EDS at Union Board Resolution on Dean Harvey Guthrie

Categories: EDS at Union

The Episcopal Divinity School at Union board met on February 23rd and 24th and passed the following resolution in honor of the Very Rev. Dr. Harvey Guthrie: 

Upon the occasion of his death on December 17, 2017, the Board of Trustees of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary expresses their profound gratitude for the scholarly, prophetic, and pastoral leadership of the Very Reverend Dr. Harvey H. Guthrie, Jr, dean emeritus of the school.

Harvey joined the faculty of Episcopal Theological School as Assistant Professor of Old Testament in the fall of 1958. He served ETS as Associate then full Professor until 1969 when he became Dean. Harvey served as Dean until ETS merged with Philadelphia Divinity School in 1974, and then he and the Very Reverend Edward Harris, former PDS dean, served jointly as deans for two years. Harvey became sole dean on Ed’s resignation in 1976. Harvey served as Dean of Episcopal Divinity School until he left for St. Andrew’s, Ann Arbor in 1985. Harvey served as rector of St. Andrew’s for 10 years and retired in 1995. Returning to California, he began a whole new volunteer career as legal aid advocate for clients seeking redress and justice from the Social Security Administration. He carried on this work well into his nineties.

It is impossible to overestimate the impact that Harvey Guthrie had on EDS. A renowned Old Testament scholar, Harvey influenced generations of students as lecturer, tutor, and mentor. As a prophetic leader, Harvey was active in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, shared in the leadership of the movement to ordain women to the priesthood and episcopate in the 1970s, and was instrumental in the school’s increasing openness to gay and lesbian students in the 1980s. As a pastor, Harvey (along with his wife, the late Doris Peyton Guthrie) was generously present to students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and trustees in giving both counsel and concrete aid in emergencies.  That EDS emerged after the merger as as an even more prophetic and progressive seminary than either ETS or EDS had been is largely due to the influence of Harvey’s leadership.

During his time as Dean, Harvey served two terms as President of the Association of Theological Schools and four times as Deputy to General Convention.

Harvey was a formative influence on EDS and its mission, and after leaving the school he continued to support its evolving understanding of its call to educate lay and ordained women and men for ministry in the church. He was a valued counselor to the deans who followed him, and he was personally and publicly supportive of the board’s decision to seek a relocation and new partnership with Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Harvey Guthrie’s leadership in the church, the academy, and the world are a deep and abiding gift to all who have loved and served Episcopal Divinity School in its emerging institutional forms. Therefore, be it resolved, that at our regular meeting held at Union Theological Seminary on February 23 and 24, 2018, the members of the Board of Trustees of Episcopal Divinity School extend to his surviving children their condolences at his passing and the deepest possible appreciation for his life of teaching, leadership, ministry, and service.