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Southwestern marks milestone in women’s studies program

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s three-year-old women’s studies program reached a key milestone with the certification of 25 women Nov. 4.

“It is a privilege to recognize the accomplishments each of you have achieved by doing this,” President Paige Patterson said during the ceremony observed by students, faculty and administrators at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus.

“Our fervent prayer is that God will bless you as you impact the lives of women and girls all around the globe,” Patterson said. “We are proud of you.”

Terri Stovall, director of women’s programs and assistant professor of adult education and aging, added, “It is the vision of Southwestern to be the premiere institution of theological education for women. This includes seminary studies in the student wives program and our leadership certificate in women’s ministry.”

The certificate programs cater to two groups of people, Stovall noted.

The certificate in ministry and education is targeted to the student wife on the Fort Worth campus. “We want to help equip these women today, so that when she and her husband serve in the future, it can truly be a ministry partnership,” Stovall said.

The leadership certificate in women’s ministry, meanwhile, is targeted to the woman who is responsible for the women’s ministry in her local church.

The two diploma programs are available to women who have not yet earned a baccalaureate degree.

“We also have two master’s programs,” Stovall said.

The MACE degree is focused on ministry in the church and equips those who will be serving as a minister to women or working with women in some way through local church ministries.

“The M.Div. is the more comprehensive degree and prepares women for whatever ministry avenue God may be calling her,” Stovall said. “This is also the degree that prepares the woman interested in pursuing doctoral work.”

Stovall pointed out that the program does not equip women to serve in the pastorate. “We believe the role [of pastor] is reserved for men and we will stand firm on that conviction,” she said.

In two years, Southwestern has gone from having two women’s ministry courses to having seven women’s ministry courses in the education school, Stovall said.

Southwestern will offer the certificate program on the Houston campus in the spring of 2005 and plans are underway to offer the courses online.
Melanie Lloyd is a student newswriter at Southwestern Seminary.

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