By Kirk Petersen
Trinity Wall Street has unleashed a chunk of its $8 billion in assets to reach across the country and essentially acquire Church Divinity School of the Pacific.
“Under the agreement, Trinity will provide support to help build on CDSP’s historic strength as a seminary, and its Vestry will become the members of CDSP’s governing body,” according to a news release issued March 4 by the two institutions.
The release did not disclose the size of Trinity’s investment, but made clear who is in charge. “We’re excited to welcome CDSP to the Trinity family,” said the Rev. William Lupfer, rector of Trinity.
“Trinity and CDSP expect to maintain the current management, faculty, and staff at CDSP for the near future,” the release added.
“After more than a year of extensive conversations, CDSP and Trinity have come to a deep appreciation of each other’s strengths and an admiration of each other’s values and mission priorities,” said the Very Rev. W. Mark Richardson, president and dean of CDSP. “Today’s announcement reflects our confidence that through this new relationship, CDSP students will be even better prepared to become forward-thinking, expansive leaders in our faith communities.”
CDSP was founded in 1893, and its campus is now in Berkeley, Calif. Its current enrollment of 88 students ranks in the middle of the pack among the nine Episcopal seminaries. Seminaries in general have faced financial pressures in recent years. Episcopal Divinity School closed its doors in 2017 and formed an affiliation with Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Trinity Wall Street dates to 1696, and a few years later, after a land grant from Queen Anne of England, the parish owned more than 200 acres of Lower Manhattan. Lower Manhattan turned out to be valuable property. Much of that has been sold, but Trinity still is a major landowner, with real estate valued at $3.5 billion.
“Trinity is committed to a strategic focus on leadership development and to growing our global partnerships — commitments that align with CDSP’s mission,” Lupfer said in the release. “Together, we look forward to building on CDSP’s historic success as a seminary and as a site for Anglican formation. We are also eager to become a part of the Berkeley community.”
Officials of the parish and the seminary were in a series of meetings with faculty and students and were not immediately available for comment.