For Immediate Release
Contact: Holli S. Emore
January 7, 2009
Cherry Hill Seminary To Grant Master’s Degrees
COLUMBIA, SC — Cherry Hill Seminary is pleased to announce that the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education has notified the school of the religious exemption which allows the Seminary to grant master’s degrees. Beginning in September 2009 Cherry Hill Seminary will offer the following Master’s degrees.
- Master of Divinity (72 hours). Basic professional ministry degree, balancing Pagan academics, personal spiritual development, and Pagan ministerial practice. Most professional religious positions, such as chaplaincy, certain types of counseling, and other ministerial activities require a Master of Divinity degree.
- Master of Pagan Pastoral Care and Counseling (60 hours). Specialty degree, (pastoral care, religion and psychotherapy, or Pagan marriage and family) offers reflection, study and supervised practice which prepare the graduate to pursue various aspects of Pastoral Care and Counseling.
- Master of Pagan Ministry (48 hours). Preparation for specialized ministry in such areas as education, media, the arts or other practices, combines Pagan academics with practical and/or pastoral experience with diverse Pagan populations.
- Master of Pagan Studies (48 hours) Pagan academics degree, focusing on study and research in any one curriculum concentration major.
“As Paganism becomes an increasingly recognized and influential religion, we are delighted to be able to offer higher education for those who would serve as clergy professionals, whether as scholars, mentors, counselors, teachers, artists, organizers, leaders, chaplains and/or advocates in local, regional, national and international settings,” said the Academic Dean, Cynthia Jane Collins, M.Div., M.S. “A challenge we face is to integrate academic excellence, practical supervised training, individual responsibility and personal and community spiritual development from a Pagan perspective. We seek to enhance and expand our depth and breadth while finding ways to serve others, Pagans and non-Pagans alike. “
Originally founded in Vermont in 1997, and now based in South Carolina, Cherry Hill Seminary provides the only graduate program of Pagan seminary studies in the world. The distance education program holds twice-yearly intensive retreats, with all regular classes being held online. Faculty include such notables as Michael York, Ph.D., founder of the first Pagan graduate studies program in the world (at Bath Spa University, England), Grove Harris, M.Div., former managing director of the Harvard Religious Pluralism Project, now program director for the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and Dr. David Oringderff, founder of Sacred Well Congregation, sponsor of the well-known Wiccan circle at Fort Hood, Texas.
“We now enter a crucial period in our development,” said Kirk Thomas, Cherry Hill Seminary Board of Directors President. “Our next hurdle is to meet the requirements for accreditation, a process which normally takes several years.” Thomas, current Vice-Archdruid for Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF), noted that Cherry Hill students tend to be mature adults with considerable life experience, who often already possess graduate degrees and professional credentials in such fields as social work, counseling, or psychology.
By spring, Cherry Hill Seminary will announce an invitation to apply for admission to the master’s programs, including transition information for existing certificate program students who wish to pursue a master’s degree. The rollout will include information about a new Department of Pagan Community Education for Lifelong Learning (PCELL), an enhanced replacement of the current certificate program.
“Recent studies such as the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life clearly indicate the rapid growth of Pagan practice throughout the country and beyond,” said Holli Emore, Executive Director for Cherry Hill Seminary. “With that growth comes the acute need for individuals who are adequately prepared to provide Pagan ministerial services, counseling, chaplaincy, and community leadership. As the modern Pagan movement comes of age, it is important to set standards of excellence for ministry. Cherry Hill Seminary is at the forefront of setting those standards.”
Cherry Hill Seminary is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, incorporated in the state of South Carolina, providing education in Pagan ministry and studies to students throughout the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and other English-speaking areas. For more information, visit www.cherryhillseminary, or contact Holli Emore at 888.503.4131, CHS@cherryhillseminary.org.