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Church Relations


PRESBYTERY OF EAST TENNESSEE

A COVENANT BETWEEN THE PRESBYTERY OF EAST TENNESSEE, PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (U.S.A.) AND TUSCULUM COLLEGE

  1. PURPOSE
    The purpose of this covenant is to define the nature and scope of the relationship mutually agreed to by Tusculum College and the Presbytery of East Tennessee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
  2. HISTORY OF THE RELATIONSHIP
    Tusculum College is the oldest college in Tennessee, the twenty-eighth oldest in the nation, and the oldest coeducational institution affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Tusculum College was founded by the Presbyterian Church. A Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Hezekiah Balch, established Greeneville College, which was chartered on September 3, 1794. In 1818, Tusculum Academy was established by another Princeton graduate and Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Samuel Doak. In 1844, Tusculum Academy became Tusculum College. In 1868, the two colleges consolidated on the Tusculum campus under the name of Greeneville and Tusculum College, and, in 1912, the name was officially changed to Tusculum College. Throughout the over two hundred years of its existence, Tusculum College has had a continuing relationship with the Presbyterian Church. (U.S.A.) and, in particular, with Presbyterian churches in the region served by the Presbytery of East Tennessee.
  3. NATURE OF THE COLLEGE
    Tusculum College takes seriously its heritage as a daughter of the Presbyterian Church. The liberal arts tradition with which the name, Tusculum College, is uniquely associated was formulated by Cicero at his academy in Tusculum, Italy and brought to East Tennessee by Samuel Doak by the way of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University). The tradition emphasizes smallness of size and closeness of faculty-student involvement, both within and without the classroom, in order to cultivate citizenship, character, and practical wisdom among members of the College community. That tradition is very much in keeping with the heritage of the emphasis on the formation of strong Christian character as an essential ingredient of citizenship and practical wisdom. Tusculum College is committed to strengthening its relationship with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) so that the College can bring its services to the Church, and the Churches can learn of and benefit from the distinctive mission and education offered by Tusculum College. In the curriculum of Tusculum College and through opportunities for worship and service, the College’s Presbyterian heritage will be highlighted. Specific examples are included in the section on “Responsibilities Under the Covenant.” The College wants religious studies to occupy a central place in the general studies curriculum, the “Commons,” in order for students to study the religious and biblical heritage of the country in the context of larger issues of humankind. Tusculum desires its heritage as a Presbyterian college to be woven throughout all that the College does, not just through a prescribed set of courses that every student is required to take. Tusculum College seeks to instill in its graduates a sense of the world in which they live and to develop skills to make sound decisions that are based on the common good. In short, Tusculum wants to graduate students who not only do well, but do good. An important part of Tusculum College’s educational mission is to recruit a fertile mix of students from different ethnic, national, racial, cultural, religious, and geographical backgrounds. Learning from fellow students resulting from such a campus-cultural mix is an essential part of fostering an emphasis on practical wisdom. Active discussion of different perspectives on life resulting from varied cultural experiences enhances each student’s maturation and understanding of the world culture in which they live. Such diversity of student background should be actively used to enrich the educational environment of the College.
  4. PARTIES TO THE COVENANT
    The Parties of this covenant, Tusculum College of Greeneville, Tennessee, operating under its governing board, the Board of Trustees, and the Presbytery of East Tennessee, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) operating as a governing body, are separate entities. They are independent, neither being controlled by the other. They are, however, interdependent in that they must work together to accomplish their common purposes.
  5. RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THE COVENANT
    1. Tusculum College affirms its commitment to:
      - offer a program of quality education in the liberal arts and sciences with the concept of the wholeness of life as interpreted by the Christian faith;
      - conduct an educational program in which a large majority of the faculty are Christians, while insisting on freedom of inquiry for the faculty and students;
      - create a campus climate in which the Christian faith is reasonably and persuasively presented without undue pressure for acceptance;
      - maintain a Presbyterian campus minister and a set of course offerings in religion;
      - through the Commons courses in the Civic Arts curriculum and the competency requirements for graduation, require religious studies of all students;
      - offer weekly opportunities for corporate worship for the entire campus community;
      - provide opportunities for the exploration of the relationship between religion and other facets of life, while preparing students for Christian service in all walks of life;
      - establish standards of excellence and maintain accreditation by appropriate academic associations and agencies;
      - share in the development of professional and lay leadership for the Church;
      - serve as a host for church governing bodies, congregations, and their agencies, providing leadership and facilities for conferences, retreats, workshops, and training sessions for Church groups and offer services to the Church such as supply ministers and special programs of music and drama;
      - provide opportunities for continuing education for Presbyterian ministers;
      - to refer to its Presbyterian heritage in all of its literature; – use college educational resources to enrich the churches (such as a Theologian-in-Residence program);
      - effectively recruit persons of racial and ethnic diversity to serve on the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty and support staff as well as in the student body;
      - demonstrate active concern for social justice and human mercy among the entire campus community, fostering a keen spirit of volunteerism;
      - maintain Christian governance and leadership by maintaining the practice that a large majority of trustees and administrators be Christians;
      - make every effort to insure that the President of Tusculum College be a Presbyterian;
    2. Hosltson Presbytery affirms its commitment to:
      - undergird the College spiritually by praying for its trustees, administrators, faculty, students, and friends;
      - promote understanding of the educational opportunities offered at the College through Presbytery publications and communications;
      - promote attendance at the College by encouraging youth in the Presbytery to consider enrolling as students;
      - offer a source of ministers and laity as speakers for retreats and conferences at the College;
      - encourage churches in the Presbytery to consider holding some of their conferences, retreats, meetings, and training events in the College facilities periodically;
      - encourage individuals and congregations within the bounds of the Presbytery to provide financial support to the College;
      - provide annually for the receiving of a report from the College, with such details as may prove useful for the purpose of promotion and continued support;
      - publish a two-page Annual Report of the College in the Minutes of Presbytery.
  6. MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING AND ACCOUNTABILITY
    1. Board of Trustees of Tusculum College
      Realizing the importance of its relationship with the Presbyterian Church, the Board of Trustees of Tusculum College commits itself to:
      - maintain a standing committee of the Board of Trustees on church relations. The Committee would have as its primary responsibility the continuing review and development of the College’s relationship with the Church;
      - ensure that at least one member of each of the three classes of trustees of Tusculum College would be a Presbyterian from within the Presbytery of East Tennessee elected by the Presbytery. The Trusteeship Committee of the College would provide qualified candidates to the Nominating Committee of the Presbytery of East Tennessee for election by the Presbytery;
      - maintain a Council on Church Relations composed of equal members of ministers and laypeople. The Council on Church Relations would have as its primary responsibility strengthening the relationship between the College and the Church.
    2. Disposition of Property
      If Tusculum College should ever cease to operate as an institution of higher learning, the Board of Trustees, in accordance with the Charter of the College, will determine the disposition of property.
    3. Accountability and Communication
      Both parties agree to provide regular and formal channels of communication to ensure accountability and to address issues of mutual interest and concern.

