On Friday, April 1, Bishop Lawrence Provenzano of the Episcopal Diocese of Island announced the election of the Very Rev. Dr. Michael Sniffen as Dean of the Mercer School of Theology. Bishop Provenzano made the announcement to the diocese in the following letter:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At the March 29th meeting of the Trustees of the Mercer School, I nominated the Very Rev. Dr. Michael Sniffen, Dean of our Cathedral, to serve concurrently as Dean of the Mercer School of Theology. His election was unanimous.
At this time, many denominational seminaries across North America are experiencing record low enrollments, financial troubles, mergers, and closures. Here in the Diocese of Long Island, we are gifted with an academically strong and financially stable School for Ministry alongside a renewed and thriving cathedral ministry. We are experiencing an increase in discerned vocations for ordained ministry and a revival of Christian spiritual practice connected with living just and contemplative lives in community.
Our institutions at the Diocesan Center in Garden City are uniquely positioned to offer a holistic education and formation program capable of preparing the next generation of clergy and lay ministers to serve in challenging circumstances. Daily prayer, strong academic teaching, imaginative spiritual formation, and direct service to the community already live together here. We intend to further integrate these gifts in response to the formation and training needs of the church today and tomorrow.
The Cathedral of the Incarnation, the Mercer School of Theology, and the Center for Spiritual Imagination will now collaborate more deeply in the preparation of faithful, brave, and compassionate leaders for effective service in the church and the world.
In his new role, Dean Sniffen will oversee the development and coordination of this holistic ministry on my behalf. The Mercer School of Theology will share further updates and announcements with the diocese and the wider church as opportunities for participation become available.
Yours in Christ,
The Right Reverend Lawrence C. Provenzano
Bishop of Long Island
Dean Sniffen Bio:
The Very Rev. Dr. Michael Sniffen has been Dean of the Cathedral of the Incarnation since 2015. He previously served congregations in New Jersey, Locust Valley, and Brooklyn. He holds a B.A., Magna Cum Laude, from West Virginia Wesleyan College as well as M.Div., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees from Drew University.
Dean Sniffen is a founding member of the Racial Justice Advisory Council of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. He has been honored with a Luce Fellowship at the Center for Christianity in Global Contexts and was commissioned in 2021 as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy Chaplain Corps. He is a co-founder of the Center for Spiritual Imagination.
The Dean has won awards in pulpit oratory and manner, pastoral leadership, and innovative ministry. He was a Steward of the 2008 Lambeth Palace Conference of Bishops in Canterbury and London.
Dean Sniffen has taught Liturgical Studies on the faculty of The Mercer School of Theology since 2012. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Worship and Preaching at Drew Theological School, where he is currently teaching an advanced preaching seminar entitled, “Preaching in a Divisive Age.”
He and his wife Joanna live on the Cathedral Close with their two whippets, Huck and Burleigh.
Learn more about the Mercer School of Theology: www.mercerschool.org
Learn more about the Cathedral of the Incarnation: www.incarnationgc.org
Learn more about the Center for Spiritual Imagination: www.spiritualimagination.org
Director of Communication
Episcopal Diocese of Long Island