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Trinity Church Wall Street acquires California-based Church Divinity School of the Pacific

Posted on: March 8, 2019 4:06 PM
Church Divinity School of the Pacific’s Berkeley, California, campus is a mix of buildings from two centuries.
Photo Credit: CDSP

[Episcopal News Service, by Mary Frances Schjonberg] Church Divinity School of the Pacific, or CDSP, and Trinity Church Wall Street announced this week (Monday) that the New York parish has acquired the Berkeley, California-based seminary. CDSP president and dean, W Mark Richardson, told the Episcopal News Service in an interview that the deal will put the school on a solid financial footing and position it for growth. CDSP and its assets now belong to Trinity, he said, and the value of those assets “will be a fund, among other resources they have, that supports the program at the school and operation.”

“It’ll be starting point of the kinds of funds we need to, say, augment faculty or to provide scholarship funding for students”, he said. “This becomes part of their assets that are poured back into the mission of the school.”

Trinity sees CDSP as part of its strategy “to present and offer the curriculum that will bring new leaders into the world that can gather communities and resource them in a way that we have not been able to do currently”, Trinity’s rector, William Lupfer, told ENS in an interview.

Ultimately, Trinity and CDSP hope to add more faculty and an expanded curriculum that will train clergy and laity for a changing church, especially in the areas of leadership development, formation and community organising. Making theological education more affordable is also a goal, church and seminary officials say. Both organisations hope to expand their current relationships across the Anglican Communion.

“It’s going to strengthen and enhance our programming,” Ruth Meyers, the school’s academic dean, told ENS. “Trinity has this history of not only doing work in leadership development but [building] relations around the Anglican Communion, and I think that’s really going to enhance the work we’re doing at CDSP.”

Trinity Wall Street includes the church in Lower Manhattan, nearby St Paul’s Chapel, and the Trinity Retreat Centre in West Cornwall, Connecticut, as well as partnerships that involve housing for the elderly, the homeless and people with disabilities, among others. The parish also has a $6 billion [USD, approximately £4.6 billion GBP] portfolio that includes major real estate holdings, primarily in New York where it is both a developer and a landlord.

The church’s vestry is now the seminary’s governing body. “But our vestry will not manage CDSP”, Lupfer said. “We will have staff members supporting the folks who are currently managing CDSP.”

The Association of Theological Schools, the accrediting agency for all Episcopal Church-tied seminaries, has agreed to continue to accredit CDSP under the new governance structure. That means CDSP can continue to grant degrees. “CDSP is not going away,” Meyers said.

  • Click here to read Mary Frances Schjonberg’s full report for the Episcopal News Service.