By Mark Michael
The Rev. Canon Dr. Bryan C. Hollon will serve as the eighth dean president of Trinity School for Ministry, the formerly Episcopal-affiliated seminary announced on May 21. Hollon, a historical and philosophical theologian who teaches at Malone University in Canton, Ohio, succeeds the Very Rev. Dr. Henry L. (Laurie) Thompson, who retires at the close of the academic year.
“I am humbled, profoundly grateful, and delighted for this opportunity to join the Trinity community as dean president,” Hollon said. “During the interview process, Suzanne and I felt warmly welcomed and encouraged by the faculty, staff, and entire Board of Trustees. We are eager to begin serving alongside so many gifted and committed people and look forward to getting to know more of the community in the months ahead.”
Hollon, a priest of the Anglican Church in North America, received his M.Div. from Fuller Seminary in 2001 and his Ph.D. in religion from Baylor University in 2006. His academic focus is the theology of the mid-twentieth century Ressourcement Movement, and he is the author of Everything is Sacred: Spiritual Exegesis in the Political Theology of Henri de Lubac (Cascade, 2008). Hollon is currently working on a book about the sacramentality of the Bible, and co-edits a series for Cascade with Barry Harvey of Baylor University about Protestant sacramental theology.
Hollon has served as professor of theology at Malone since 2006, and is also director of the C.S. Lewis Institute of Northeast Ohio and canon theologian of the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes. He is chair of the executive committee of the Society of Anglican Theologians, a fellowship group for scholars within the ACNA. He planted St. John’s Anglican Church in Canton in 2017, and served as its pastor for four years until it was able to call a rector. He and his wife have three children.
Brad Root, the chair of Trinity’s board of trustees, said “I am so very thankful to the Lord for our Search Committee, its leadership and the excellent process that we have followed since last September. Trinity School for Ministry is truly ‘like no other’ and our Trustees are all fully committed to supporting Dr. Hollon live into the vision as our new dean president.”
Hollon will lead an institution with 199 students, who are enrolled in both residential and distance degree programs. The seminary has 15 faculty members.
Trinity School for Ministry was founded in 1976 in Ambridge, Pennsylvania as Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry. It has always been rooted in a conservative version of Anglicanism’s evangelical tradition. The Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutierrez, Bishop of Pennsylvania, is a Trinity alumnus, and the Rt. Rev. Gregory Brewer, Bishop of Central Florida, is a former faculty member.
As Anglican realignment formally began in 2003, Trinity became increasingly identified with church bodies that were departing from the Episcopal Church, and in 2007, it dropped the word “Episcopal” from its name. The offices of the Anglican Church in North America are located just down the street from Trinity, and most faculty members and trustees are affiliated with the ACNA. With the departure of New Testament professor Wes Hill in 2021, Trinity lost its last Episcopal faculty member. It was dropped from a list of affiliated seminaries maintained by the Episcopal Church in 2022, but Kristen Parise, Trinity’s director of public relations, told TLC that the seminary itself had taken no formal action to trigger the change, and that several current students are preparing for ministry in the Episcopal Church.
Since 2013, seminary has also hosted the North American Lutheran Seminary, which trains pastors for the North American Lutheran Church, which broke away from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2010. Trinity also trains ministers for the conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church.