The Board of Trustees of San Francisco Theological Seminary has elected the Rev. Laird J. Stuart — pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco since 1993 — to serve as the seminary’s new interim president, effective March 1, 2010. Stuart succeeds Rev. Philip W. Butin, who served as the seminary’s president from 2002-2010.
Stuart is well known by the seminary community, having on the SFTS Board of Trustees from 1997-2006, the final two years as chair. In 41 years of ministry, he has served pastorates in Milford, Conn., Bergenfield, N.J., Grand Haven, Mich., and St. Clair, Pa.
He has held numerous leadership positions in the PC(USA), including service on the Board of Pensions board of directors since 2004. Stuart has been a commissioner to four General Assemblies. In 1986, he was vice-moderator of the General Assembly Committee on Mission Design and in 1997 he chaired the General Assembly Committee on the Book of Order. In 2002 he was a candidate for General Assembly moderator in an election won by the Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel.
Stuart has also served for two years as a member of the Medical Benevolence Foundation’s Board of Trustees, for two years as co-moderator of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians and for 10 years as a member of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary board of directors, the last two years (1994-1995) as chair.
“(We) were seeking a leader for the seminary with proven leadership abilities, significant knowledge and experience in theological education, and respect for and knowledge of the historical values of the Reformed Christian tradition,” stated the Rev. Julie Richwine, trustee and chair of the Interim President Search Committee. “We felt Laird Stuart possessed these qualities and exceeded our expectations in each of these key areas. We welcome his creative and collaborative leadership style as we prepare new leaders for the church,”
SFTS Dean Elizabeth Liebert said, “I am delighted to welcome Laird Stuart to SFTS as interim president. His long service to the local and national church, his breadth of experience with ecumenical and interfaith partners, his commitment to theological education, and his working knowledge of SFTS make him uniquely suited to this call. I look forward to working with him during this important time in SFTS’ history.”
Stuart holds a B.A. from Amherst College in Massachusetts, and an M.Div. and a D.Min. from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Stuart said of his election: “I look forward to sharing with prospective students, friends and alumni of the seminary, and the larger church my respect and appreciation for the distinctive role of SFTS within the larger community of the seminaries in our denomination. I also value very highly the Reformed tradition SFTS represents, examines, teaches and proclaims.”