Monday, August 09, 2010

Former Bishop of Virginia named interim dean of General Theological Seminary in New York City

Last year Bishop Lee was Interim Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco for the Diocese of Los Angeles.  New he switches coasts.  From here:

New York City -- The Rev. Lang Lowrey, Interim President of the General Theological Seminary (GTS) announced today the appointment of the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, as Interim Dean of GTS, the Episcopal Church’s oldest theological seminary.  The former Bishop of Virginia and one of the Church’s longest-serving bishops, Bishop Lee currently serves San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral as Interim Dean.


After the Seminary’s 12th Dean and President, the Very Rev. Ward B. Ewing, announced in December of 2009 his intention to retire, Trustees of the Seminary formed a search committee under the leadership of trustee Dr. Michael Gilligan. Upon recommendation from the committee and in light of serious financial challenges faced by the school, Trustees decided in June 2010 to divide the post of Dean and President into separate positions. On June 9, 2010 the Rev. Lang Lowrey was selected as Interim President and charged with financial and administrative oversight of the school and was vested with all the constitutional powers previously lodged with the Dean and President. Meanwhile the search continued for a new Interim Dean to be responsible for day-to-day operations of the Seminary including oversight of its academic programs.

Bishop Peter Lee led the Diocese of Virginia for a quarter of a century, beginning his tenure as diocesan bishop in May of 1985. With 81,000 members and 181 congregations the diocese is the Episcopal Church’s largest in the continental US and also one of its oldest, having been founded in 1785. Retiring from the Diocese of Virginia in October of 2009 after 25 years as Bishop, he subsequently became Interim Dean at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, the Episcopal Church’s third largest cathedral.  “We are extremely fortunate to have Bishop Lee’s notable gifts and proven abilities. He has a unique ability to shepherd others during these challenging times of change,” said President Lowrey following the appointment. “Bishop Lee has an in-depth knowledge of the Episcopal Church, its ministry, and its current needs and trends in theological education, which he has gained over a lifetime of distinguished leadership.”

Raised in Florida, Peter Lee was awarded his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Washington and Lee University in 1960. He served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army and was decorated for his service in Seoul, Korea. He also had a brief career as a newspaper reporter and editor and studied law at Duke University before entering the Virginia Theological Seminary where he received his Master of Divinity cum laude in 1967. Ordained to the diaconate in 1967 and the priesthood in 1968, Bishop Lee served parishes in Florida and in Washington, D.C.  For the thirteen years prior to his consecration as a Bishop in 1984, he was Rector of the Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a ministry which served both the local community and the University of North Carolina.

Bishop Lee’s leadership abilities rose to national prominence when he was Bishop of Virginia. He is currently chair of the Board of Trustees of the Church Pension Fund and was co-chair of the Joint Nominating for the current Presiding Bishop.  He previously served as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief and was chairman of its grants committee. He also served as a member of the Cathedral Chapter of the Washington National Cathedral.  As diocesan bishop he served as chair of the governing body which owns Roslyn, the diocesan conference and retreat center, and as chair of the Trustees of the Funds of the Diocese of Virginia, an investment vehicle used by several diocesan institutions.  He has served on the Advisory Committee to the Anglican Observer at the United Nations and the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Bishop Lee has received numerous honors including the 1997 Jessie Ball duPont Fund Award for "courageous and bold commitment to community leadership and social ministry.ot; He is the recipient of three honorary doctorates, from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1984, from the University of the South in 1993, and from Washington and Lee University in 1998.

A central aspect of Bishop Lee’s lifelong ministry has been his service to a variety of educational institutions. He has served on the Board of Trustees of two Episcopal seminaries, as chairman of the Virginia Theological Seminary’s board of trustees and also as a member of the board of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. As Bishop of Virginia he also presided at the annual meetings of the Church Schools of the Diocese and served as Rector of the Board of the Episcopal High School, a nationally-known institution set on 130 acres in Alexandria with a faculty of 83 and students from 30 states and 20 countries. Bishop Lee and his wife, Kristy, who have been married for 45 years, have two grown children and five grandchildren.

In recent meetings with GTS faculty members and staff, Bishop Lee spoke enthusiastically of the chance to work collaboratively with President Lowrey and the Seminary’s leadership to realize fully the many opportunities currently before General. He emphasized his commitment to the Seminary’s strong sense of community and to the centrality of daily worship, both longstanding hallmarks of life at General, and also to utilizing more fully the seminary’s urban location in training the church’s future leaders. “I believe the Episcopal Church needs to have a seminary in this most international of cities,” he told staff members. “General has always been a grand flagship in theological education and my plan is to do everything possible to see that this important ministry to the Church continues and flourishes.” Bishop Lee will end his Interim Dean responsibilities at Grace Cathedral on September 26, 2010 and will join General immediately thereafter. He will also be on the campus during Orientation Week to meet and greet students.

