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Seminaries continue to attract older students Theological education Insights into Religion

The latest enrollment figures for U.S. and Canadian theological schools show a decline or stagnation in every age group except 50- to 64-year-olds. Among these students are successful executives retiring early and eager for a second career.

 

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Newspapers are a bit thinner than they used to be, but a simple Google search shows that there’s no shortage of religion news online. However, choosing credible websites is a new challenge.

Nevell Owens remembers when he first felt called to pursue a doctorate in theology. He was working as a criminal prosecutor when he looked into the eyes of a 13-year-old boy accused of murder. He saw that they were empty, and he wanted to know: Where was God in the life of this boy?

“I knew the boy’s mother was active in church,” Owens says. “I wanted to know, why isn’t the minister here? Why aren’t members of the church here?”

Seminaries continue to attract older students Theological education Insights into Religion

The latest enrollment figures for U.S. and Canadian theological schools show a decline or stagnation in every age group except 50- to 64-year-olds. Among these students are successful executives retiring early and eager for a second career.

Faculty members at theological schools are highly satisfied with their jobs. They are bidding higher for a select group of students. But those students are incurring far more educational debt than in the past. Those are among the conclusions of three studies. The studies, which were completed before the economic downturn,  update conclusions drawn 10 years ago on the subjects of theological faculty, seminary financing and student debt. They contain much good news and much that will require further conversation and closer study.

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