ENVOY FEB 2011
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Same School - New Name
by Dr. Michael L. Sweeney, President
I have frequently been asked about our name: Emmanuel School of Religion. Fifty years ago, a “school of religion” was essentially the same as a “divinity school,” that is, a seminary-like institution attached to a university, with, perhaps, a somewhat broader curriculum than the average seminary. And even though Emmanuel has always been a free-standing seminary, because of our unique history and the group of people who founded the school, we ended up with that name. It has served us well for 46 years.
But the name no longer communicates the same thing in a society where “religion” is not necessarily “Christian” and is often seen in a negative light. We get calls from people who either want to put their second-grader in classes here or want to study Islam or Hinduism. I have spoken to people who never considered enrolling here because they had no idea what we were. It seems that the name that worked so well in the past is now creating some confusion.
During our Fall Board meeting, the suggestion came from the Associates that we look into revising our name to better express our mission in the 21st century. The Trustees put it on their agenda and voted to change the name of the school to Emmanuel Christian Seminary. We have already done the official documentation with the State of Tennessee as well as our accrediting agencies and the Department of Education. This year’s graduating class will be the last class with “Emmanuel School of Religion” on their diplomas. Starting June 1, 2011, we will be “Emmanuel Christian Seminary.”
This will mean changing signs, letterhead, official seals, and even website and email addresses. Our staff is hard at work making this happen now. In fact, you can already visit us at www.ecs.edu. But be assured, we will continue to be the same fine school with the same quality and values – just with a name that people today will be able to relate to.
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