Read it all here.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

why bother training anyone TEC? In 20 years, there will be hardly any people coming to hear about "ubuntu", or whatever 'new thing' is new then, on a Sunday....the American people have voted...with their feet.....wake up and smell the fair-trade coffee, TEC

ettu said...

@Anonymous - nothing personal or mean spirited but just an observation on my part regarding what seems to me to be a harsh comment. From my perspective TEC is trying it's best - given the insight it has - to feed the hungry and educate society regarding the Word of the Lord both through preaching and through action. I observe one Episcopal Chuirch that is filled with young kids and even manages to keep teenagers around a long time. They usually come back to Church when they are home from school or the military- the humor and preaching from the pulpit is the major reason (a female rector ,by the way). The Church also has a very active food program and weekly serves people in the Church and provides "to go" meals. They just received a matching grant and already have made the match even before the campaign officially opens. When I see such works of the Spirit I see reason to celebrate TEC rather than to write it's (premature) obituary. Praise the Lord.

Anonymous said...

ettu - you describe social work which may be good and worthwhile in itself....but is that the gospel? It may be the result of the gospel being preached but if it is not preached, it is just social work...

Tt is a fact that fewer than 1 in 400 Americans turn up to TEC on a Sunday....in a country with relatively high rates of churchgoing......TEC figs, not mine.

Look at TEC figs and you will see it is a mere fact that in a couple of decades, TEC will have even lower attendance as an aging group dies off and is not replaced by the numbers coming up the ranks.....TEC figs, not mine.

Perhaps because it is focussed on social work and rights-based campaigning, few Americans show interest week by week in TEC.....don't blame the Africans for that, do you?! But millions more Americans are interested in the gospel and go elsewhere....wonder why? As in Mark 2....social work (the healing now) is not the highest priority set.....and not by me! That does not mean we do nothing when we see suffering which we can alleviate ....but it speaks to our priorities.....and may explain why so few Americans come along for social work + funny clothes and rituals + incorrect uses of zulu words like 'ubuntu' ....... Americans have voted with their feet.....TEC figs show that.

Lecture the Africans about how intelligent and sophisticated TEC revisionists are but the fact is hardly anyone in America comes along....TEC figs show that...it is just a matter of time before it is gone.....no doubt we will see some M&A with the lutherans to try and delay that slow demise reaching its inevitable conclusion.

ettu said...

@ Anonymous - I do not know how you failed to see my mention of preaching the gospel - I go to this Church every week and can assure you it is far, far more than "social work" ( which, by the by, should not be dismissed out of hand- it is a ministry and does not detract from the Gospel statement) - anyway I may be wrong but I wonder how many Episcopal Church services you have been to recently- certainly many should have spread the Word of the Lord as well as my Church does - pax

Andy said...

May +Peter be sensitive and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit in this new endeavour.

Dale Matson said...

It doesn't seem like he was interim Dean of Grace that long.

Anonymous said...

ettu....from my 1st post, I am talking about the big pic of TEC .... using TEC nos.....just 0.26% of the US pop in TEC on a Sunday.....and falling....slowly going to extinction...TEC figs, not mine

ettu said...

Anonymous - in that case, I am glad to be able to put a local face on the big picture you are apparently more familiar with - I assure you the preaching and the ritual are, in my experience, wonderful - it is amazing what a big difference such a numerically small group has in society's awareness of religion - for that, I rejoice

Anonymous said...

ettu - may be worth looking at the TEC big pic more......why do you think TEC is in terminal decline (based on its own figures)?

....not that it matters ultimately......Americans have voted with their feet....including many American Anglicans.

ettu said...

Anonymous - We are free to focus on any aspect of the faith community that engages us - we are both free to be myopic if we so choose and are so led by the Spirit - I am fed by my choice and pray you are by yours - I feel love toward you and others through my choice and hope the same is true for you - I was concerned by your very first comment for I felt it incorporated hostility and aversion from the group that I cherish - regards and best wishes on our mutual journey through life, guided by the Lord's example of love

BabyBlue said...

Myopic: The terms myopia and myopic (or the common terms short sightedness or short sighted) have been used metaphorically to refer to cognitive thinking and decision making that is narrow sighted or lacking in concern for wider interests or longer-term consequences. It is often used to describe a decision that may be beneficial in the present."


We are not free to lack concern for the long-term consequences of our actions and placing the blame on the Spirit is no excuse for our irresponsibility or lack of concern for those outside our wider circle.

The Holy Spirit is not irresponsible or seeks to lead anyone to avoid or show lack of concern for the long-term consequences of our actions. Quite the contrary - the Holy Spirit leads us to repentance for such actions and thinking. We are responsible and Holy Spirit does not lead anyone to be irresponsible - in fact to claim such a thing and justify it that the Spirit is doing a new thing is a sign that one has fallen into a a cult.

