Alexandria, VA –The board of trustees of Virginia Theological Seminary met on campus this week to discuss preliminary plans for rebuilding the Seminary’s chapel which was destroyed by fire three weeks ago.
During their three-day meeting, the board approved several resolutions that included the establishment of a New Chapel for a New Century Fund as the first step in a capital campaign and the creation of a New Chapel for a New Century Fund Building Committee that will be headed by the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of Virginia Seminary. The committee will include invited representatives from the VTS board of trustees, faculty, staff, alumni, students, and other friends as well as members of Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill which has shared worship space with VTS since the beginning of its congregational life.
“The board is assuming that there will be an insurance settlement,” said Markham, “but the board is also assuming that a 21st century chapel will need additional resources. Both the plans for building a new chapel and the necessary fundraising will run in parallel.”
Questions as to whether the 1881 chapel structure will remain standing, what VTS will do with the chapel debris, and where the new chapel might be built are still under consideration.
In January, the Seminary will launch a number of listening sessions for alumni and friends to share their ideas about the new chapel. An online survey addressing educational and development concerns will also be sent to alumni and friends.
Added Markham, “We now enter a journey of discernment, listening, thinking and praying about the way forward... this is the moment when we are all being invited to step up.”
Founded in 1823, Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest of the 11 accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church. The school prepares men and women for service in the Church worldwide, both as ordained and lay ministers, and offers a number of professional degree programs and diplomas. Currently, the Seminary represents more than 42 different dioceses and 5 different countries, for service in the Church.