Johnson C. Smith Seminary at a Glance
Professor of missiology at Johnson C. Smith Seminary trains church leaders to serve in both local and global contexts
Congregations don’t have to choose between local and global missions, but should understand God’s mission as it relates to both, the Rev. Dr. Marsha Snulligan Haney tries to impress upon her students at Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary. Read more
700 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SW
Atlanta, GA 30314
Students: 26 (full-time)
Faculty: 21 full-time (6 Presbyterians), 20 part-time (13 Presbyterians)
Master of Arts in Christian Education, Master of Arts in Church Music, Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Theology in Pastoral Care and Counseling
Certificate in Practical Theology, Online Distance Education Program, Black Women in Church and Society, Wells of Wholeness Pastoral Counseling Center, Biblical Studies Club
The mission of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary (JCSTS) is to serve God revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. The seminary's particular calling is to prepare leadership for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) out of the African-American heritage and membership of our denomination.
Seminarians are educated and trained for ordained ministry through the unique resources of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), a consortium of six historically Black Protestant seminaries of which JCSTS is the PC(USA) constituent. Through the ITC, the seminary also provides graduate theological education for Presbyterian and other Reformed church leaders from developing countries, particularly Africa and the Caribbean.
History and Location
The seminary traces its roots to the religion department of Freedman's College, founded in 1867 by Presbyterians in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1923 a generous gift from Mrs. Jane Berry Smith led to the institution being named Johnson C. Smith University in honor of her late husband. In 1969 the seminary moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to become the Presbyterian constituent of ITC.
JCSTS is located in the heart of the Atlanta University Center, the world's largest center for private Black higher education, just west of downtown Atlanta. A city rich with religious, educational and cultural diversity, Atlanta is also a center of commerce and transportation. It consistently ranks among the world's most pleasant places to live and is lavish with Southern hospitality.
What programs does Johnson C. Smith offer?
Through the ITC, Johnson C. Smith Seminary offers six degree programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Church Music, Master of Arts in Christian Education, Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Theology and dual degrees. Other special programs and ministry opportunities include the Institute of Church Administration and Management, FaithFactor (a resource for Faith-Based Community Transformation), Religious Heritage of the African World Research Project, Black Women in Church and Society, African-American Worship Traditions Program, Rural Ministry Project and Continuing and Extension Education Certificate programs.
The seminary's student body annually numbers around 40 and total ITC enrollment is about 400. JCSTS seminarians are educated and nurtured in an exciting ecumenical environment while receiving thorough denominational preparation for ministry in the PC(USA). While predominantly African-American, the seminary is an interracial, international and intercultural community with a commitment to excellence. The seminary's strong ecumenical and culturally diverse environment is an affirming, intellectually stimulating and personally liberating program.
Meet a Johnson C. Smith student: Erika Rembert
It could have been Sunday school, Bible study or prayer services. Or it may have been the intercessory prayer ministry or young women’s auxiliary missionary ministry. But the more Erika Rembert joined in these faith-filled activities, the more she discerned “the inner call of God to ministry.”
Erika grew up inspired by a mother and grandmother who are actively involved in their home church as ushers, trustees, deacons, youth advisors — and more! Once she’d earned a degree in information systems from the University of South Carolina, Erika worked as a finance assistant and then as an accountant for a major bank. But church and family tradition kept calling to her.
So she stepped up her leadership role at Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in Dalzell, South Carolina, teaching youth Sunday school, serving as a liturgist and delivering the children’s message every Sunday. She also began to think about a theological education. Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta quickly moved to the top of Erika’s list.
“You have an awesome ecumenical opportunity at ITC, as you prepare to be a parish pastor, to learn the tradition and polity of your own denomination alongside people from other denominations,” Erika said.
“When I finish seminary, I hope to serve in parish ministry — ministering to God’s people in the local congregation, community and world by serving as God’s eyes, hands and feet.”