Frequently Asked Questions About Transitions at EDS

Is EDS going out of existence?

No. EDS will continue as an Episcopal seminary through a collaboration with Union Theological Seminary at its campus in New York. EDS remains a separate entity, with its own board of trustees, and will keep the endowment and other property it presently holds.

Will EDS retain a physical presence in Cambridge?

No. EDS has retained an expert real estate consultant to assist it in arranging for the best disposition of the EDS real estate in Cambridge, and the proceeds will be added to the EDS endowment.  EDS is especially sensitive to the historical and spiritual value of the St. John’s Chapel.

When will educational activities on the Cambridge campus ends?

Those activities will end with the conclusion of the June 2017 term.

What will happen to EDS faculty and staff?

With a few exceptions, staff contracts end on June 30.

What will happen to EDS students?

All students who did not complete their degrees by May 2017 are being “taught out” at other seminaries with EDS’s financial support so as to avoid additional costs

When will EDS begin accepting students at Union?

EDS will begin its new academic program at Union in the fall semester of 2018.

Will EDS have a visible physical presence at Union?

Yes. UTS is constructing a new building in the heart of its campus, and EDS plans to purchase one floor of that building. The EDS offices will be located on that floor, the EDS Dean will have a faculty apartment on that floor, and a portion of the floor will be used for EDS meeting and function spaces. Through design, signage, and activities, EDS will be a visible and prominent part of the Union campus.

How will UTS treat EDS alumni/ae?

Under the Affiliation Agreement, Union will provide EDS alumni/ae the same rights (library privileges, campus access, continuing education, etc.) that alumni/ae of Union currently have. Click here to learn aobut current EDS alumni/ae benefits and services.

Will Anglican students intending ordination in The Episcopal Church be able to qualify for ordination through their education at EDS at Union?

Presently, Anglican students who graduate from Union need to take additional classes or complete other requirements in order to be eligible for ordination. EDS is an Episcopal seminary recognized by The Episcopal Church, and expects to award an Anglican certificate to EDS at Union students on the completion of the Anglican coursework and spiritual formation activities of the EDS at Union program that will qualify them for ordination on completion of their MDiv degree requirements at Union.

What happens to donor and gift records?

All donor and gift records are also being transferred to Union where they will be carefully and separately maintained. For donor questions and gift acceptances, contact Interim President Bill Nelsen or Executive Assistant Jane Wagner by emailing, or calling 617-868-3450. All donations will continue to be carefully processed and acknowledged, and can continue to be sent to our Cambridge address until further notice.

What happens to EDS restricted endowments?

Many of the provisions of restrictions in EDS endowments can be satisfied under the arrangements between EDS and Union for the EDS at Union program. Specific restrictions may need to be revised with the approval of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Any such revisions will be designed to provide for the expenditure of funds for a purpose as close as is reasonably possible to the donors’ intent.

Will EDS be financially sustainable for the long haul?

Financial sustainability was one of our primary goals in negotiating EDS’s affiliation with Union. The EDS board has voted to cap spending at four percent of its endowment once expenses associated with the move to Union are paid.

Can EDS get out of the agreement with UTS?

The Affiliation Agreement between EDS and UTS has an initial term of eleven years, and is renewable for subsequent ten-year terms. In addition, the Agreement gives EDS the option of early termination if certain events occur that would make it unlikely that the goals for EDS at UTS could be achieved.