After more than two years of report-writing and deliberation about the future of Memorial Church, the situation remains very much the same as before. On May 30, President Bok overruled the November 1973 proposal for Mem. Church written by a committee headed by Krister Stendahl, dean of the Divinity School.
The Stendahl Committee's proposal recommended that the present position of Preacher to the University be replaced by three co-equal preachers. The committee report suggested that these three preachers be: a Roman Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi and a Protestant minister.
Bok's Report took into account the criticism Stendahl's report drew from members of the University community--including four members of the 14-member Stendahl Committee. The primary objection to the proposal was that in dividing official responsibility for religious functions into three parts, the University was effectively excluding members of other religions from participation. By concentrating responsibility with one preacher, critics argued, he could more easily be responsive to needs of all groups and not uniquely to the group he or she represented. In his report, Bok also suggested that the three preachers would be hindered by fundamental disagreements on "the proper course of action."
Memorial Church will continue to have one preacher as before. The title will be broadened under Bok's report, from Preacher to the University to Minister in Memorial Church, alleviating somewhat the implication that all official University religious matters are centered in the one position. The Board of Preachers will be replaced with a Board of Ministry. Bok also recommended that a Faculty committee be appointed to select the minister who will replace Acting Preacher Peter S. Gomes.