By Bob Allen
Jeffrey Willetts, founding dean and former vice president at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies in Arlington, Va., has been named dean of Mercer University’s James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology.
Willetts, currently professor of divinity at the suburban Washington, D.C., school affiliated with the Baptist General Association of Virginia, succeeds Alan Culpepper, the founding dean of McAfee in Atlanta who retired this summer after 20 years.
Willetts, a 1985 graduate of Campbell University with a master’s degree from Yale University and a doctorate from the University of Wales, Swansea, takes over officially July 1. Rob Nash, a McAfee professor and former global missions leader with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, is filling in as interim dean.
Willetts joined the John Leland Center, a school opened in 1998 to provide theological education opportunities for ministers of various denominations without leaving churches they serve in the Northern Virginia area, during its first academic year. The school is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and in 2014 reported a fall enrollment of 52.
McAfee, one of 15 partner theological education programs of the Decatur, Ga.,-based Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, enrolled 200 students, with a full-time equivalent of 130.
In addition to his post at Leland, Willetts also serves as part-time pastor of Calvary Hill Baptist Church in Fairfax, Va.
His spouse, Elizabeth Willetts, is also an ordained minister. They are the parents of three adult children.