|Costa Rica partnership to train Hispanic ministers|
A UMNS Report
By Vicki Brown*
June 26, 2007
A partnership with a university in Costa Rica to train Hispanic United
Methodist pastors in the United States addresses a critical new building
block in efforts to develop educated leaders for The United Methodist
The Rev. Jerome King Del Pino
Under an agreement between Latin American Biblical University and the
United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, a pilot
program will launch in August with an initial enrollment of about 15
students. The agreement was signed in May.
"The signing of this partnership is an affirmation of the global
nature of theological education and training that is integral to a
leadership development system which transcends regional and national
boundaries," said the Rev. Jerome King Del Pino, the board's chief
"The board seeks to foster new and unique opportunities for United
Methodist Hispanic pastors to receive the highest quality of theological
education in preparation for the challenges and opportunities they face
in this 21st century."
The agreement will allow U.S. pastors to complete a bachelor of
theology degree at a Spanish-speaking university by receiving credits
through several avenues, including online courses, on-campus classes,
College Level Examination Program tests and credit for previous academic
work and course-of-study classes.
"The signing of this partnership is an
affirmation of the global nature of theological education and training
that is integral to a leadership development system which transcends
regional and national boundaries."
-The Rev. Jerome King Del Pino
"The purpose of this partnership is to empower the candidates in
fulfilling the basic requirements for membership in their annual
conferences and to open new avenues for additional theological education
at the master of divinity level," said the Rev. Saul Espino, the
board’s director of retreats and specialized ministries support.
Latin American Biblical University will design a degree completion
plan for each candidate, coordinate both distance and residency courses
and monitor students' progress. The school will have final say in
awarding of academic credits for course-of-study work, experiential
learning, training modules, continuing education workshops or seminars.
The Board of Higher Education and Ministry will coordinate the
program; provide scholarships for academic courses on campus, lodging
and meals; monitor outcomes on an annual basis; and establish a
Professor Violeta Rocha, president of Latin American Biblical
University in San Jose, said the university is pleased with the
"The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the Latin
American Biblical University have met the challenge by designing a
university bachelor’s degree program in theological and biblical
sciences, with theoretical quality and academic flexibility so the
pastors continue their formation without leaving their pastoral work too
much," said Rocha.
program reflects the importance that both the board and the university
give to the theological formation of pastors in ministry, she added.
Espino said the program is unique and will foster distance education
across borders to take maximum advantage of the educational
opportunities in both Costa Rica and the United States.
Del Pino added the agency places the highest importance on training a
new generation of Spanish-speaking United Methodist pastors. "This
agreement will take advantage of multiple educational modalities in
order to accelerate the educational training of UM Hispanic/Latino/a
pastors," he said.
To learn more or to apply, contact Saul Espino at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Brown is an associate editor and writer in the Office of
Interpretation, United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.
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