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North Park Theological Seminary Adds Regional Intensive Classes

North Park Theological Seminary Adds Regional Intensive Classes

CHICAGO, IL (July 19, 2010) – North Park Theological Seminary has added regional intensive classes in Atlanta, Georgia; Seattle, Washington; and Santa Barbara, California.

The courses, which will be offered at different times of the year, are similar to the intensive classes in Chicago except that more work will be done online before and after the in-class work, says Associate Dean Paul Koptak. Courses will run the entire semester.

Seminary listening tours as well as conversations with denomination leaders confirmed the increasing need for onsite courses, says Koptak. He notes that the sequence in which students get their education continues to change.

“Multi-staff congregations bring in junior staff locally, reversing the older sequence by which a candidate for ministry would come to Seminary first and then seek to be placed in a church,” he says. “While many still follow that sequence, it does not reach all of the ministers in the ECC who need to take four Seminary courses in Old Testament, New Testament, history and theology, as well as Covenant orientation to qualify for the basic ministerial license.”

Koptak says the new sites are just the latest response of the Seminary to meet the changing needs of students.

Intensive courses have been offered at times in conjunction with regional conference meetings and the Midwinter Conference since at least the 1980s. Early Bird courses in Covenant Theology and Covenant Worship were precursors for today’s Covenant Orientation classes that now meet at various sites and Covenant gatherings.

For several years, classes were also offered in the Pacific Northwest through a grant received from the Murdoch Foundation. At the same time, the Seminary was developing its distance education program, SemConnect. This enabled the school to offer classes and eventually entire degrees through online and intensive courses.

Fifty students currently are working on degrees through SemConnect. That program was enhanced when the denomination began to require four graduate level courses of everyone seeking credentialing in the Covenant, says Koptak. “Many of our online students are participating in the four-course sequence of New Testament, Old Testament, Theology, and Church History.”

He adds, however, “All of this has not stopped the call for courses in remote sites.”

The classes are not the same as those offered through Covenant Orientation, but they can be counted toward the equivalent of a year of studies at North Park to fulfill the orientation requirement, Koptak says. Students who commit to taking all four survey classes will receive a 40 percent discount.

For more information, email the admissions office, or call (800) 964-0101.

Here are the courses being offered:

Atlanta

  • Interpreting the Old Testament 1, taught by Koptak (October 8–9 and November 5–6)
  • Social and Cultural Exegesis, taught by Mego Haralu (October 8–9 and November 5–6)
  • Interpreting the New Testament 1, taught by Klyne Snodgrass (March 4–5, 2011, and April 15–16, 2011)
  • Theology of Missions and Evangelism, taught by Mego Haralu (March 4–5, 2011, and April 15–16, 2011)

Seattle

  • Christian Theology, taught by Steve Bilynskyj (November 15–17)
  • Interpreting the Old Testament 1, taught by Koptak (TBA)

Santa Barbara

  • Christian Tradition and Mission, taught by Mark Safstrom (October 14–16)
  • Recovering Essential Tasks of the Church: Education and Mission, taught by Linda Cannell (January 12–15)
  • Interpreting the New Testament 1, taught by Jay Phelan (March 24–26)
  • Interpreting the Old Testament 1, taught by Robert Hubbard (TBA)