The board of the Living Church Foundation has elected the Rev. Dr. Walter L. (Chip) Prehn, a veteran educator and education consultant, as its new president. The board and foundation met jointly at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 25 and 26.
Earlier this year, Prehn and fellow board member Kathleen Alexander interviewed several candidates for the role of TLC’s next executive director and publisher, and then recommended the Rev. Dr. Matthew S.C. Olver.
Prehn said he has begun to feel called to his new role. “It seems to be right. My skills and passions fit the work ahead at this time,” he said.
“What I feel is my priority is to organize the organization a bit more than we are organized right now,” Prehn told TLC. “This is my background, via school administration. I’m an utterly mission-driven person, and expect an institution to organize itself round that first purpose and not go off to the right hand or to the left hand.”
Prehn referred to TLC’s mission both in publishing and in organizing conferences that focus on meeting congregations’ practical needs.
“Nothing is more important than knowing our mission and pursuing it,” he said. “We publish a magazine and news, daily Bible study helps, and so forth; and, more than ever, we shall try to get people together in those invaluable meetings with a good program, great cooking, and lots of time to interface. These gatherings are priceless. They encourage people.”
The Rt. Rev. John Bauerschmidt, Bishop of Tennessee, welcomed other foundation members to his diocese and completed his final three-year term on the board. He will continue serving as a member of the foundation.
The foundation welcomed Olver and heard his report about his first two months of working with TLC.
Olver described his first months as involving frequent travel to meet with church leaders, both in the United States and in England. He expects to publish two or three books under TLC’s imprint in time for General Convention in 2024. Olver said TLC’s sister publication, Covenant, has expanded its list of writers by a dozen people, half of whom live outside of the United States.
Olver plans to oversee a redesign of TLC’s website and its magazine. The website redesign will use “user-centric navigation, responsive design, and enhanced content delivery so that the significant amount of content that we create can be simply and easily accessed,” he told the board.
This year the foundation welcomed these new members to three-year terms:
- The Rev. Canon Victor Lee Austin, Ph.D., theologian in residence of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas and St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Dallas;
- The Rev. Nathan G. Jennings, Ph.D., J. Milton Richardson Professor of Liturgics and Anglican Studies and director of community worship at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas;
- The Very Rev. Timothy Kimbrough, director of the Anglican-Episcopal House of Studies and the Jack and Barbara Bovender Professor of the Practice of Anglican Studies at Duke University Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina;
- The Rev. Dr. Simon Oliver, Van Mildert Professor of Divinity at Durham University;
- Philanthropist Jan Pickens of Dallas;
- The Rev. Canon Betsy Randall, canon to the ordinary in the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma;
- The Rt. Rev. Graham Tomlin, Ph.D., director of the Church of England’s Centre for Cultural Witness and the former Bishop of Kensington.
Foundation members re-elected these members:
- The Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Andrews, Toronto;
- Neva Rae Fox, Somerville, New Jersey;
- The Rev. Dr. Wesley Hill, Holland, Michigan;
- The Rev. Dr. Jordan Hylden, Lafayette, Louisiana;
- Catherine Whittinghill Illingworth, Los Angeles;
- The Very Rev. Ian Markham, Alexandria, Virginia.
The foundation elected one new board member, the Rev. Colin Ambrose, who serves as vice rector and chief of staff at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville.
The foundation re-elected three board members: Kathleen Alexander of Potomac, Maryland; Richard Clements of Oklahoma City; and the Rev. S. Thomas Kincaid III of Dallas.
The Living Church Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is governed by a cross-section of bishops, priests, and laity from across the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. Members meet annually to discuss and review the affairs of the foundation and its publications, to nominate and elect new members, and to worship and remember friends of the foundation who have died during the past year. Foundation and board members serve three-year terms, and board membership is term-limited.
Foundation members nominate and elect from their number a board of directors, which has direct responsibility for managing the affairs and finances of the 50-member foundation. The directors meet twice yearly — once with the larger foundation and once separately.