Dianne C. Shumaker Assistant Professor of Peace and Justice Dr. Ruth Lofgren Rosell Reflects on the Relevancy of Central’s Innovative MDiv Curriculum
When the pandemic hit and there arose the need to socially distance and shelter in place, many schools and seminaries were left scrambling as how to proceed with the process of education. Such was not the case for Central Seminary's English-language Master of Divinity program. Already accredited to be offered completely online and available in both virtual and face-to-face formats, the transition to solely online teaching was seamless. In the face of the pandemic crisis and the unknown future, Central Seminary steadily continues to offer professional education for those seeking ministry preparation.
The current sudden adjustments are not the only changes for which Central Seminary is prepared. Tremendous shifts occurring in society and the world are greatly impacting the church, while the spiritual and social needs of people cry out for new forms of ministry. It is particularly to meet that need that Central Seminary revised its Master of Divinity program. Not only do students take courses in classical theological areas, such as biblical studies, theology, church history, ethics, preaching, and pastoral care. They also take courses exploring creativity and use of media in ministry, missional imagination, innovation in ministry leadership, and ministry within a religiously pluralistic world.
Contextual learning courses then help students gain ministry competencies by acting and reflecting on what they have learned within a ministry setting of their choice - whether church, hospital, non-profit, or somewhere else. Deep respect is shown towards each student's sense of calling in exploring what internships will best provide the experiences to gain skills that make them ready to develop and lead innovative ministries. Forms of ministry and church are changing during these challenging times, but Central Seminary remains dedicated to preparing women and men to help shape faith communities and serve the growing needs of humanity and creation.