Nearly a year after the death of Peter J. Gomes, the search for a spiritual leader to fill his position at Memorial Church is still many months away from its conclusion.
The search committee that University President Drew G. Faust appointed to consider candidates for the position of Pusey Minister has been meeting since last spring. The group plans to fill the position no earlier than the start of the next school year, according to committee member Benjamin C. Greenberg.
“I would like to see a person in place by the time the next academic year starts, but if that’s not possible, then it’s not possible,” said Greenberg, an Orthodox rabbinic adviser at Harvard Hillel.
He added, “This position is, with no exaggeration, one of the most prestigious positions within this line of work in all of North America. We’re not going to rush the decision.”
The 19-member search committee includes, among others, three reverends, a professor of Islamic religion and culture, four Harvard Divinity School professors, a music professor, three lawyers, and two undergraduates.
Greenberg emphasized the importance of the diverse search committee to selecting a minister who can serve the campus and the broader community.
“The candidate must be a person whom a student feels comfortable going to when they have a deep philosophical or theological quandary—someone who exists in between worlds, interfacing with the faculty, the administration, the students, and the parishioners,” Greenberg said.
While the names of candidates under consideration for the position have not been released, Greenberg said that the committee is evaluating candidates both within and beyond the Harvard community.
Gomes left an indelible imprint at Memorial Church, Greenberg said, and the committee hopes to find a minister who can follow in his footsteps.
“Peter Gomes was a tremendous person, a real iconoclast in the Harvard community,” Greenberg added. “We are not looking for the next Peter Gomes because there will never be another Peter Gomes.”
—Staff writer Matthew M. Beck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.