COMPTON, CA (June 17, 2015) — Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos (CHET), the ECC Hispanic leadership training center, became one of the first of three Hispanic biblical institutes to receive certification for its bachelor’s of Christian ministry degree under new standards approved by the Association of Theological School (ATS) and the Educational Hispanic Theological Association (AETH).
Students who earn the degree from accredited schools now function at a baccalaureate level, which means they are eligible for admission into any participating ATS seminary in Canada, the United States, or Puerto Rico without being classified as special students.
CHET was formed in 1989, and the certification “validates CHET’s high standard of education that focuses on equipping under-resourced, under-served and non-served Latinos and Latinas for pastoral ministry,” president Ed Delgado said. “This option to earn a baccalaureate degree for pastoral ministry at a cost that is within their means previously was not available to them.”
The partnership between ATS and AETH is a historical first, Delgado said.
The standards were developed via a commission made up of four ATS representatives and eight Hispanic Bible school directors and presidents, said Delgado, who served on the commission. Deans and professors from other schools also provided input.
Developing the standards took two years. Schools throughout Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United States were invited to solicit certification. Those that passed an initial screening were required to complete an extensive self-study.
“CHET’s was the thickness of a New York telephone book,” Delgado said. “The work was humongous.”
Following the self-study a certification team conducted an onsite visit. The team included Jane Adkins Vasquez, professor of church history at San Francisco Theological Seminary; and Alvin Padilla, dean of Hispanic ministry studies and professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.
CHET is affiliated with North Park University and Seminary.
The other two schools to receive certification were the Latino Latina Studies Program at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky; and Centro Para Estudios Latinos (Center for Latino Studies) in Cleveland, Tennessee.