Today, The Episcopal Church’s oldest and largest seminaries have begun the process of exploring partnership options. “Purposefully walking together in as many ways as possible is our goal going forward” said the chairs of both boards, Dr. David Charlton (Virginia) and the Rt. Rev. Robert Wright (General). “We both put service to the church at the top of both of our missions.”
The Most Rev. Michael Curry, the 27th Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, commented: “I am encouraged to hear that these two seminaries are exploring creative possibilities for how to more faithfully, effectively and strategically form leaders for the movement of Jesus Christ, through the Church, for the sake of the 21st century world. This is the crucial question. All other issues of practicalities and logistics must fall under the primary question of what serves our participation in the mission of God as followers of Jesus of Nazareth and his way of love and life.”
General Seminary (GTS) was founded in 1817 as a resource for training clergy for the new Episcopal Church. It has lived into that service, and in the past decade has intentionally expanded to include degrees, certificates, and other educational offerings for lay church leaders. In its history, it has embraced the diversity of The Episcopal Church.
Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) was founded in 1823 and has become The Episcopal Church’s largest seminary. VTS has a passion for raising up missionaries who have lead to deep connections in the Anglican Communion. Virginia Seminary has advocated a “generous orthodoxy” and continues to support congregations by raising up clergy and with a range of resources through webinars, continuing education, and websites.
These talks are building on the success of the TryTank Experimental Lab. Founded in 2019, the TryTank project was developed and shared between the two seminaries – both management and funding. “We want to see how this model can extend to other project possibilities,” explained the Very Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, dean and president of GTS.
It is anticipated this season of discernment will culminate in some decisions in November of 2021.