The self-centered myopic actions of leaders - uproariously done in the name of "the Spirit" has lead to grievous consequences. The lack of true concern for those consequences is what is tearing the church apart.

bb

Anonymous said...

A fine portrait of Bishop Lee.

Scout

Daniel Weir said...

The numbers game? Is how big a congregation is an indicator of its health or of its worth? Or a denomination's?

There are few US denominations that have been around for more than fifty years that have the same percentage of the population as members that they had in 1950. We are living in a time when church membership is no longer as important as it was a generation ago and when the religious landscape is far more varied.

Obersver said...

not a game about numbers or anything else, Mr Weir....but the failure of revisionist ideas to attract many Americans week by week..... the kingdom of God was likened to a mustard seed....growth was the prediction..... TEC can pretend it does not care about its parlous demographics but it must be a great disappointment to revisionists that so few (especially amongst the young) Americans attend....... anyway, luckily the money of dead people who never imagined revisionist ideas or 'ubuntu' pays for the show to keep on the road...for a while longer. Wonder if ASA goes to less than 0.1% of the US population or the inherited money runs out first? Whatever.....pls do not pretend the tragic TEC ASA is in any way good or acceptable or inevitable.....but it is the fruit of revisionist ideas....people vote with their feet.

Daniel Weir said...

Popularity does not equal value. Americans are, IMV, much too taken with success.

Rejecting "revisionist" views because one judges them to be wrong needs no support from numbers. Acceptance of those ideas should not waver simply because they are unpopular.

It's not about the numbers, but about one's serious and prayerful discernment of where God is leading us.

Observer said...

Yes, Mr Weir....'serious and prayerful discernment"...... TEC's "discernment" is at odds with 2000 years of teaching of the church catholic and even most of the Anglican Communion today..... plus hardly any modern/postmodern Americans do not come along to hear about 'ubuntu' and latest march to go on..... so, TEC's discernment cannot convince the church nor the world...... perhaps it is wrong? Certainly, revisionist TEC is not being blessed - no growth from a mustard seed to a great tree....more like an old tree slowly dying.

I agree with you re "prayerful discernment" being essential - I pray that is done in TEC.... but I suspect its leaders do not want to see or accept how out of step TEC is with most of the rest of Anglicanism as it pursues its pet agendas,how out of step with most Christianity in the world today and in the last 2 millennia....and how unattractive it is to those Americans who do not go to church at all... where are they when TEC has such an intelligent and sophisticated and Spirit-empowered, prophetic message to give? You think TEC is some kind of faithful "remnant"?

You are right, small and declining nos do not prove anything...but the key thing about being a "remnant" in the bible is that the remnant goes against the zeitgeist and society because it sticks to the word of God..... revisionist TEC ain't no remnant....

Daniel Weir said...

The US zeitgeist might well be seen in the votes for Prop 8 in California,

Observer said...

it "might well"....but I do not believe you think it is. Mr Weir...

Daniel Weir said...

Actually, Observer, I believe that the vote to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples did represent what has been the dominant opinion in the US for quite some time. That has been changing, partly because same-sex couple have become party of more people's circles of acquaintance and have been seen to be not at all a threat. Some of them are raising children as well as the rest of us. Certainly many young adults have grown up with friends who are gay and see no reason why they should not be able to marry. Things are changing, but there is still a fair amount of often angry and even hateful opposition to gay marriage.

As I posted earlier, popularity is not the issue, or even short-term growth. Jesus wasn't popular. Hitler was. Neither popularity nor a lack of it matters. What matters is, IMV, steadfast commitment to Christ and a willingness to follow the path that we believe Christ has laid out for us. Lutherans speak of "bound conscience," of being bound, as Luther was, to the Gospel and to the interpretation of the Gospel at which we have arrived through serious and prayerful study. This does not mean that one's interpretation may not change, in fact I think it requires that we always be listening to those whose conscience's are bound to another interpretation, and that we honor those with whom we disagree. Far too often we have failed to show respect to those sisters and brothers with whom we disagree.

Observer said...

yes, yes, we agree on some principles, Mr Weir.....but the fact still remains that TEC revisionists cannot even persuade the rest of the AC and cannot attract very many Americans on a Sunday......maybe you would like to think TEC is some kind of faithful remnant - but it would have to be faithful to God's word for that.....at least arch revisionists are clear that they reject what they do not accept and only accept in the bible what fits with their thinking.....not the way of a faithful remnant.

9.West said...

I realize from the East Coast that everything on the other side of the Hudson looks like it's next door
http://bigthink.com/ideas/21121

However, the California geography here is very mssed up. The infamous Grace Cathedral — to the left of John Shelby Spong — is the seat of the Diocese of California, headquartered in (tada!) San Francisco. The Diocese of LA has two(?) cathedrals in Los Angeles. http://ministries.ladiocese.org/cathedral.html