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Task force recommends closer seminary ties

Board of Directors accepts interim report and implements recommendations

Friday, June 26, 2009

WINNIPEG – LCC’s Board of Directors received an interim report from the Task Force on Cost-efficient Seminary Education and accepted three recommendations for immediate implementation. The board met June 25 in a teleconference.

As funding is a major issue for both Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, St. Catharines (CLTS), and Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton, (CLS) the first recommendation asks their Boards of Regents to establish finance committees. This will give the boards ongoing oversight of the institutions’ financial situations. Currently, CLTS is operating on-budget for the fiscal year, but must deal with accumulated debt, while CLS has suffered operating deficits in recent years and has depleted reserves to balance its budget.

The second recommendation involves the seminaries and Concordia University College of Alberta. Following LCC’s adoption of a new constitution in 2002, a Higher Education Advisory Council replaced the Board for Higher Education. With the recent changes in presidents of all three institutions, the council, comprising the three presidents, has not met recently. The task force asks the council to meet before the fall of 2009 and determine where the institutions can work together “to achieve great cost efficiencies, particularly in areas such as shared administrative services, academic support, development or other services.”

With distance education common in most post-secondary institutions, the task force’s third recommendation is that the seminaries provide at least one course by this method by the end of the 2009-10 academic year. Plans are already in place to share an Old Testament course in the fall taught from CLS and a church history course from CLTS.

Task force chairman, Rev. Nolan Astley reported receiving a good number of submissions from the church-at-large. He reminded the board that the task force is proceeding “without foregone conclusions. In the meantime, we believe our three interim recommendations will assist both institutions immediately.”

The task force will meet again in September and is scheduled to deliver its final report to the Board of Directors in 2010 in time for the 2011 synodical convention.

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