      1. Tusculum will provide Presbytery with a report of the campus ministry program and activities of the College in its Annual Report to Presbytery and other significant documents.
      2. The Presbytery will provide Tusculum with copies of its Minutes of Presbytery meetings and other significant documents.
      3. The Presbytery through its related Committee and the College through the Sub-Committee on Church Relations of its Board of Trustees will review the covenant annually, beginning in 1995.
      4. The text of this covenant shall be printed in the 1994 Minutes of the Presbytery of East Tennessee and references made to it in appropriate publications of the Presbytery that highlight its institutions and agencies.
      5. This Covenant between the Presbytery of East Tennessee, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Tusculum College shall be summarized in the Tusculum catalog and made available to members of the administration, faculty, staff and to other constituencies as deemed appropriate.
      6. The President of the College shall be responsible for seeing that all provisions of this covenant regarding the institution’s responsibilities are presented to the Board of Trustees.
      7. The Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of East Tennessee, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) shall be responsible for seeing that all provisions of this covenant regarding Presbytery’s responsibilities are fulfilled.
      8. The College shall inform the Presbytery of its formal or informal covenant relationships with other governing bodies or church bodies. It is understood that no provision of such covenants will be in conflict with the provisions of this covenant. Currently, the College has a covenant with the Synod of Living Waters, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Holston Presbytery, Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.).
    4. Review and Amendment of the Covenant
      1. A comprehensive review of the Covenant shall be conducted every five years by a team composed of the appropriate Committee of the Presbytery and the Sub-Committee on Church Relations of the College’s Board of Trustees. It is expected that the President of the College will be present for such reviews.
      2. This Covenant may be amended or renewed by action of the Board of Trustees of Tusculum College and the Presbytery of East Tennessee, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
  7. FORMAL APPROVAL
    This Covenant shall be effective upon formal approval by the Board of Trustees of Tusculum College and by the Presbytery of East Tennessee, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), each meeting in regular session during the 1995 year, and signed by the Moderator and Stated Clerk of the Presbytery and by the Chairman and Secretary of the College’s Board of Trustees.This Covenant recognizes the possibility that Tusculum College may develop other covenant relationships with other governing bodies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or with other church bodies with which our denomination is in correspondence.