Economic Crisis Hits Seminaries

Christianity Today reports on how the current financial crisis is affecting seminaries in the United States. Salt Lake Theological Seminary in Utah officially closed in October, although faculty and staff are continuing to work on a volunteer basis to allow graduating seniors to complete their degree programs. Larger seminaries are also feeling the pinch, including my own alma mater, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

With the stock market dropping 50 percent by November from its October 2007 peak, schools that rely on endowment income remain the most vulnerable. Dennis Hollinger, president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, said the school lost $600,000 in endowment income in 2008. Some restricted endowment gifts have gone “under water,” meaning they are now worth less than the original gift, and the seminary cannot spend from the principal.

Hollinger said the Massachusetts school has cut close to $1 million from its budget of $20 million by canceling activities, realigning programs, and declining to replace departed staff. The school also closed its full-service bookstore, though a smaller shop will continue to sell textbooks.

Other schools discussed in the article include Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). Please continue to pray for families, churches, seminaries, students and businesses during this time of economic stress.

HT: Between Two Worlds

1 Comment

  1. Barrie says:

    Thanks for the topic, Ray. I have not really focused on the economic impact on seminaries with the current economic crisis. I have a better understanding because of the topic and will keep this situation in my prayers.

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