The Evangelical Theological Seminary at Matanzas (SET)

October 2016 is the 70th anniversary of the Evangelical Theological Seminary at Matanzas (SET) which was founded by Presbyterians, Methodists and Episcopalians and still serves the broader Protestant church in Cuba.

SET seeks to provide a high quality, diversified theological education program to prepare church leaders to meet the challenges of growth in existing local congregations and in pursuing new church developments throughout Cuba.

seminario-89The seminary contributes to the academic, ecumenical, ethical, moral and spiritual formation of those who feel called by God to ordained ministry and other ministries within the Church and in the training of those who wish to serve in the work of Lord in the wider universal ministry, through a variety of degree, diploma and certificate programs.


Founding and Location
The seminary was founded on October 1, 1946, and is located in the city of Matanzas, 60 miles east of Havana and 20 miles west of Varadero.

The city of Matanzas is known both as the “city of bridges” because of the number of river crossings and the “Athens of Cuba” for its rich cultural and intellectual heritage. From the the seminary’s hillside location there are beautiful and sweeping vistas of a large part of the city and the bay of Matanzas.

Matanzas bay once saw the arrival of Africans as slaves to Cuba and other Caribbean islands. A U.N. World Heritage museum that traces the history and Caribbean slave trade routes is located near the water in an old fortress that once held slaves in its dungeon.

Affiliations
SET is affiliated with the Ecumenical Theological Education Community of Latin American and Caribbean (CETELA), the Latin American Association of Institutions of Theological Education (ALIET), the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) and the World Council of Churches (WCC). The Seminary also has links with the International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education (International Association for Promotion of Christian Higher Education).

Governing Structure
The seminary is governed by a Board of Directors, representative, legislative, consultative and executives composed of ten members of the founding Cuban churches: Presbyterian-Reformed (4) Episcopal (4), and a representative of the Fraternity of Baptist Churches (1) and the Society of Friends, the “Quakers” (1).

The faculty is composed of full professors appointed by each of the member churches of the Board. The Senate is composed of the entire faculty, which includes owners and guest lecturers, all of a high professional level within their respective fields.

Degree, Diploma and Certificate Programs
In 2015, over 500 students participated in SET degree programs. On campus, a BA and MA programs are offered as well as diploma and certificate programs.

The seminary offers the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Theology
  • Bachelor of Religious Studiesdownload_edited-1
  • Master of Theology
  • Master of Religious Studies
  • Licensiatura in Theology

The following diploma and certificate programs are also offered:

  • Biblical-Theological Training
  • Pentecostal Studies
  • Diakonia Program
  • Biblical-Pastoral Institute

Longer, non-residential versions of these studies can be followed for students who are unable to attend classes full-time. Newer programs in Christian education, lay leadership training, pastoral care in prisons, and specialized training for ministry with the hearing-impared and disabled are expanding options at the seminary, as they respond to congregational needs. An extension program takes the seminary’s ministry to seven different provinces.

SET has a School of Christian Education, adhering to the Professorship of Pastoral Theology. This school also offers open courses, such as “The Music of Christian Education.”

The Distance Learning/ Extension Program is offered for pastors and laity who seek to improve their biblical and theological knowledge to attend classes off-campus. This program was brought to life over five years ago to “extend the presence of the seminary to other spaces.” It allows students to remain with their communities of faith while expanding their knowledge and understanding through seminary coursework.

SET’s largest nonresidential program is called “Biblical and Theological Training for Leaders.” This highly ecumenical program gathers students from local churches for 12 courses on Bible and theology. Classes are taught by seminary graduates wherever possible.

The Seminary Library
SET’s library is currently composed of over 22,500 books plus an automated database. Users are trained with the automated system and are then able to conduct their own research. The following services are also offered through the library:

  • libraryReading room
  • Lending circulation and reserve
  • Interlibrary lending
  • Reference
  • Bibliographies
  • Bulletin “BIBLIOSET”
  • Index of theses

The library is supported by The Matanzas Seminary Book Fund, which also strives to provide learning materials and a set of books to each member of the graduating class.

Financial Support
Salaries for professors and staff are very low. The largest expenses that the seminary faces are providing food for the seminary community and transportation for faculty and students, most of whom serve a congregation during the weekends.

Total yearly cost for a student’s study is about $3,500 for the academic year of which only about $175-$200 is typically contributed by the local church that has sent that student for training. Approximately 40 percent of the seminary’s support comes from partner congregations and presbyteries in the United States.

Funds are needed for scholarships for the expanding number of Cuban Christians who are interested in a deeper theological and biblical foundation, program development, library acquisitions and increasing administration and faculty needs. Gifts to this project may also assist with necessary related project expenses that are essential to the successful completion of this project, such as administrative support.

Individuals, congregations and presbyteries who wish to contribute to the seminary may do so in several ways:

  1.  The Ofelia Ortega Endowment Fund for overall expenses of the seminary via the Presbyterian Foundation.  Contributions increase the principal for the future of the seminary and the interests are paid out each year to the Seminary.

    Make checks payable to:

    The Presbyterian Foundation
    200 East 12th Street
    Jeffersonville, IN 47130.

    With the following on the memo line:
    The Ofelia Ortega Endowment Fund, F94701

  2.  Adelante Student Scholarship Endowment Fund for supporting students from other Latin American or Caribbean countries. The interests are paid out annually by the Presbyterian Foundation.

    Make checks payable to:

    The Presbyterian Foundation
    200 East 12th Street
    Jeffersonville, IN 47130.

    With the following on the memo line:

    Adelante , SET, F52003

  3.  Extra Commitment Opportunity Account for the Evangelical Theological Seminary at Matanzas (SET) via Presbyterian World Mission, the balance of which is paid out annually.


    Make checks payable to:

    Presbyterian World Mission
    P.O. Box 643700
    Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700

    With the following on the memo line:
    Evangelical Theological Seminary, Matanzas, E862510

To visit the Evangelical Theological Seminary at Matanzas website, click here.

 

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