Baptist Seminary of Kentucky and Union Presbyterian Seminary are joining hands with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia to offer new options in theological education for Virginia students.
BSK, which has a growing distance education program, will support Cooperative Baptist students in Virginia who wish to learn while remaining in the communities where they currently live and work. Union Presbyterian Seminary will establish a Baptist House of Studies on its Richmond campus and will serve students who want a traditional classroom experience in a residential campus setting.
“We are pleased to offer quality distance education options to Virginia students who desire a theological education but who need to remain in their communities while studying for a degree,” said BSK President David Cassady.
In addition to convenience, Virginia students will enjoy BSK’s focus on nurturing community in its virtual classrooms, and they will experience a diverse educational environment. BSK earlier this year became the official seminary for one of the nation’s largest predominately Black denominations, the National Baptist Convention of America Inc., International. The seminary has been affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship since its birth in 2002.
BSK’s Virginia students will also be able to study at their own pace. As they move toward the 75-hour M.Div. degree, students can study full-time, part-time or alternate between the two. Some students begin their study with BSK in one of its nine-hour certificate programs. BSK schedules classes to help working students, with courses offered all day Monday, and Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings.
Both BSK and Union will be accepting schools under terms of their respective agreements in the fall of 2021. A six-member advisory team, which will include three representatives from BSK and three from CBF Virginia, will guide the development of BSK’s initiatives in Virginia. The CBF Virginia community will also will have representation on BSK’s board.
The process that resulted in CBF Virginia’s agreements with the two schools was led by a CBF Virginia Theological Education task force. It was established in the fall of 2019 by CBF Virginia Coordinator Terry Maples and CBF Virginia Moderator Michael Cheuk in partnership with CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley. The task force included a representative group of pastoral leaders, ensuring the new vision for theological education and ministerial formation flows from the needs of congregations and their leaders.
After naming a series of goals, the task force invited proposals from interested theological schools, reviewed proposals considering those criteria and eventually narrowed its focus to these two schools.
A theological education fund will be created by CBF Virginia to help establish and support the partnership. Individuals and congregations are invited to contribute to the fund.
BSK welcomes conversations with other state and regional CBF groups interested in developing a theological education partnership. For more information about BSK’s offerings in Virginia, visit www.bsk.edu/virginia.
Read the full press release from CBF here.