Mark Richardson named as new Church Divinity School of the Pacific president

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March 15, 2010

The Church Divinity School of the Pacific's board of trustees announced March 11 that the Rev. Dr. W. Mark Richardson has accepted the offer to become the seminary's next president and dean.

He will begin his work on July 1, according to a news release from the Berkeley, California-based seminary.

Richardson is an Episcopal priest and a scholar who teaches at another Episcopal Church-affiliated seminary, General Theological Seminary in New York City. He also has ties to the Graduate Theological Union, of which CDSP is a part.

At CDSP, Richardson will succeed Donn Morgan, an Old Testament scholar, who is expected to continue teaching at the seminary, after a one-year sabbatical.

A frequent guest editor of the Anglican Theological Review, Richardson has written on topics such as the intersection of faith and science, same-gender relationships and the meaning of reconciliation, according to the CDSP release. He has lectured on themes such as evolution and Anglican theology in the 1920s; science, religion, and monotheism; and eschatology and the moral life. Richardson has been the moderator of the Trinity Institute Conferences since 2005, and is a senior theological advisor at Trinity Wall Street, New York.

CDSP's release quoted Richardson as saying during a presentation at the school that "the formative task doesn't occur in isolation ... It occurs in community. That's where we learn the practices and habits of life for ministry."

"As we look ahead to the tasks and challenges set before CDSP, we give thanks for a new president and dean who is ready to prayerfully face those challenges in community," the release said.

Richardson, who holds a B.A. in history from University of Oregon, thought he might go into politics and worked for U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield. He later entered Princeton Theological Seminary and was awarded a master of divinity degree in 1975. He was ordained shortly thereafter.

He served three parishes, including Church of the Ascension in New York, before studying at GTU. In 1991, he was awarded his doctorate in philosophical theology from GTU, and from then until 1998 he served as associate professor-in-residence of philosophical theology at GTU. Richardson has been active with the Center for Theology and Natural Sciences, a GTU affiliate, and is founder and director of the Science and Spiritual Quest Project at CTNS. Richardson went back to New York City in 1999 to join the faculty at GTU.

His wife, Brenda Lane Richardson, has published eight self-help books and one novel and recently completed a master of social work degree at New York University. They are parents to three adult children.