Fuller Launches First-ever Master of Arts in Chaplaincy – Pasadena Now

Pasadena-based 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 diverse 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 combines theory and practice.

According to Fuller’s president, David Emmanuel Goatley, the new program incorporates real-world contexts as textual resources, drawing on the seminary’s unique capacity to integrate missiology, theology, psychology and therapy. The program also emphasizes priest well-being, helping students serve from a place of foundation and peace.

“This is a unique opportunity to prepare for ministry among people in the critical places of life,” said Fuller President David Emanuel Goutley.

The Master of Arts program will be based in Houston, with most courses completed online. However, students will have the opportunity to gather with their cohort for occasional intensives on the Fuller Texas campus for dynamic personal learning and reflection.

Mary Glenn, program co-chair and assistant professor of chaplaincy practice and community development, praised the program, saying it was the degree she had hoped for when she became a priest.

Glenn emphasized cohort learning, which creates a community of fellow priests to travel within and beyond the degree program.

Overall, the launch of the Master of Chaplaincy program represents Fuller Theological Seminary’s commitment to meeting the needs of the church and society by offering students a unique opportunity to prepare for ministry among people in critical places of life.

“Priesthood involves being present to yourself and to others as you recognize God’s voice and movement. The city of Houston is culturally and theologically diverse, and our students will be able to engage that diversity while attending to the process of formation and professional learning,” said Jacqueline Williams, who is based in Fuller, Texas as an assistant professor of preaching and chaplaincy practice. “Fuller is uniquely positioned to bring together the theory, theology and practice of chaplaincy against the vibrant backdrop of Houston’s innovative and authentic spirit.”

This practice-oriented degree was created by three faculty members with extensive experience in various areas of chaplaincy: military, hospital, and law enforcement. The rigorous curriculum intentionally addresses all 31 core competencies shared among the major certifying chaplains in the US, including the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and the Association of Professional Chaplains. Additionally, the program’s distinctive focus on chaplain wellness enables students to learn best practices for sustainable, healthy careers in ministry.

“Fuller’s Master of Arts in Priesthood is a unique and much-needed offering in clergy education,” said Marek Ireland, associate assistant professor of theology. “Designed from the ground up by practicing priests, this program goes beyond mere cognitive training for the priesthood and is designed to holistically develop students to be firmly grounded in the exercise of ministry of presence in the world. This is an amazing opportunity for those who want to do ministry outside of the traditional church setting.”

Fuller’s Master of Arts in Priesthood is also ideal for those already serving as priests who want to enhance their career opportunities and deepen their ministry. “I am thrilled to be traveling alongside students who are already responding to the call to chaplaincy,” said Dr. Williams. “I am also excited to work with those who have a hunch about a calling and want to walk with others in this process of discernment and learning.”

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