John Coffman Center- Developing Missional Leadership
The John Coffman Center at Eastern Mennonite Seminary offers non-traditional, experiential learning that combines creative study with practical mission and service in a cross-cultural setting. In close cooperation with Mennonite mission agencies, the John Coffman Center has launched the Biblical Lands Educational Seminars and Service program. This unique graduate study program focuses on the missional leadership of Jesus and Paul in the first century Roman Empire as relevant and effective models for leaders in the globalized world of the 21st century.
By offering key courses to people where they are serving, the John Coffman Center facilitates creative missiological reflection among an emerging generation of leaders who are already responding to the call of Jesus to go into the world with the good news. To make this kind of study possible, the John Coffman Center administers the Samuel Grant, a full-tuition, per-course scholarship that makes BLESS and other online Eastern Mennonite Seminary courses available at no cost for persons in a mission or service assignment.
In addition to the BLESS program, the John Coffman Center serves the church and mission organizations through conferences, consultations, teaching, seminars and other specialized services in the area of missions, missional leadership, evangelism, church development, and cross-cultural studies.
Extension Program in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
The Pastoral and Theological Studies program at EMU-Lancaster is approved by the Pennsylvania Dept of Education for the MDiv and for the Certificates in Ministry Leadership and Theological. Lancaster students can pursue the MACL too, but at the moment they receive that degree through EMS. We are currently seeking approval for the MACL from PDE and expect to receive it soon.
The curriculum at the Pennsylvania extension site matches the curriculum on main campus while making minor adjustments for size and setting. The extension focuses on core curriculum courses, about six each semester, that are deemed “Anabaptist-critical” for leadership in Mennonite and Anabaptist-related congregations. emu.edu/lancaster/seminary/courses
The extension in Pennsylvania functions with broad administrative support from main campus. This includes but is not limited to –
- Admissions: The EMS Director of Admissions facilitates the approval for admission of all students – part-time, certificate and degree-seeking – according to the established policies of EMS
- Registrar: The EMS Associate Dean and Registrar handle official academic record-keeping and course rating decisions pertaining to students at the Pennsylvania site.
- Billing and Bookkeeping: All financial transactions for the extension are handled on main campus in Virginia – student billing, faculty and staff payroll, audits, etc.
Financial Aid: Students at the extension are eligible for Church Matching Grants. Students need to be admitted to a degree program and enrolled for at least five (5) credit hours in a semester.
Collaboration: A unique feature of the extension program in Pennsylvania is the collaborative agreements developed with nearby ATS-accredited seminaries.
- Evangelical Theological Seminary, Myerstown, PA
- Lancaster Theological Seminary, Lancaster, PA
Students who wish to take courses for credit offered through EMU-Lancaster are admitted for study through the normal admissions process for the Seminary. They receive EMU identification numbers and are eligible to receive library and information services.
Library Services: EMU-Lancaster is supported by the Hartzler Library on the university main campus in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The catalog, a wide variety of periodicals, reference works and database search capabilities are available online. Books and library materials are regularly transported between the main campus and the Lancaster, Pennsylvania center. Hartzler Library is the primary library resource for students at the extension.
In addition, EMU-Lancaster has entered into formal agreements for access privileges and services with three libraries containing extensive theological resources. These libraries are within 30 minutes driving distance of most students and are open during regular business hours and some evenings and weekends. They are each staffed by library professionals equipped to assist the research and reference needs of students.
- Philip Schaff Library at Lancaster Theological Seminary
- Lancaster Mennonite Historical Library attached to the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society
Information Systems and Technological Support: The offices and classroom at the extension in Lancaster are linked to the main campus computer network. Various databases, student records, budgets, instructional technologies are all accessible from EMU-Lancaster. The Information Systems department for main campus monitors and maintains the information technology in Pennsylvania. There is a high speed wireless connection to the internet for students and faculty.
Small is Beautiful: In addition to the library, technology and instructional services identified above, students in the Seminary’s extension program enjoy the benefits of a small program. Students and faculty function on a first-name basis; there is a high level of familiarity and collegiality among participants. Students appreciate the individualized attention they receive from instructors and support staff. Classes meet in the evenings or on weekends.
Students in Pennsylvania are often non-traditional, part-time students, who are employed in a ministry setting or the marketplace. There are fewer structures for organized student life on campus. However, it is common for students to take turns bringing food to share with the class. Many of students also interact in other ministry settings.