Baptist Seminary of Kentucky and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida and the Caribbean Islands have launched a partnership aimed at equipping individuals for ministry in CBF congregations in Florida and its neighboring islands.
The partnership was approved last week by the Representative Assembly of CBF Florida and the Caribbean and by BSK’s board of trustees.
The relationship will be guided by a six-member advisory team, which will include three members each from BSK and CBF Florida and the Caribbean. The CBF regional group will establish and promote a theological education fund to provide scholarships for students from Florida and the Caribbean who attend BSK.
The focus of the partnership will be on students who want to study where they live and serve. Students will be able to complete the master of divinity degree and graduate certificates through BSK’s virtual classrooms. Online non-credit options offered through BSK’s Flourish Center also will be available.
“We needed a program that allowed for distance learning as opposed to residential study,” said Ray Johnson, coordinator for CBF Florida and the Caribbean Islands. “Florida, along with the Caribbean Islands, is expansive and extraordinarily diverse. Thus, we needed a partnership that was nimble and able to contextualize ministry in time and space.”
In addition to BSK’s commitment to distance education and contextualized learning, Johnson said he was attracted to BSK because of its “church centric” focus that is nurtured by “scholars who love the church.”
When he visited Kentucky in December, Johnson said he learned more about BSK’s existing partnerships. He heard from professors at Simmons College of Kentucky, a historically Black institution, and BSK about the collaboration between the two schools. He also was briefed by BSK President David Cassady about BSK’s partnership with CBF Virginia, which last year selected BSK as its theological education partner for distance learning.
Cassady said he was “thrilled” to count CBF Florida and the Caribbean Islands among BSK’s partners. “Students from this diverse region will enjoy a dynamic context for pursuing theological education and ministry,” he said. “I appreciate the shared vision between BSK and CBF Florida and the Caribbean around the value of theological education that is centered in one’s place of ministry.”
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