General Seminary to honor three church leaders, dedicate new library
[Episcopal News Service] The General Theological Seminarywill award honorary doctor of divinity degrees Oct. 13 to two Episcopal Church bishops and a scholar.
The degrees will be conferred during the school\'s fall convocation to the Rev. Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell professor of religion at Bard College; the Rt. Rev. Charles Edward Jenkins III, retired bishop of Louisiana; and current Diocese of Rochester Bishop Prince G. Singh.
Chilton, a 1974 GTS graduate, is also chaplain of Bard in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, rector of the Church of St John the Evangelist in Barrytown, New York, and executive director of the Institute of Advanced Theology. An expert on the New Testament and early Judaism, Chilton has contributed 50 books and more than 100 articles to those fields of study. His principal scholarship has been in the understanding of Jesus within Judaism and in the critical study of the Targumim, the Aramaic paraphrases of the Bible.
Chilton has earned degrees at Bard College and Cambridge University. Before joining the Bard faculty in 1987, he held positions at the University of Sheffield in England, at the University of Munster in Germany, and at Yale University.
Jenkins, a native of Louisiana, graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 1973. He received his Master of Divinity from Nashotah House in 1976 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1977. He was rector of St. Luke\'s Episcopal Church, Baton Rouge, when he was elected to become the 10th bishop of Louisiana in 1998. Jenkins was awarded honorary doctorates from Nashotah in 1992 and the University of the South in 1999.
Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the fall of 2005, Jenkins partnered with Episcopal Relief & Development to form the diocesan Office of Disaster Response and is involved in long-range community rebuilding plans. Jenkins retired in 2009.
Singh was elected the eighth bishop of Rochester in early 2008. Born in Chenaii, Tamil Nadu India, he graduated from Madras Christian College, Tambaram, and Union Biblical Seminary both in India. Ordained a priest in the Church of South India in 1990, he served congregations in rural South India. Singh holds post graduate degrees from Union Theological Seminary, Virginia Theological Seminary and Princeton Seminary. He earned his Ph.D. from Drew University in 2005 and served parishes in the Diocese of Newark before being elected bishop. While in the Diocese of Newark, Singh co-founded the Dalit Solidarity Forum. As bishop of Rochester, he serves on the board of trustees of both Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and Hobart and William Smith Colleges
The day after the school\'s convocation, the seminary will formally dedicate the school\'s new Christoph Keller, Jr. Library, which opened to the GTS community late in the summer. Retired Diocese of Virginia Bishop Peter James Lee, the seminary\'s interim dean, and Diocese of New York Bishop Mark S. Sisk, chair of the board of trustees, will preside at the service.
The library\'s new home is in a newly finished building on the eastern edge of the Chelsea campus in Manhattan. Designed by architectural firm Ennead Architects, the facade of the building matches the brickwork of the rest of the campus while adding subtle modern touches, according to a GTS press release. The interior, designed by architects Beyer Blinder Belle, is a 21st century resource center, the release said.
The library is named in honor of the Rt. Rev. Christoph Keller, Jr. (1915-1995), who was the 10th bishop of Arkansas from 1970 to 1981. A gift enabling the construction was made by Keller\'s widow, Caroline Keller Winter, and their son, the Rev. Canon Dr. Christoph Keller III and his family. Winter is a former GTS trustee, as was Keller, who was a seminary alum. The bishop\'s son received General\'s Doctor of Theology degree in 2009 and the bishop\'s grandfather, the Rev. George Alexander Keller, attended GTS and was ordained deacon in 1876.
The library of GTS was begun in 1820 with donations of important books by prominent Episcopalians. It is the oldest Episcopal library in America. Its collections feature rare books from the 15th century forward, manuscripts as old as the fourth century and books and archives that make it a resource for the study of Anglicanism. From 1885 to the late 1950s, the library was housed in Hobart Hall. When that building was replaced by Sherrill Hall in 1960, the library was called The St. Mark\'s Library. The new Keller Library marks a new initiative with technology integrated into the study of theology. There are group study rooms with screens to share networked computer information, more electronic texts and databases.