Trustee Robert Phillips Backs Garrett-Evangelical's Commitment to Ecological Justice and Environment
Trustee Robert K. Phillips can't overstate how important he thinks Garrett-Evangelical's renewed commitment to ecological justice and environmental sustainability will be for the seminary and for the world. "It is an amazing initiative for Garrett-Evangelical - one that shows a lot of foresight," he said.
"I am a huge believer that ecological and sustainability issues should be at the forefront today and am absolutely thrilled that the seminary is emphasizing environmental ethics," he said.
Phillips believes so deeply in the seminary's visionary initiative that he makes a recurring gift to support the effort and has volunteered to talk to potential donors. He is also helping the seminary create fundraising materials and a video.
"I believe that Garrett-Evangelical will benefit greatly from this initiative," he said. "This is an exciting time for students who are environmentally conscious and a fantastic and unique opportunity for those wishing to attend seminary to get a degree in this discipline. I think the seminary is going to see growth and an even more geographically diverse student body because of this."
"Furthermore, we, as Christians, have a biblical mandate to protect this planet and protect our brothers and sisters who are suffering due to the ecological crisis facing our world," he continued. "And the wonderful nature of this program is that it recognizes the theological perspective of the stewardship of our planet, and it recognizes the importance of teaching our students how to discuss these issues in theological terms."
Although Phillips joined Garrett-Evangelical's Board of Trustees only five years ago, he has had a relationship with the seminary his entire life. His father, Samuel Phillips, graduated from Garrett Biblical Institute with a master of divinity degree in 1958.
The younger Phillips grew up as a clergyman's son and lived in many Indiana towns. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona and then went to seminary at Boston University. After graduating from seminary, he served several rural churches in Indiana. "I thoroughly loved serving those churches and those parishioners," he remembered. "I would preach three sermons every Sunday, driving from one parish to another."
Eventually, Phillips was called to law school at Notre Dame University and received his law degree in 1985. He then went to the London School of Economics to study international law. He was offered a job in San Francisco, California and has been working as an attorney in San Francisco since 1988. He founded his own law firm in 1996.
"I feel it is my role to let people in the Western United States know what a wonderful seminary Garrett-Evangelical is," Phillips states. He also feels it is his role to support the seminary financially, and he is excited about helping Garrett-Evangelical raise money to strengthen the seminary's commitment to sustainability and ecological issues. "I'm honored to help make the seminary's courageous and vital vision a reality," he said.