Bishop Neil Alexander Named Dean of The School of Theology at Sewanee

Posted by Kendall Harmon

John McCardell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South, announced today, June 26, the appointment of the Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Th.D., D.D, H’02, as Dean of The School of Theology. Alexander will assume the role of dean on Aug. 1, 2012. He succeeds the Very Rev. William S. Stafford, who retired on June 30, 2012, after serving in that position for seven and
one–half years.

“I am delighted to be able to continue my working relationship with Bishop Alexander in this new role,” said McCardell. “The years we have served together as chancellor and vice-chancellor have been enormously productive for the University, and his numerous strengths are a perfect match for The School of Theology, which is poised to grow and embrace future challenges.”

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

12 Comments
Posted June 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

I am sure he will be as big a hit touring around rural East Tennessee with his Gay Men’s choir as he was in Atlanta.

June 27, 2:11 pm | [comment link]
2. Ralph wrote:

Eeeeeeuuuuuuuuuw. As the rabid revisionist Bishop of Atlanta he was directly responsible for any number of ACNA church plants.

Middle Tennessee, by the way.

A blow to the conservative student (and faculty) coalition at the University of the South SOT.

SSBs at the University chapels? Coming your way.

June 27, 3:00 pm | [comment link]
3. Terry Tee wrote:

What in tarnation does the H’02 refer to?  Sounds like a formula for water.

June 27, 3:19 pm | [comment link]
4. Alli B wrote:

As charitably as I can say it, they could have done better.  My parish had some very unfortunate dealings with this bishop, and I had a very disappointing and surprisingly unpleasant e-mail from him in response to a complaint I had regarding his public character assassination of a prominent orthodox priest who had left TEC.

June 27, 3:20 pm | [comment link]
5. recchip wrote:

Terry Tee,

The H’O2 means that Bishop Alexander received an Honorary Degree (the Doctor of Divinity) in 2002.  At Sewanee, degrees are noted by division and year.  For example, my Bachelor of Science was received in 1988 so I am C’88.  A person receiving their Mastor of Divinity in 1999 would be T’99.  Finally, since Sewanee used to have a Military (and later non-Military) Academy, those High School Graduates could be designated (if they graduated in say, 1967) as A’67.  (This is rarely seen except in listings of Sewanee College and Theology Grads.)

June 27, 4:41 pm | [comment link]
6. Townsend Waddill+ wrote:

Wow.  If there was any remaining doubt about orthodoxy (or lack of it) at Sewanee, this seals it.

June 27, 5:44 pm | [comment link]
7. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Hmmm…well, I guess Sewanee is technically Middle Tennessee, but its kind of on the cusp. It’s not quite on the Nashville Plateau, which is what us native East Tennesseans gauge as Middle Tennessee.

June 27, 7:10 pm | [comment link]
8. recchip wrote:

Archer,
East Tennessee “officially” ends with Marion County which is just to the east of Sewanee.  The “divide” between the Diocese of East Tennessee and Tennessee (which is really the diocese of Middle Tennessee since there is a diocese of West Tennessee) is the railroad tracks between Sewanee and Monteagle.  So, Sewanee IS on the cusp as you said. 

I do want to add that I am very much saddened by what the School of Theology (never a hotbed of real conservativism let me add) has become.  At least orthodoxy was “tolerated” and sometimes even promoted. I was very close to a former Dean of The School of Theology, John Booty, who presented me for confirmation in the fall of 1983 as well as Mrs, Booty (Kitty Lou).  I was also friends with several professors (Chris Bryan, Bob Hughes and Marion Hatchett, well his wife mostly.)

June 27, 10:59 pm | [comment link]
9. Milton wrote:

I suppose all the retired revisionist clergy who teach there and all the GLBT partnered teachers and students are dancing in the streets there.  The takeover is complete.

June 27, 11:07 pm | [comment link]
10. billqs wrote:

Putting aside the obvious theological bent of Bishop Alexander, shouldn’t Sewannee at least have pursued a candidate with an earned DD instead of just an honorary DD?  There are many parish level priests that have a higher level of theological education than he possesses.

June 28, 8:45 am | [comment link]
11. Calvin wrote:

billqs,
Just for clarity’s sake: Neil Alexander does have an earned doctorate - a Th.D. (doctor of theology, a degree commensurate with the Ph.D.) in liturgics from General Seminary.  He taught at General for years as professor of liturgics and then taught at Sewanee for years in a similar capacity.  In fact, he was a professor at Sewanee’s School of Theology when elected bishop of Atlanta.  So this is basically his return to teaching.  On paper (but surely not in reality) this is a very good choice.

Also - there are no more earned DDs.  All Doctor of Divinity degress (in the US at least, and for the most part in the UK and Canada) are honorary.  This was irritating when KJS was elected presiding bishop because some news sources had her with an “earned” DD, which of course was merely honorary (she does have an earned Ph.D., but as you likely know, in oceanography). 

One other thing - some seminaries have actually preferred to have a non-academic as a dean (the thinking being that the seminary needs a “real world” priest with parish experience).  This has been true of both orthodox and progressive seminaries.  General Seminary did this with Ward Ewing (no earned doctorate)  for most of the past decade.  Nashotah House is doing it right now with Bishop Edward Salmon.  While a fine bishop doing wonders at the House (and for whom I give great thanks), your comments actually would be more accurate for Bishop Salmon, who unlike Bishop Alexander does not have an earned doctorate.

June 28, 9:02 am | [comment link]
12. Sarah wrote:

No no no no no, billqs—don’t you know that the two bishops who fancy themselves “the intellects” are Neil Alexander and Ian Douglas?

; > )

June 28, 9:06 am | [comment link]
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