Pioneer in Hispanic Theological Education is Expanding
Photo: Theological Education for Latinos
The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, also known as the Hispanic Evangelical Association, the nation’s largest Christian Hispanic organization, announced that Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (www.gcts.edu) has become a strategic partner of the NHCLC (www.nhclc.org) in relation to the NHCLC’s education directive.
“We are honored to link arms with the NHCLC in service to the rapidly growing Hispanic-American Church,” says Dr. Dennis Hollinger, Gordon-Conwell President and Colman M. Mocker Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics. “Our seminary has a deep and longstanding commitment to educating Hispanic Christian leaders who will be well equipped biblically, theologically and spiritually to serve Christ, his Church and society.”
Gordon Divinity School and Conwell School of Theology, both founded in the late 1800’s, merged in 1969 to form Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary under the leadership of international evangelist Billy Graham, evangelical leader Dr. Harold John Ockenga and philanthropist J. Howard Pew—Dr. Ockenga became the first president, Rev. Billy Graham served on the board and J. Howard Pew provided much of the funding.
Today Gordon-Conwell is a multi-denominational evangelical graduate school serving students on campuses in Hamilton and Boston, Mass., Charlotte, N.C., and Jacksonville, Fla., representing 94 denominations and 53 foreign countries, and dedicated to equipping students for “all facets of gospel outreach.” The seminary ranks fifth largest in size among the 261 seminaries accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.
Dr. Jesse Miranda, President of The Miranda Center and CEO of NHCLC, said, “NHCLC is excited to partner with Gordon-Conwell Seminary. Some decades ago, before Hispanics became the target of educational institutions, this seminary established the Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME) under the leadership of Dr. Eldin Villafane, providing not only a space but a home for Hispanics and other minorities in the Eastern coast. Today the Hispanic church in America is growing and maturing as a result of this prophetic and futuristic vision.”
Gordon-Conwell offers many degrees at the master’s and doctoral levels and has gained an international reputation for leading faculty in the areas of biblical studies, ministry and theology. Gordon-Conwell was a pioneer in providing theological education to Hispanic students, opening its Boston campus, the Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME), in 1976. Since then, hundreds of Hispanic students have enrolled at the campus, taking advantage of classes taught in Spanish and Portuguese.
Dr. Alvin Padilla, Dean of Hispanic Ministries and Associate Professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell, and former Academic Dean of the Boston campus, said, “We are committed to providing Hispanic-friendly graduate theological education programs that enable us to recruit, retain and graduate Hispanic-American students for service to the Church. We are excited about the future of the Hispanic-American church and its continued growth and influence, and are overjoyed to make our programs available to people who otherwise would not have access to a Gordon-Conwell education.”
Courses in English and Spanish are now also available at Gordon-Conwell’s other three campuses. In addition, the seminary has provided off-site vocational theological education to local Hispanic communities in New Jersey and Texas, and will introduce additional courses in Florida in 2012.