50 Years of Christian Education at PC
This year, the Religion-Christian Education (CE) program at Presbyterian College celebrates its fiftieth year. In the fall of 1965, Dr. Jack Presseau founded the CE program, also marking the same year when women moved onto campus and PC became co-ed. For 50 years now, PC has produced a remarkable cadre of some 500 graduates with degrees in Religion, Religion-Christian Education and Religion-Philosophy. Most graduates have gone on to work in the church in their respective traditions or other fields of service, either upon graduation or after completing graduate degrees.
CE at PC excels in encouraging students to expand their knowledge outside the walls of general academia. Like all degree programs at PC, the Religion-Christian Education program strives to emulate PC’s motto, “Dum Vivimus Servimus”, or While We Live, We Serve.
From working in churches and with non-profits, to mission work in Malaysia or attending law school, PC alumni with a degree in Religion continue to utilize the foundational knowledge they gained during their time at PC. According to Dr. Bob Bryant, Religion and Philosophy Department Chair, “The Religion-Christian Education degree aims foremost to equip students with foundational knowledge and skills for a lifetime of liberal learning by developing a deeper understanding of the Christian tradition in its broadest and most common terms.”
In addition to taking the required courses, Religion majors are encouraged to take a myriad of other courses. “People immediately assume that we sit around and learn how to teach Sunday school. This major teaches a plethora of subjects that spill over to other areas of study,” says junior Christian Education major Kathleen Brooks. “The balance of Religion, Philosophy and CE courses with room for some other majors or minors with a network of places for field experience plus the tradition of well-trained graduates: those together make us unique,” adds Dr. Presseau.
Ultimately, PC’s Religion-Christian Education program challenges students to gain a better understanding of their place in the world. Dr. Bryant enthusiastically explains his hopes for CE students by saying, “I hope they will become more adept at asking meaningful questions, better able to discern reality, exercise reason, overturn prejudices, and lead effectively with grace and wisdom. As I see it, these are essential elements of both liberal learning and an examined Christian faith.” Kathleen Brooks adds, “Learning to love and respect people different from me is a skill that I will carry with me beyond PC.”
By encouraging students to take their education beyond textbooks, the degree programs at PC empower students to live a meaningful life and make a positive difference in the world.
The department of Religion is hosting a drop in on Saturday, October 25, 10:30-11:30 to celebrate the 50th year anniversary of the CE program. Dr. Presseau will be there to greet alumni, students and guests.