March 21, 2012

09 CN: Evangelism Training Center Planned for Adventist Campus

Evangelism Training Center Planned
for Adventist Campus

Atlantic Union College still seeks return; center is unrelated move (Posted Mar. 22, 2012)

BY MARK A. KELLNER, news editor

The July 2011 suspension of programs at Atlantic Union College (AUC) in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, left the Adventist community in the northeastern United States without a tertiary school of its own for the first time in 90 years, since degree-granting authority was given by the state in 1922. Now leaders of the sponsoring Atlantic Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists are taking steps to reinvigorate the campus, which first opened in 1882 as an academy.

2012 1509NewsAUC

FOUNDERS’ HALL: This building, on the campus of church-owned Atlantic Union College in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, is envisioned as the future home of the Northeast Evangelism Training School (NETS), operated by the Atlantic Union Conference. Separately, an application to reopen AUC as a degree-granting school is pending with state higher education officials. [PHOTO: Lois King]

On February 16 AUC’s board of trustees announced that an application had been filed with the state’s Department of Higher Education (DHE) in advance of a January 1, 2012, deadline.

“The application process with the DHE is expected to take several months,” a statement indicated. “Part of the application process included the       completion of the financial audit for ?the 2010-2011 school year. This too was completed and submitted prior to the deadline. The external auditor reported an unqualified (the best type of) status for the audit,” the trustees’ statement said.

Trustees said the school applied for permission to offer undergraduate degrees in two areas: (1) Theology—“to train students in theology and pastoral ministry to serve in local churches throughout the union territory; and (2)health science/biology—because of AUC’s prior outstanding track record in health and biological science programs, including nursing.”

At the same time, leaders of the Atlantic Union Conference said they have a plan to use Founders’ Hall, a building on the South Lancaster campus, for “an evangelistic and gospel medical missionary training school,” a statement from union president Donald G. King and the executive committee indicated. They said the “Northeast Evangelism Training School (NETS) is envisioned           as a nonaccredited . . . diploma pastoral and lay training institute” designed “to equip each student to become an effective soul-winning witness for Jesus.” (Founders’ Hall is the oldest Seventh-day Adventist educational building in the world, built in 1884 with funds from many donors, including church cofounder Ellen G. White.)

The school plans to “offer short-term intensives for pastors” as well as “a six- and nine-month evangelistic medical missionary training course for lay people,” the announcement said. No start date for the new program was revealed.
The Atlantic Union’s Web site is