[Trinity School for Ministry -- Press Release] Trinity School for Ministry announced today that it will offer its Master of Arts (Religion) degree (MAR) in an entirely online format. In the past, Trinity has offered all but four of its MAR classes online, though students were expected to come to the Ambridge, Pennsylvania, campus for a portion of their credits.
“We are meeting a need for a huge number of people who are called to ministry,” said Mr. Geoffrey Mackey, Director of Distance Learning. “Very often these students are already actively engaged in ministry, and for financial, family, work, or vocational related reasons are simply unable to come to campus.”
The Master of Arts (Religion) degree (MAR) imparts a sound knowledge of theology to prepare the student for lay ministry or further study. Students may choose from three foci: Biblical Studies, Christian History and Theology, or Christian Ministry and Missiology. Some students use this degree to prepare for further graduate study, and others use it to provide a Christian foundation for the work they do in the marketplace and in their places of worship.
Trinity is not a newcomer in the world of online education. “We have been engaged in online education for 10 years, learning and growing all the time,” observed the Rev. Dr. Leander Harding, Dean of Seminary Advancement. “We’ve got a strong team here at Trinity that is really well positioned to integrate and make the most of the innovations and improvements that are coming down the road.”
This past June, the Association of Theological Schools, the accrediting body for seminaries in the United States and Canada, decided to release institutions from its previous residency requirement for the Master of Arts Degree, allowing schools to offer the degree entirely online. Seeing this as a way to extend the reach of the school, Trinity’s faculty chose to move forward with this opportunity. “The MAR will now be available online completely,” said Dr. Mark Stevenson, Trinity’s Academic Dean, “but it will continue to be available here residentially, and so it’s a great opportunity for people to take all of it online, all of it residentially, or ideally, do some online and some residentially.”
“The online MAR gives us all sorts of opportunities to say ‘yes’ to people” reflected the Very Rev. Dr. Justyn Terry, Trinity’s Dean and President. “We have an MAR degree, fully approved and accredited, that will provide a substantial seminary education to people where they are, with the quality and the characteristics that you expect from Trinity School for Ministry. We can partner with you in your parish, diocese, or ministry. We can work out something that is going to fit your context.”
“Our vision now,” remarked Dr. Harding, “is a premier face to face experience that will be available to scores of people, online masters degree programs that will be available to hundreds of people, certificate programs online that will available to thousands of people, and maybe tens of thousands of people using catechetical [educational] material that will be produced by the school.”
Trinity School for Ministry is an evangelical seminary in the Anglican tradition. Begun in 1976, the seminary has trained more than 1,000 graduates and many others who serve in ministries all over the world. As a global center for Christian formation, Trinity continues to produce outstanding leaders who can plant, renew, and grow churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ.