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Sept. 13-14 special meeting of trustees to discuss MBTS president’s l

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Trustees of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will meet Sept. 13-14 in a special meeting to discuss questions surrounding the leadership of President Mark Coppenger.
A trustee, who asked not to be identified, told Baptist Press 15 trustees had signed a request for a special board meeting to deal with the Coppenger matter but gave no further explanation. Only 10 trustees, out of a total of 35, are required to ask for a special meeting, he said. The two-day meeting will be at a hotel near the Kansas City airport.
A previously scheduled Aug. 26-27 trustee executive committee meeting has been canceled.
A trustee spokesman said although the Sept. 13-14 meeting was specifically dealing with Coppenger and the matter of “misappropriation of anger,” the board has asked the seminary legal counsel whether other items may also be discussed at the meeting. If the trustees’ regularly scheduled meeting Oct. 18-19 is held, it would require two trips to Kansas City barely a month apart for trustees.
Another trustee, who also asked not to be identified, said in addition trustees will hear that enrollment this fall appears to be down about 20 percent from last year and some have questions regarding budgetary and financial matters. Some trustees, he said, who are not on the executive committee, want to hear about the matter personally while some feel the matter has been blown out of proportion.
Trustee leadership tried to schedule a special board meeting Sept. 2-3 in Kansas City but the dates apparently didn’t work out, a trustee told Baptist Press Aug. 20.
A spokesperson for President Coppenger said he would not comment on the called board meeting.
The seminary’s trustee executive committee voted July 30 on specific recommendations or steps to repentance and restoration by Coppenger to take following his expression of repentance for “misappropriation of anger.”
Trustee chairman Carl Weiser said at the time the “committee is prayerful that the exercise of the biblical process will serve as an example to the students, faculty and trustees of Midwestern and others.” Weiser is pastor of Hyland Heights Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va.
Noting the committee’s report was unanimous, Weiser said “it is our sincere and prayerful desire that God will use these events to work revival in this place. The executive committee gratefully acknowledges the substantial progress achieved by the seminary under the leadership of Dr. Coppenger.”
At the July 30 meeting, Weiser said the executive committee privately discussed with Coppenger allegations that he had inappropriately expressed anger with other individuals, including seminary staff, and would pass along a report to the regularly scheduled board meeting Oct. 18-19.
Coppenger, 51, was unanimously elected as the third president of Midwestern in a June 1995 meeting of the trustees. Enrollment at the Kansas City seminary has risen from 494 students in 1995 to 705 students last fall.
In his remarks to the closed executive session July 30, Coppenger read the following statement which later was issued publicly:
“At Midwestern, we pray that the Lord will show us any obstacles to revival in our own lives and on our campus. This summer, the Lord has graciously answered that prayer for me. We speak of the prairie fire of awakening and note that prairie fire serves to burn out the clutter in our lives. In my own life, I’ve come to understand that the misappropriation of anger has provided such an obstacle.”
Midwestern is one of six theological seminaries owned and operated by the Southern Baptist Convention.

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  • Herb Hollinger