Pasadena-headquartered Fuller Theological Seminary has launched a new degree program, the Master of Arts in Chaplaincy (MAC), which aims to provide a holistic approach to training students called to chaplaincy in various settings such as health care, schools, law enforcement, and corporations. The program consists of 64 units and is designed to offer a comprehensive educational experience that blends theory and practice.
According to Fuller’s president, David Emmanuel Goatley, the new program incorporates real-world contexts as textual resources, drawing upon the seminary’s unique capacity for integrating missiology, theology, psychology, and therapy. The program also emphasizes chaplain wellness, helping students to serve from a place of groundedness and peace.
“This is a unique opportunity to prepare for ministry among people in the critical places of life,” said Fuller President David Emmanuel Goatley.
The MA in Chaplaincy program will be based in Houston, with most coursework completed online. However, students will have the opportunity to gather with their cohort for occasional intensives at the Fuller Texas campus for dynamic in-person learning and reflection.
Mary Glenn, the program’s co-chair and assistant professor of the practice of chaplaincy and community development, praised the program, stating that it is the degree she hoped for when she became a chaplain.
Glenn emphasized the cohort learning, which creates a community of fellow chaplains to journey within and beyond the degree program.
Overall, the launch of the MA in Chaplaincy program represents Fuller Theological Seminary’s commitment to responding to the needs of the church and society, offering a unique opportunity for students to prepare for ministry among people in the critical places of life.
“Chaplaincy involves being present to yourself and others while discerning God’s voice and movement. The city of Houston is culturally and theologically diverse, and our students will be able to engage this diversity while being present in their formation and vocational process,” said Jaclyn Williams, who is based at Fuller Texas as assistant professor of the practice of preaching and chaplaincy. “Fuller is uniquely positioned to bring together the theory, theology, and practice of chaplaincy within the vibrant backdrop of Houston’s innovative and authentic spirit.”
This practice-focused degree was created by three faculty members with deep experience in different fields of chaplaincy: military, hospital, and law enforcement. The rigorous curriculum intentionally addresses all 31 core competencies shared amongst the major chaplaincy certifying bodies in the US, including the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and the Association of Professional Chaplains. Additionally, the program’s distinctive focus on the wellness of the chaplain allows for students to learn best practices for sustainable, healthy ministry careers.
“Fuller’s MA in Chaplaincy is a unique and much-needed offering in chaplaincy education,” said Mareque Ireland, affiliate assistant professor of theology. “Designed from the ground up by chaplain practitioners, this program goes beyond just learning cognitively about chaplaincy and is created to holistically develop students to be firmly grounded in their exercise of ministry of presence in the world. This is an amazing opportunity for those who want to do ministry outside a traditional church setting.”
Fuller’s MA in Chaplaincy is also ideal for those already ministering as chaplains who want to advance their career opportunities and deepen their ministry. “I’m excited to journey alongside students already answering the call to chaplaincy,” said Dr. Williams. “I’m also excited to work with those who have an inkling of a call and want to walk with others in that discernment and learning process.”