The Alban Institute announced that the “economic challenges and societal changes that have impacted all religious institutions” will force it to close its doors on 19 March 2014.
March 19, 2014
I am writing to you on behalf of the Board of Directors with some important news about The Alban Institute.
The Board and management at The Alban Institute have been engaged in a strategic planning process over the past year for the purpose of discerning the future of the organization. Founded in 1974, The Alban Institute began as an amazing experiment with a singular commitment to congregations and a courageous willingness to work on issues – like conflict, transition, confusion and mission in congregational and ministerial life. In order to help congregations, Alban pioneered new research, a new way to publish, a new kind of educational event, and introduced consultants to provide expertise to congregations. For the past 40 years, this experiment has flourished in a way that congregations, pastors, and individuals have come to value.
Much has changed over the 40 years that Alban has been in existence, publishing has gone through an extraordinary evolution from big publishing houses to Amazon to e-books and now digital platforms for self-publishing. As a sign of the success of its mission of providing resources to build up congregations, the kind of consulting and education practice that marked Alban as an innovator at its start has been replicated around the country.
The Center for Congregations in Indianapolis, one of the most significant accomplishments of The Alban Institute, has matured to a successful independent venture. In light of all that Alban originally set out to do, the Institute has achieved its mission of highlighting the critical importance of congregations in the ever changing religious landscape and modeling means by which the needs of congregations can be addressed.
The Alban Institute also has not been immune from the economic challenges and societal changes that have impacted all religious institutions. In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that Alban needed to find a new and more efficient way of continuing its mission of service to congregations. We believe that the transitions that we are announcing will allow that mission to continue, albeit in a different form.
Here are the changes taking place:
As of March 31st, Alban will no longer be providing consulting and educational services. However, the work of Alban’s world-class consultants will continue. Some of our consultants will be continuing on an individual basis and some will be working together under a new banner “Congregational Consulting.” More information on how to contact the consultants can be found here and at http://www.congregationalconsulting.org/ .
Education Events as of April 1st have been cancelled or transferred to another sponsoring entity. For further information on education events please go here.
The sale of the publishing operations and transfer of assets to Rowman & Littlefield, previously announced, is progressing smoothly. Alban Books are available directly from Rowman & Littlefield or from online sellers such as Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. Rowman & Littlefield has established a special website for Alban customers. Please visit: https://rowman.com/page/albanbooks . More information on the availability of Alban books is also available here.
The Board has thought hard about how it might deploy Alban’s remaining assets in a way that would allow them to continue to fulfill the goal of making possible important conversations about the needs and opportunities facing today’s congregations. We are very pleased to report that we are in conversations with Duke Divinity School regarding the establishment of an Alban Endowment Fund to support activities and provide resources that will benefit congregations. Through this arrangement, we hope to be able to continue to provide members with continued access to all of Alban’scongregational resources including the past editions of Alban Weekly and other research developed over the decades. We also are in discussions about continuing a weekly communication. More will be reported on this exciting development as details become finalized.
The Board wishes to express its most deep felt sense of gratitude to its donors, its members and subscribers, to Board members, staff and consultants, past and present, who have helped the The Alban Institute fulfill its mission “to build up congregations and their leaders to be agents of grace and transformation to shape and heal the world.”
We look forward to celebrating the legacy of this institution and communicating with you our final plans for safeguarding the resources of The Alban Institute for congregations in the future.
The Alban Institute
[For further details see the FAQ posted on the organization’s website.]