Faint glimmers of the unusual, even unique collaboration which is AST’s contribution to ecumenical education, could be detected in the increasing cooperation among the founding institutions in the late nineteen sixties. During those years, students of King’s College, Holy Heart Seminary and Pine Hill Divinity Hall shared some classes and benefited on a limited basis from a sharing of faculty from the other institutions. Limited though this cooperation was, it was a beginning.
Circumstances and challenges of the day suggested new ways in which the theological institutions could cooperate in the days ahead. Deliberations subsequently led to the recommendation that one school of theology be founded, a resolution agreed to by King’s, Holy Heart and Pine Hill. Articles of Agreement were signed on March 29, 1971; the School admitted its first students in September of 1971, and on June 28, 1974, Atlantic School of Theology was formally incorporated by an Act of the Legislature of Nova Scotia, granting the School the power to confer degrees in its own name and in its own right.
An Ecumenical School
Atlantic School of Theology, an ecumenical school of theology and Christian ministry, was founded in 1971 by institutions of the three founding parties: the Divinity Faculty of the University of King’s College (Anglican Church of Canada), Holy Heart Theological Seminary (The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Halifax) and Pine Hill Divinity Hall (United Church of Canada). It is specially characterized as an ecumenical, tri-denominational theological school with an ecumenical Board of Governors, Senate, Faculty, student body and curriculum. The School is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and offers Master of Divinity and Master of Theological Studies degrees.
A ten-credit Graduate Certificate Program in Theological Studies and an Adult Education Certificate in Theological Studies Program are available on campus and on-line. At its meeting in October 2003, the AST Board decided to adopt a strategy of
transformational leadership over the next decade for the School’s curriculum, recruitment and fund raising efforts.
Affiliation with Saint Mary’s University
Since March 2002 Atlantic School of Theology has been affiliated with Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. Both institutions are committed to establishing and promoting joint and complementary academic courses and programs. They are also committed to achieving the operational efficiencies that will strengthen each institution to fulfill each other’s educational
mission and service to the churches and to society. While each institution will retain its independent status and grant its own degrees exciting possibilities for joint programming are expected to become a regular part of AST’s future program offerings. The Joint Academic Committee with representation from each institution is presently working on a joint Master of Arts degree. Students at AST will be able to explore new avenues for theological education such as inter-faith dialogue, which is becoming a major part of the societal context in which ministry now must exercise its calling.