Dear United Lutheran Seminary Family and Supporters:
Yesterday, the United Lutheran Seminary (ULS) Board of Trustees underwent a series of listening sessions. It was an extremely enlightening and humbling experience. We deeply thank all those who took the time and effort, on extremely short notice, to share their thoughts, concerns, disappointments and suggestions during these often-emotional dialogues. We know that it took a significant leap of faith and great courage to do so and we feel a powerful obligation to use the information we received to move forward in a meaningful way.
First, the Board of Trustees deeply and sincerely apologizes for the lack of leadership it has displayed during these tumultuous times. With that acknowledgement, the Board is committed to making real and lasting changes as it leads ULS forward.
To that end, the following short-term actions and affirmations have taken place:
- The Rev. Dr. Elise Brown has stepped down as Board Chairperson effective immediately.
- The Board has committed to engaging in a professional training program that will include diversity and communication trainings.
- The administration is currently assessing how behavioral health services are being accessed so that we may increase their availability if needed. Currently there are two therapists available on each campus through Social Services. In addition, an expert in communal trauma and LGBTQIA+ issues has been identified and we hope to have her services available shortly. Details will be shared once they are in place.
- Along with all expressions of discrimination and ignorance, the Board publicly denounces and repudiates all manner of conversion or reparative therapy.
- The Board reaffirms its commitment to bettering all communication processes and intends to promptly communicate its decisions and their accompanying rationale to all of our constituencies.
- The Board reaffirms its clear understanding that its preeminent duty is to the United Lutheran Seminary and the perpetuation of its critical mission in training leaders for the church. It is not to any one individual or stakeholder group.
We recognize that there is much more to be done but we are hopeful that these first steps, in what will be a long process of healing, will begin to help to restore your faith in our intentions. We are committed to working as diligently and quickly as possible to discern a path forward and ask that you accept that we are doing so in good faith by acting solely in what we believe is in the long-term best interests of our Seminary.
During the next week the Board of Trustees will be working to develop a plan for our future. This plan will include assessing and making decisions regarding Seminary and Board leadership. We will do so prayerfully and ask for God’s guidance during this process. The Board of Trustees will meet on March 14 to finalize these decisions. We will publish an update of the results of this meeting by the close of business on March 15.
The Board is clear in its understanding that myriad changes need to be made to secure the future of the United Lutheran Seminary – our number one responsibility. These changes will take time and we ask for your understanding and patience as we navigate through these difficult times.
We thank you for your ongoing commitment and ask for your continued prayers for our church, the world, and the United Lutheran Seminary.
In the Unity of Christ, we are your
United Lutheran Seminary Board of Trustees