Prayers Requested for Virginia Theological Seminary
Alexandria, VA – At the direction of the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), the Very Rev. Ian Markham, dean and president, announced layoffs last week in an attempt to reduce salaries...by $1 million.
So reads the latest VTS press release. The news of faculty and staff being laid off came this past Thursday. It looks like six souls are laid off or otherwise let go, with nine others taking some form of early or good retirement.
Barney Hawkins, our new director of development, wrote to our alumni yesterday as follows: On Thursday, March 12—the day of the layoffs—Dean Markham spoke at a forum about the restructuring and listened as many people shared a wide range of emotions. There are those in the community who strongly disagree with the actions taken by the Dean at the direction of the Board of Trustees, and there has been no attempt to silence their voices. After the forum, the Dean walked around campus, visited people in their offices and listened as our community reacted to this difficult time with its unsettling consequences.
Complete information on who is affected in the restructuring is not yet available. Dean Markham is giving those people leaving the seminary time to tell those closest to them before their names are made public. What is public at this time is that Marge McNaughton, my friend, faculty colleague, and dean of community life will be leaving. Robin Brokmeyer, the director of our daughter's preschool, is also laid off. So too is Mark Rivenburg, director of information technology and Joe Pindar in mail services.
This dark time at the seminary came upon us very suddenly, and it is still hard for must of us to take in and comprehend. We imagine ourselves in the place of those losing their income, their vocation, their community; we contemplate their prayer to God: שׁתני בבור תחתיות במחשׁכים במצלות׃ "You have plunged me to the bottom of the grave, in the darkness, in the depths..." (Psalm 88:6).