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Jackie Lewis is a native Pittsburgher who has taught in the Pittsburgh Public School system for the last twenty years. And most of these years she has been a student at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (RPTS)! “Taking evening classes gave me the opportunity to start seminary and continue working full time,” Jackie said, “which was important to me because I did not want to go into debt. It was a slow process!”
When Jackie began her studies in 1997, RPTS offered only one degree program, the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, a professional degree designed for those who are called to pastoral ministry. In order to recognize and honor women who studied at the Seminary, the Board for several years allowed women to be in a modified M.Div. track, even though the Reformed Presbyterian Church has strong and historic convictions restricting the office of ruling and teaching elders to men. When RPTS was granted permission in 1998 to offer the Master of Theological degree, an academic degree, the Seminary moved immediately to its historic practice of only accepting men into the M.Div. track. No other person has witnessed this change from the unique perspective of Jackie Lewis. As the last woman accepted into the M.Div. degree program, Jackie has handled the change with dignity.
Looking back, Jackie said that one of her favorite courses was Dr. Steve Miller’s class on Missions. “He was so knowledgeable and passionate and made us think so much about why we do missions.” The material was so practical and applicable that Jackie used it in a Bible study she was teaching at Union Baptist Church in Swissvale, where she is a member.
“My primary gift is teaching. I teach for a living, but I also do classes at church. I just finished a series on financial health and how that fits into the plan of God and how we need to think about how we spend our money. I am not sure exactly where God is calling me post-graduation in May, but I imagine I will still be teaching.” Among other options, Jackie is interested in international missions.
To learn more about attending RPTS email our Admissions Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.