Theology school needs salvation: School implementing cost-cutting and fundraising measures to avoid bankruptcy

From The Province

The Vancouver School of Theology has declared itself in danger of bankruptcy.

The school’s board of governors voted to declare a state of “financial exigency” on Wednesday, as it requires “extraordinary action” to avoid insolvency.

“The declaration of financial exigency is a formal necessity that will allow the board of governors to take the difficult steps that will restore the financial health of the school so it can continue its task of educating leaders for the church and world,” the school said in a statement.

It reports that a series of financial hits – including the 2008-09 economic downturn that created losses in its endowment funds, which were invested in securities – as well as the loss of funding from the United Church in 2011 and a reduction of funding from the Anglican Church are factors that have put it in economic straits.

“All of a sudden the economy tanked and that severely damaged the endowment funds,” said the school’s acting principal and dean, Stephen Farris.

“We are in a difficult financial situation,” he added. “It is serious but not disastrous.”

He said the pronouncement of “financial exigency” would make possible the layoff of tenured professors, which may be required to balance the books.

The school is embarking on a series of cost-cutting measures, including staff cuts, restructuring, fundraising and new partnerships in order to turn its situation around.

Farris is planning a meeting with students to explain the situation on Monday.

“This is still a really good school,” he said.

“You chose this school for a reason and the reason is still there. We will make sure that good quality education carries on.”

School spokeswoman Shannon Lythgoe said enrolment is healthy, with approximately 140 full-and part-time students enrolled.

“This does not impact our students’ ability to complete their courses of study or our ability to intake students in the future,” she said.

Lythgoe stressed that student bursaries remain well-funded and the school expects that it can turn things around.

“The analogy is being on a canoe and looking toward a waterfall and having the opportunity to change course – that is what we are talking about,” she said.

The school was founded in 1927, and has grown to offer studies in the United, Anglican and Presbyterian churches. Students can pursue general theology courses and train for ordination at the institution, which offers diplomas and degrees ranging from 10 months to three years.

I wonder how Regent College, Vancouver is doing…

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4 Responses to Theology school needs salvation: School implementing cost-cutting and fundraising measures to avoid bankruptcy

  1. Frank Wirrell says:

    Considering the support and encouragement the Vancouver School of Theology has given to Michael Ingham and his cohorts, the proper name should be the Vancouver School of Apostasy. When you subvert the Scripture and teach and uphold doctrines that are totally contrary to God’s word you can hardly expect true believers to come to your aid.

  2. Gordon says:

    I hear you, and I was expecting a response like this, but theology is a very broad term which covers a lot more than orthodox Christianity. It can include the thought system of just about any religion.

    I agree, however, that VST might well not have these problems if it stuck to Biblical Christianity, hence the reference to Regent.

  3. Anson says:

    Regent is generous and sensitive enough to have reduced its tuition (up to 8.6% discount) for students, even in this poor economic condition.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s easy on the school’s finances. So those of you who feel called to give and support this evangelical school, please do:

  4. siena says:

    VST has some good Presbyterian professors and also trains Native ministers.

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