According to a news release from the seminary, the Board of Trustees plans to name an interim president who will be on the job by January 2010 and who will serve with Butin during a brief transitional period.
Butin plans to return to pastoral ministry, the news release states. He has a doctorate in Christian theology from Duke University and also has served as a professor of theology at the seminary.
As is the case with other Presbyterian seminaries, San Francisco seminary has experienced financial pressure during the economic downturn, cutting $1.6 million from its budget in May, including a 22-percent reduction in staff and faculty positions. The seminary also put property up for sale and created a “Future Visioning Task Force” to help plan for the period ahead.
George Abdo, a trustee who has served as board chair, praised Butin in the news release for his leadership, his contributions to strategic planning, and his role in reducing to $6 million the $10 million in debt the seminary incurred when the Loma Prieta earthquake damaged seminary buildings in 1989.
Butin and his wife, Jan, also a Presbyterian minister, have a son and a daughter, who are young adults. He previously has served churches in North Carolina, New Mexico, and elsewhere.
In a letter addressed to the seminary community, Butin states that he is “currently in active conversation and discernment with a number of congregations,” regarding the possibility of his being called as a pastor in spring 2010.