VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/7/13)—The Rev. Dr. Nick Carter, President of Andover Newton Theological School since 2004, has announced his intention to retire from the leadership of the nation’s oldest graduate theological school in June of 2014.
“Dr. Carter has helped Andover Newton develop one of the finest emphases on interfaith studies and relationships during his tenure,” said Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA. “As a result they have served as a co-sponsor of the US Baptist-Muslim dialogue. His leadership at the seminary has been farsighted and cutting edge. We give thanks for his leadership at an ABC-related seminary that has trained outstanding leaders for the church.”
Carter’s plans were announced in a letter to Andover Newton’s board chair, the Rev. Judy Swahnberg. In his letter, Carter described his tenure as president as “the greatest privilege of my professional life.” While highlighting and sharing credit with many for numerous groundbreaking accomplishments and much progress during his term at the helm, Carter noted that he has discovered enormous “joy in being able to share in preparation of a new generation of faith-filled leaders for the Church and the world.”
In a communication to the Andover Newton community mailed this week, Swahnberg thanked Carter for his decade of service, calling it “a time of rich blessing to this institution.” She hailed his ability “to imagine new possibilities for the school” and noted that, because of Carter’s leadership and tireless work on behalf of Andover Newton, the “school is in a stronger place.”
“Andover Newton may be the oldest graduate school in North America,” Swahnberg wrote in her letter, “yet Nick’s creative leadership abilities have helped us reach a new perspective on our mission and we believe we now ready to undergo this change in the presidency.” She reported that the board’s executive committee has worked with Carter over recent months to plan a smooth transition and is confident a national search, to be launched officially in coming weeks, will lead to a successor ready to take the helm by July 1, 2014.
A search committee is being formed and will be chaired by Andover Newton alumnus and trustee Rev. Jim Sherblom, who currently is vice chair of the board. The school has engaged AGB Search, a Washington, D.C.-based search firm with long experience in theological education, to provide guidance throughout the search process.
Under Carter’s leadership Andover Newton has undergone significant change. Six new faculty members have been brought on board, including four women and three persons of color; a new competency-based curriculum was launched; the school was officially established as “open and affirming” to the gay and lesbian communities; and the beautiful campus, with its new (2007) iconic Wilson Chapel, underwent many improvements and this past fall achieved the goal of a 20% reduction in its carbon emission footprint.
Carter’s signature contribution was his pioneering work in interfaith leadership education, which is evident today in Andover Newton’s close collaborative relationship with neighboring Hebrew College and their joint efforts to promote understanding and new initiatives through the Interreligious Center for Public Life, which Carter chairs. Carter and the president of Hebrew College, Rabbi Danny Lehmann, have engaged in a weekly sacred text study for many years. Recently, in recognition of Andover Newton’s path-breaking accomplishments in this realm, Carter was invited to participate in the founding ceremonies of the King Abdullah International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna, Austria.
Andover Newton has historical covenants with American Baptist Churches USA and the United Church of Christ. It is also a member of the Boston Theological Institute (BTI), an association of theological schools and seminaries in the Greater Boston area, and shares some facilities and programs with Harvard University.
Andover Newton Theological School, founded in 1807, is the first graduate school of any kind in America. Always an innovator in religious education, Andover Newton is internationally recognized as a leader in interfaith learning. Stay informed about the presidential search by visiting www.ants.edu/presidentsearch.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.