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A New Adventure: Bexley Seabury Board Begins Work

March 28, 2013--Nearly five years of work came to fruition quietly in late February when the legal federation between Bexley Hall and Seabury Western Theological Seminary became final. The new entity, which will be inaugurated on April 27 in Indianapolis, is formally called the Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Seminary Federation, Inc. For now it will be known simply as Bexley Seabury.

Beginning on May 15, the federation will have a single board of trustees that will include continuing members from each seminary’s board and ten new members. “Thankfully, many of the leaders who oversaw the birth of the federation have agreed to stay on, while our new members complement their skills and experience with fresh perspectives and ideas,” said Roger Ferlo, Bexley Seabury president. “I’m grateful to Alan Gates and Wendy Lane who chaired the nominating committee, the committee’s members, and the ten people who agreed to join us at this pivotal time. Bexley Seabury has just the board it needs to lead us into the future.”


Cathy Bagot, a Bexley trustee from Columbus, served for three years on the task force that developed the federation between the two seminaries and will continue serving on the board. “It has been exciting and humbling to see how the Spirit has moved as the boards explored the future,” she said. “I believe we will look back on the decision to invite Roger Ferlo to join us in exploring our opportunities and representing Bexley Seabury in gatherings throughout the Church as a seminal decision. I believe that our commitment to developing and providing theological education opportunities for God’s faithful people is going to have a significant impact in the church.”

To make that impact, Bexley Seabury will expand its ecumenical partnerships, like the ones it already enjoys with Trinity Lutheran Seminary and the schools of the Chicago Theological Union. Few leaders in the church have Bishop Chris Epting’s breadth of ecumenical experience, so the search committee was delighted when he agreed to join the Bexley Seabury board. Epting, a Seabury alum who was bishop of Iowa from 1988-2001 and is currently assisting bishop in the Diocese of Chicago, was the Episcopal Church’s deputy for ecumenical and interreligious relations from 2001-2009.

“I’m looking forward to serving on the Bexley Seabury board for a couple of reasons,” said Epting recently. “I'm a Seabury graduate and once served briefly on the Seabury board while serving as bishop of Iowa. But, more importantly, I have believed for years that too many of our seminaries are training people for a church that doesn't exist anymore. Bexley Seabury has an important opportunity to take risks and try to do something different.”


Another new trustee, the Rev. Gary Manning, is rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and part of the team at Living Compass, a Milwaukee-based wellness program rooted in the Episcopal Church. He will bring to the new board both perspective from the Diocese of Milwaukee and skill in coaching clergy and laypeople to seek wholeness in their intellectual, spiritual and physical lives. “As people of faith, we constantly proclaim that in God, ‘things which had grown old are being made new’,” he says. “The new Bexley Seabury board of trustees will have the opportunity to live toward this truth in real time. Instead of clinging relentlessly to the old ways, the leadership of these two institutions has signed on to a new adventure in theological education. I am energized about being with a group of people who are ready to journey together with God, even when they're not sure just yet about the final destination.”

The destination isn’t known, but in a sermon he preached to the convention of the Diocese of Indianapolis last fall, Ferlo set the new board on its course. “Maybe it's time for us to lose ourselves in order to find ourselves, to accept the truth that the household we struggle so hard to maintain—embodied in our church buildings, our organizational structures, and in some ways in our exalted sense of ourselves as Episcopalians—is not really identical with the household Jesus had in mind,” he said. “We have not been called to permanence, but to mission.”

Media Contact

Rebecca Wilson
Canticle Communications


Bexley Seabury In the News

In Trust: Coming to the Table

The New Year 2013 magazine of In Trust, an organization committed to strengthening boards and governance in North American theological schools, profiles the Seabury and Bexley federation. The story is titled "Coming to the Table: Building on a shared missionary heritage, two Episcopal seminaries carefully chart a way forward."

Read the article.

Dean Ferguson on Fasting in Christianity and Judaism

Tom Ferguson was recently featured on All Sides with Ann Fisher, a local NPR show in Columbus. Listen to a 13-minute segment to hear him talk about fasting in Christianity and Judaism.