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Theology school expands to Henry County

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Mercer University's McAfee School of Theology will offer courses this fall in McDonough, officials announced this week.

"The McAfee School of Theology understands itself as a resource for ministers, churches and students preparing for various ministerial vocations," said R. Alan Culpepper, dean of the McAfee School of Theology. The Atlanta-based theology school is named for James and Carolyn McAfee. "Knowing that many students in south Atlanta and middle Georgia are working, and find it difficult to commute to Mercer's Atlanta campus," Culpepper said, "McAfee will offer master's-level courses, for the first time this fall, at Mercer's Regional Academic Center in Henry County."

Mercer officials point to increasing demand in the Southern Crescent as a primary reason the theology school is expanding its reach.

"Through the years, we've been getting a lot of inquiries of the [theology] program on the south side of town," said Ryan Clark, director of admissions for the McAfee School of Theology. McAfee has a total of 250 students enrolled in its programs for the master's degree and doctorate degree, according to Clark.

"With courses being offered in McDonough, we expect to enroll more students from that area," he said. "We're hoping to enroll about 30 students in McDonough."

McAfee will offer three evening courses at Mercer's Regional Academic Center, located at 160 Henry Parkway in McDonough. The courses include pastoral care, taught by Skip Johnson, on Mondays; faces of Jesus: A Global Perspective, with Ron Johnson, on Tuesdays, and Old Testament l, with Douglas Watson, on Thursdays.

Each three-hour course is once a week, and fulfills requirements for McAfee's two-year Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, and three-year Master of Divinity degree programs, said Clark. There will also be two online courses available in the coming school year -- one in the fall, Hebrew Exegesis l, taught by David Garber, with an online meeting on Thursday evenings; and one in the spring, Church History II, taught by Loyd Allen.

"They're all entry-level master's degree course work," Clark added. "It allows people working full time to get started on seminary without having to commute an hour and a half across town."

Classes in the upcoming 14-week fall semester begin on Monday, Aug. 23, for the graduate-degree program. Orientation is set for Aug. 20.

Clark said McAfee School of Theology applications are due by July 1. Application information can be retrieved by calling the McAfee School of Theology Admissions Office at (678) 547-6474, or by visiting the web site at www.mercer.edu/theology.

"McAfee School of Theology is a great place for students who want to explore their sense of call, and who want to embrace their Christian tradition," Clark said. "It is a place for them to grow both personally and professionally, go the next step in their faith and in their ministry, and engage on a deeper level, their tradition, the biblical text and the practical aspects of ministry."