The Rev. Adam Hamilton, the well-known UM pastor and author, has resigned as board chair of the Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo. Saint Paul officials have announced plans to move the school from its campus to the nearby United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., where Mr. Hamilton is senior pastor.
“Adam Hamilton did decide to step down to avoid any conflicts of interest,” said Heather Chamberlin, director of communications for Saint Paul.
Mr. Hamilton’s decision was announced at a Saint Paul Board meeting Wednesday. He will stay on the board, and Twila Glenn moves from vice chair to chair, Ms. Chamberlin said.
Board members agreed unanimously Wednesday to the specifics of an agreement with Church of the Resurrection, pending approval from the seminary’s accrediting bodies.
School officials and board members have described the move from the Kansas City campus as a cost-cutting decision, necessitated by sluggish enrollment and ongoing financial challenges, including the upkeep of buildings.
But they’ve also said the move will position Saint Paul as an innovative seminary, offering students exposure to skilled staff at 16,000-member Church of the Resurrection, the largest church in the denomination.
Some critics of the move have emerged, raising questions about how it’s been handled and about whether Mr. Hamilton’s presence on the board constitutes a conflict of interest. A “Save Saint Paul School of Theology” Facebook page has become a forum for questions and comments.
The board discussed letters from students, alums and donors regarding the move, before taking the vote to approve the agreement.
Saint Paul plans to hold classes at Church of the Resurrection in the fall of 2013, and will have its library there as well. A committee has been formed to consider options for the current campus.
The seminary and church are to be in partnership, but will retain separate identities, seminary officials have said.
Ms. Glenn is director of consulting and learning at The Alban Institute, a Herndon, Va.-based center that supports congregations and other faith-based organizations.
She’s a graduate of Southern Methodist University, and holds a master of public administration degree from Drake University. She was director of connectional ministries for the UMC in Iowa, and is active at Foundry UMC in Washington, D.C.
She’s also a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America.