Progress report on TSM dean search

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By The Most Rev. Robert W. Duncan, Search Committee Chair and Dr. Sarah Lebhar Hall, Search Committee Vice-Chair

The deadline for applications for Dean President of Trinity School for Ministry passed during the last week of January. Along the way there were twenty-eight nominations, resulting in nine strong candidates agreeing to be considered.

The fifteen-member Search Committee began regular meetings in October. Members stretch across sixteen time zones (from Southeast Asia to the North American West Coast) and include trustees, faculty, academics, alumni, parochial and provincial leaders, and friends – both clergy and lay. (The names of all the members of the Search Committee, the 2021-2022 Seminary Profile, and the Position Description can all be found at www.tsm.edu/dean-president-search.) Early on, the Search Committee formed into five active sub-committees to share key aspects of the work: Interviewing; References and Social Media; Publications and Teaching; Communications and Publicity; and Hospitality. All have made huge contributions to the work. Nine initial interviews were completed during February and early March. To date, all of the work has been enabled by Zoom technology, a great gift to such a diverse and far-flung body of believers who are “all-in” for Trinity. A team of intercessors, daily chapel services and the whole Trinity family have undergirded the work with prayer.

In mid-March the entire Search Committee met for the difficult work of identifying five semi-finalists. The task for the phase now underway is gathering written responses to a set of Trinity-related questions, a “deeper dive” in the areas of social media, references, teaching, publications, and second interviews. This “round” of the work will, God-willing, enable the Search Committee to bring three finalists for personal encounters with the Faculty, then decision by the Board of Trustees, in the second week of May. It is the responsibility of full Board of Trustees at that time, with God’s help, to elect the eighth Dean President of Trinity School for Ministry. Then we will await the decision of the Dean President-Elect.

Confidentiality concerning names necessarily surrounds this process. Each candidate currently has an important ministry, and searches such as this one can be very destabilizing to those ministries. In the end, only one candidate can be chosen. So, it is crucial that we honor and aid the other candidates by providing consistent confidentiality until the on-campus stage of the search process.

We want you to know that the Search Committee remains exceedingly excited about the quality and standing of the candidates now under consideration. We continue to be very encouraged, and want all our constituencies to be encouraged, too.

We also want to ask you, now more than ever, to join us, day-in and day-out, in prayer for the few remaining weeks of the search process, and for an awesome and godly result of this work. We are asking that Wednesday, April 27th, be set aside as an intense Day of Prayer for that “good and godly leader for our School,” … that “wise and true shepherd of our faculty and community” for which we have been interceding all along. The Dean President Search Prayer is reprinted below. God has done great things through Trinity School for Ministry. We trust that great things are also ahead. Lift high the Cross.

DEAN PRESIDENT SEARCH PRAYER
O God, our heavenly Father, you manifested your love by sending your only-begotten Son into the world, that all might know the power of his cross and live through him: Pour out your Spirit on Trinity School for Ministry, that we may be extraordinary agents in his commission to preach and teach the Gospel to all people. Guide the Search Committee, the Board of Trustees and all who shall play any role in identifying our next Dean President. Grant, O Lord, a good and godly leader for our School, a wise and true shepherd of our faculty and community; that there may be an ever-increasing number of faithful laborers in, and generous givers for, your harvest. Defend us from all dangers and temptations, and hasten the time when the fullness of the Gentiles shall be gathered, and faithful Israel shall be saved. All of this we pray through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

Prayer is adapted from “For the Mission of the Church” (Number 17),
p.651, Book of Common Prayer (2019)