgar and offensive remarks, and his frequent threats to demote or fire those who disagreed with him.

The work stoppage, faculty members said, was intended to force a dialogue with the board and, ideally, to lead to the firing of Mr. Dunkle. Instead, the tactic backfired. On Monday, the board dismissed the eight faculty members, leaving the seminary’s roughly 140 students, a month into their term, without professors to teach them.

“It’s a really difficult situation; it’s chaotic,” said Alexander Barton, 26, who entered the seminary this fall. “And as a student, it’s hard to see what is true and what is not.”

A note on Tuesday from Mr. Dunkle to the students, reprinted on Episcopal Café, a blog, explained that about half of the classes were in session as the school scrambled to find qualified personnel for the other classes. Students have taken to social media to express their dismay, often siding with the faculty. Dozens of faculty and clergy members from other seminaries have signed a petition asking that the professors be reinstated.

How an internal management dispute behind seminary walls turned into a mass dismissal seems to be a tale of hardball negotiating tactics gone awry, and mistrust between the faculty, the dean and the board of trustees. The situation is being followed widely in the Episcopal world, which has recently seen at least one other seminary, the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., mired in a similar controversy.

In Manhattan, the seminary faculty members are taking legal action to keep their jobs, arguing that it is illegal to fire striking workers who have made legitimate complaints. They also face potential eviction, because most of them live on the seminary’s grounds. Mr. Dunkle declined to comment.

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