Juneteenth is a good time to assess BSK’s progress around ongoing actions supporting theological education that is inclusive of and shaped by the black church tradition.
At Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, our formal statement of Commitments (https://bsk.edu/mission-commitments/) includes a commitment “to pursue and practice together peace, justice, reconciliation, forgiveness, mercy, patience, and hope, the virtues of Jesus’ beloved community.” We have not arrived, but this is a commitment we take seriously.
In this time of increased awareness of the entrenched racial injustices that have persisted in our society, we want you to know that we have been working to honor our commitment. Here are a few of the initiatives we’ve engaged in in recent months:
· At the invitation of Simmons College of Kentucky, we now offer our full degree program on their HBCU campus in Louisville as well as in Georgetown.
· BSK offers a full scholarship to ten incoming students each year through the Kevin & Barnetta Cosby Seminary Scholarship for American Descendants of Slavery; our black student enrollment currently stands at about 50% of our total enrollment.
· BSK has established a partnership with the National Baptist Convention of America Intl., Inc., serving as the denomination’s official seminary.
· Our redesigned M.Div. curriculum includes a required course for all students in Black and Womanist Theology; in addition, we seek to teach every course in our curriculum in dialogue with our partner black communities.
· Dr. Lewis Brogdon, Research Professor of Preaching and Black Church Studies, is leading us in the development of a comprehensive Black Church Studies program at BSK.
· Dr. John Inscore Essick, Associate Professor of Church History and Director of the Rural Ministry Program, and Dr. Laura Rodgers Levens, Assistant Professor of Christian Mission, both gave presentations at the 2020 Louisville Seminary Black Church Studies Consultation on “African-American Rural Ministry: Hopeful Ministries in Hopeless Times.”
· BSK is currently offering a six-week non-credit workshop series through our Flourish Center led by the faculty, entitled, “America In Crisis: White Silence, Black Suffering, Protest and Transformation.”
We have far to go on this journey, but we are grateful at BSK for all who support us and encourage us in this work. We are also wishing our partners, Simmons College of Kentucky and National Baptist Convention of America, Intl., Inc., a wonderful celebration this Juneteenth.
Dr. Dalen Jackson is Academic Dean and Professor of Biblical Studies at BSK: Baptist Seminary of Kentucky.