Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lane-McCormick Merger

The petition presented to the courts of Ohio for the privilege of merging the work of Lane Theological Seminary with The Presbyterian Theological Seminry, Chicago, has been granted. This petition has been pending subject to the consent of the residuary legatees, two of whom had refused to join with the seminary up to a recent date.

All these having been satisfied and quit claim deeds to all rights and claims to the property of Lane Seminary having been obtained by the institution, the Court granted the petition for the right to effect the merger.

Lane Seminary has had a faculty of four full time professors, Dr. John Vant Stephens, Dr. Frank Granstaff, President R. Ames Montgomery, and Professor John Adam Garber. Dr. Paul E. Davies of the Chicago seminary has been special lecturer in New Testament literature and Dr. George W. Osmun, instructor in Hebrew.

President Montgomery and Professor Garber will continue their work in the Chicago institution which they have already begun in the field of Religious Education and Sociology. Dr. Stephen, who has been professor of History at Lane for twenty-two years and Dr. Granstaff, professor of Homiletics, will retire with pensions provided by Lane.

The decision of the Court in this case is regarded as of great importance, not only as affecting the program of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., for the consolidation of educational institutions, but for other organizations contemplating similar action.

The Lane Seminary property will be held for the use of the merged institutions. The present policy of the Trustees of Lane contemplate a regular summer session at Lane for the instruction of ministers and lay church workers.

Lane Seminary Abandonment
Blocked by Court

which has been located in Cincinnati, Ohio,
for more than 100 years, will continue t()
function as a seminary, if an opinion handed
down in Common Pleas Court by Judge
Charles S. Bell on April 21, is not upset by

Judge Bell held that as the result of testimony
adduced before him in a hearing, several
months ago, the seminary had not failed'
in its original purpose, and that it had 'not
become extinct, despite contentions to the
contrary. He also ruled that the court had
no jurisdiction to authorize the seminary
trustees to abandon it and endow scholarships
in the Chicago Theological Seminary.

The institution dates back to 1829, when
the Legislature of the State of Ohio created'
the theological institution "for the education'
of pious young men for the gospel ministry ... ·
In December of that year Elnatban Kemper"
James Kemper, Sr., Peter H. Kemper and
David R. Kemper and their wives deeded the'
property to the seminary.

This deed provided that, if the purpose of'
the seminary failed, or if it became extinct,.
the property was to revert to the American
Board Society, the American Tract Company,
the American Colonization Society and the
American Education Society. In the event
that any of these societies) were extinct,
the property then was to revert to any charitable
religious institution selected by the
General Assembly of the Presbyterian

For many years the seminary flourished,
and men who carried the gospel to the four
corners of the world were its graduates. Of
late years the enrollment has fallen off and
bad times have overtaken the school.
About a year ago the trustees filed a petition
asking for instructions as to what they
were to do. They favored abandonment of
the school and the establishment of scholarships
in the Chicago institution which was
formally known as "McCormick Seminary."
It was claimed on behalf of the American
Colonization Society, that the seminary had
failed in its purpose and that therefore the
property should be turned over to the other
societies mentioned in the deed.
Discussing the matters that were brought
to its attention during the hearing, Judge
Bell wrote: "Since the .establishment of this
institution in 1829, there has been a great
increase in the number of theological institutions
available to students preparing for
the Presbyterian ministry, and there has
been a proportionate decrease in the past
twenty-five or thirty years in the number of
enlistments of young men for such training.
A number of such institutions in the country
have become more efficient for the purposes
for which Lane Seminary was created, and
this has been due largely to the fact that certain
other colleges have received large incomes
and generous gifts, which have been
denied Lane Seminary.

"By reason of curtailed revenue, this institution
has reached a financial status
where there is in the neighborhood of about
$20,000 per annum for its upkeep; and because
thereof the institution has generally
deteriorated until the buildings are out of
repair, the professors are underpaid, and the
student body has decreased greatly. At the
time of the hearing, there were less than 20
in the student body at the seminary. The
future prospects of the institution presents a
dismal picture; the institution probably will
have fewer students and less money than at
the present time.

"Disposing first of the disputed fact in the
case, the court has concluded that Lane
Seminary has not failed or become extinct."
Taking- up the second matter before him,
Judge Bell said: "The trustees propose to
sell the property; create a legal entity to be
known as the Lane Seminary Foundation;
with the funds establish proper endowments,
scholarships and fellowships in the Chicago
Theological Seminary.

"After a careful consideration, the court
has concluded that it has no authority -or
jurisdiction to authorize these trustees to
change the name or abandon the theological
institution in Hamilton County," the opinion

Following the receipt of the judgment of
court, it was announced that Lane Seminary
would re·open in the fall as usual.

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