How the Charlotte Campus Came to Be...

The Charlotte campus provides students with a unique learning opportunity born out of the vision of faith communities in both North and South Carolina ten years ago.  These Presbyterian leaders, both clergy and lay people, discerned a need for a local seminary to provide for education of future pastors and educators in the church. Their vision was to enable non-traditional students with a call to ministry to pursue this theological training without having to relocate to a traditional residential seminary. From their vision and with their support, the Charlotte program took root.

Keep reading to find out more about the events and circumstances that shaped the Charlotte program...


Over ten years ago a task force was appointed by Charlotte Presbytery, with representation from the four contiguous presbyteries, which reported:


• There were 133,000 Presbyterians within a 100-mile radius of Charlotte
• Larger percentages of seminary students were second career students
• Local access to theological education was highly influential in a candidate’s decision to attend seminary
• More African-American Presbyterians were in Charlotte than any other place in the country
• Many then-candidates under care of Charlotte Presbytery were attending a non-PCUSA seminary


In order to meet this need, these leaders answered the challenge to establish a seminary in Charlotte: 


• Five presbyteries (Charlotte, Salem, Western Carolina, Coastal Carolina, and Providence) invited (then) Union-PSCE to offer a part-time,  non-residential program in Charlotte
• Queens University (then Queens College) offered space for offices and classrooms at minimal cost for weekend and evening classes
• In May 2000, Union-PSCE voted unanimously to begin the Charlotte program
• Two degrees were offered: M.Div. and M.A.C.E. (A dual degree M.Div./M.A.C.E. has since been added)
• Four full-time faculty were hired, augmented by adjunct faculty from area:

        o Richard N. Boyce – Preaching and Pastoral Leadership
        o Thomas W. Currie III – Theology, Dean of UPSem Charlotte
        o Pamela Mitchell Legg – Christian Education
        o Rodney S. Sadler, Jr. – Bible
        o Richard B. Vinson – New Testament (Recently added to the faculty as an Affiliate Professor)


The seminary soon became a reality:
 

• Classes began in February 2002 with a Genesis cohort of 22 students
• An additional cohort was admitted in the fall of 2002 and each subsequent fall
• Full accreditation was achieved in 2005
• A regional presence was established: students have come from 13 presbyteries and 7 states


As of 2013, the Charlotte program has 96 graduates who are serving over 48 churches in 8 states in the United States and in South Korea:  


• Graduates are serving as solo pastors, associate pastors, Christian educators, and in other validated ministries outside the parish
• The Charlotte program has 9 African-American graduates, all engaged in ministry (4 in the PCUSA)
• The Charlotte program has 2 Hispanic and 2 Asian graduates, all engaged in ministry
• Students from other denominations also attend classes in Charlotte, particularly those in the Baptist, Methodist and Lutheran traditions