Sullivan shares with Executive Council seminary's reaction to report on potential church center move to GTS

December 6, 2002

The Rev. Rosemari Sullivan, executive officer of the General Convention Office, today shared with members of the church's Executive Council a General Theological Seminary (GTS) news release. The release was in reaction to a subcommittee report to the council that raised questions about a potential move of the Church Center to the seminary campus.

Sullivan said in a brief covering memo, 'While you no doubt realize, as we do, that the subcommittee's report was part of an ongoing process and not a decision, the General Seminary has apparently chosen to view this report from a different perspective.'

The text of the December 5 seminary news release:

GTS Responds to Decision on 815 Relocation

New York City - Responding to the Presiding Bishop's endorsement of an advisory committee's decision to terminate the proposed plan to move the Episcopal Church Center to the campus of The General Theological Seminary (GTS), the Very Rev. Ward B. Ewing, Dean and President, expressed disappointment but underscored his confidence in alternative plans for the redevelopment of the Seminary's historic campus in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. Details of the decision may be found the Episcopal Church's web site

'We at the Seminary are understandably disappointed by this turn of events,' said the Dean at a special meeting of the GTS faculty and administration held at 2 pm today. 'It was an exciting vision held by many throughout our Church. But in the end, no partnership can be truly effective without the shared enthusiasm and commitment of both parties.'

The Dean also cited the considerable amount of time, talent, and money that had been expended on the project to date but said that many of the studies would be invaluable in the ongoing discussions with other development partners. 'We are looking toward the future. Besides the great resource of the Chelsea Square property, GTS is blessed with a generous endowment; enrollment is the highest it has been in fifteen years; we have an outstanding faculty and staff; and innovative outreach and continuing education programs are underway - all of these are evidence of the Seminary's enduring commitment to serving the Church in a changing world.'

From Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, where he serves as dean, the Very Rev. Robert Giannini, chairman of General's Board of Trustees expressed surprise at the recent developments. 'My understanding was that Executive Council had approved moving forward and that Bishop Griswold had expressed his endorsement of their action. Though regrettable, I'm in agreement that such a move needs to have the complete support of all parties involved.'

Asked what he would say to the Seminary's student body gathering for a special meeting this evening at 7 pm, the Dean Ewing commented, 'I will express some sadness, of course, but also my very real and renewed confidence that, with their help, the help of the our alumni/ae, our trustees, our many benefactors and, certainly, the support of the national Church by whom we were founded, GTS will pursue the great calling it has followed for the last 186 years in providing the finest in theological training and formation for Church's future leaders.'