Clipper Staff Writer
SALT LAKE CITY — When the Salt Lake Theological Seminary closed in the fall of 2008, it left a void for many seeking a college-level Christian theological education, including some students from Davis County.
But the seminary didn’t disappear and its staff (now serving as volunteers) continued listening for God’s leading concerning the school’s next step.
That has led to a new vision of again offering undergraduate Christian higher education, providing students with solid biblical knowledge and practical skills for lifelong learning needed for effective service, not only in the church, but in an increasingly multi-cultural community, Academic Dean Thomas McClenahan wrote in a recent newsletter.
McClenahan said the vision was confirmed by several Christian leaders in the community. “There is definitely an ongoing need, both among established congregations and emerging groups — mainstream American and immigrant refugee communities of Christian faith, for pastoral leadership and other areas of ministry.”
David Rowe, a Centerville resident, who serves as the seminary’s spiritual dean said “Our target clientele will definitely, intentionally, get broadened to become accessible to those immigrant and refugee communities in ways we have not before.”
Rowe shared that a noted leader of an ethnically non-anglo church in the area, told the seminary’s leadership that this is a great need in Utah. The pastor told Rowe that of 30 or so pastors in his circle of churches, only six have bachelor’s degrees. “Our vision is to serve such needs as this among the emerging leaders of Wasatch Front churches,” Rowe said.
Workshops for emerging and existing leaders will soon be offered, followed by a pilot undergraduate program and courses for emerging leaders, McClenahan said.
A continuing education program for existing leaders is now in the works and conversations are under way with a couple of nationally-known seminaries in hopes if partnering with a national institution to make graduate programs available in the future.
When the undergraduate program gets under way, classes will be held at various locations along the Wasatch Front, with some classes held at the First Congregational Church, 2150 S. Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, where the seminary’s office is now located.
The seminary’s 30,000 volume library is also located at the church and is currently open for use by the Christian community on Tuesday afternoons, or by appointment.