The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Nash Correctional Institution in Nashville, N.C. graduated their first class of seminarians this spring. Twenty-six men received their bachelor degrees in pastoral ministry. Additionally, another 66 men are enrolled in SEBTS programming.
Despite a COVID-19 outbreak at the prison temporarily leading to a suspension of fall classes, the students enrolled remained excited about the opportunity to get their education.
“When COVID spread through the prison at the end of the year, most of our students were sick. Thankfully, they all recovered and are getting back to a sense of normalcy in the classroom,” Kabler said. “Maintaining hope with the ever-changing COVID restrictions remains a constant challenge for people in the program. Students are concerned with new prison requirements to receive the vaccine for continuation in the program. Additionally, there are a lot of unknowns and changes that make program management difficult.”
The partnership between the seminary and the correctional facility has been so successful, the seminary has now begun a second program at a women’s facility. Launched in August 2020 at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women (NCCIW) in Raleigh, the women’s program currently has a dozen women enrolled. Both programs offer two- and four-year degrees in philosophy, politics and economics.
If the women’s site goes well, the North Carolina Corrections Department is considering expanding it to several other facilities.
Source: Baptist Press