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Special meeting of Midwestern trustees will focus on president’s lead

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–More than a dozen trustees of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have asked for a special called meeting of the trustee board regarding the leadership of President Mark Coppenger.
Trustee leadership tried to schedule a full board meeting Sept. 2-3 in Kansas City but the dates apparently didn’t work out, a trustee told Baptist Press Aug. 20.
Trustee Robert A. Mowery, a pastor in Nashville, Tenn., said he was first told the meeting would be Sept. 2-3 and then later was told that meeting was canceled. Mowery said he was told the trustee executive committee meeting, scheduled for Kansas City Aug. 26-27, was also cancelled, apparently in lieu of a full board meeting as soon as possible.
Midwestern trustee chairman Carl Weiser, a pastor in Lynchburg, Va., was out of town and unavailable for comment by Baptist Press deadline Aug. 20. Seminary President Mark Coppenger was in a staff retreat and likewise unavailable, according to seminary officials.
Seminary bylaws allow for special called meetings, and enough trustees signed a request to require trustee leadership to call the meeting, Baptist Press was told, although the exact number of trustees signing the request has not been made public.
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.” Weiser said 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.”
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 full 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.”

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  • Herb Hollinger