I am pleased to report that at its meeting on November 16th the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the recommendations of the Third Century Committee to establish a “Center for 21st Century Ministry” to continue the mission of BTS after the seminary awards its last graduate degrees in June 2013. And I am delighted to announce that the Board has unanimously agreed to extend an offer to Robert Grove-Markwood to become the first Executive Director of the new Center as we move in June 2013 from seminary to the “new thing” God is calling us to do, and that Bob has enthusiastically accepted our offer.
The decision to engage Bob as Executive Director was initiated by the Board, as it became apparent to us that the prospects for the Center would be enhanced by a transitional Executive Director with Bob’s unique background and experience. We recognize that it may take some time for the Center to find its niche, and we believe that Bob’s continued leadership will facilitate a smooth transition and help focus the Center’s mission. As President, Bob has already been tasked by the Board with beginning the implementation of the Third Century Committee's recommendations. We expect that Bob will remain in his new role at least until June 2014, and longer if the Board desires.
||"I am honored to be asked to serve in this role during this remarkable time in our history," Bob said. "It will be exciting to work with others to implement the creative ideas of our Third Century Committee. Our stated purpose will be 'to equip and support clergy and laity for theologically grounded and effective 21st Century ministry.' At the same time, an essential part of my job will be to prepare the way for my successor."
Among other things, the Center will provide a forum for exploring contemporary Christianity in a pluralistic world; offer leading edge educational experiences, activities, and resources; and develop and support on-line and face-to-face peer learning communities. Programming will include large group offerings such as our current annual Convocation; small seminars and workshops; and relevant web-based resources. The Center will also collaborate with strategic partners to create and deliver innovative programs and resources.
The planning process continues, and we will provide more details at Convocation in Bangor on January 14-16, 2013.
On a personal note, I wish to thank Bob and his wife Susan for their willingness to once again respond to our call to serve. Bob’s closet is not large enough to store all the hats he has worn at BTS over the years, and we take great comfort in knowing that his steady hand will remain at the helm as together we enter this new phase.
I also wish to express special appreciation to Gary DeLong, Chair of the Third Century Committee and to the other members of that Committee and indeed everyone who has been involved in the research and planning process to date. The plan is ambitious, innovative and the result of an exhaustive and thoughtful process which began in April of this year. It provides us with direction to move forward, and flexibility to evolve and change. We would not have arrived at this transformative juncture without the support of the entire BTS community, and we will appreciate your continuing support as we embark on this new and exciting venture.
Chair of the Board