Lifelong Learning

The Center for Lifelong Learning at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary provides ongoing theological education for clergy and laity in their lifelong work that is engaging and relevant. It is a multi-faceted program grounded in theology and research-based practices to provide transformational learning for courageous leadership in today’s society.

As the seminary's primary avenue for offering continuing education, the Center for Lifelong Learning endeavors to cultivate a learning community, create resources for the work of ministry and provide just-in-time learning to address ministerial and social concerns.

We invite you to join us in community to learn, discover, question, reflect, pray and reimagine ministry together. The Center for Lifelong Learing includes certificate programs, annual events, workshops and seminars, as well as courses for lay education and areas important to alumni and the life and mission of the church.

If you have questions about the Center for Lifelong Learning opportunities or have suggestions on future offerings, please contact us at or 803.461.3204.

Certification Programs

  • Public Safety Chaplaincy Certification

    Public Safety Chaplaincy is the work of providing pastoral care and support to employees of first responder agencies and their families, as well as to victims of related public safety incidents. Many public safety chaplains work as volunteers, though some departments have paid chaplain positions. The public safety chaplain should be a person who experiences a call to this particular ministry of service and sacrifice, offering themselves as a source of support to women and men whose daily work is often stressful and rigorous emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

    The certification in Public Safety Chaplaincy is designed to provide a thorough course of training for those desiring to serve as a public safety chaplain. The curriculum covers the breadth and depth of the topics and issues encountered in the field by the public safety chaplain. It is well-suited for those already serving as chaplains and those who have experienced a call to this ministry, but are not yet connected with an agency.

    Certificate Curriculum
    The curriculum includes six modules. Each module involves coursework to be completed at home, including reading and writing. Students are also expected to attend three monthly class meetings.

    • Foundations 1: The Office of Public Safety Chaplain
    • Foundations 2: Pastoral Theology and Issues in Public Safety Chaplaincy
    • Issues and Answers in Public Safety Chaplaincy (suffering, death, evil, grief, crisis, suicide, etc.)
    • Crisis Intervention, Stress Management, Recovery and Resilience
    • Clinical and Professional Perspectives
    • Capstone Course

    Course Delivery

    Coursework is offered in a hybrid distance learning and classroom setting over a period of 18 consecutive months. Students are expected to complete assigned reading and writing on their own in preparation for monthly class sessions held on campus at the seminary in Columbia, S.C.

    All students in the cohort are required to attend the monthly class sessions that begin on Friday afternoon and conclude on Saturday afternoon. Students who successfully complete the training program will receive a certificate of completion. Coursework will reflect the academic rigor and theological depth consistent with an Association of Theological Schools accredited seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. However, courses are not graduate level and are not transferable credits for seminary. Courses are unrelated to licensure or ordination as a public safety chaplain.

    Application Requirements

    Please carefully review all application requirements. In addition to a completed and signed application form, applicants must submit the following items.

    An application will be complete and ready for review when all items are received.

    Following the submission of all application materials, applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview with the admission panel.


    For more information about this program, contact Diane Epperly at or Chaplain Eric Skidmore at or 803.206.8961.


  • Spiritual Direction Certification

    We believe Holy Listening is at the core of spiritual direction. It’s listening to one another, and most attentively to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The real and most genuine spiritual director is always the Holy Spirit.

    Our primary purpose is to train people who feel called to be such spiritual friends, spiritual companions; however, those who are interested in deepening their own spiritual practices are also welcome.

    Within the Christian tradition, we are grounded in the Trinitarian faith. However, we recognize that there is deep spiritual wisdom that can be found in other faith traditions. We will draw on those traditions and will integrate them from a Christian perspective.

    "This certification program is a rare opportunity to focus on how the Holy Spirit leads us to discover how we can best serve our brothers and sisters in Christ as spiritual companions. The program is a rich blend of learning and praying, of creating spirit-based community, and of opening our hearts to the great gift of holy listening." —Betsy Wolff, Spiritual Direction Certification participant

    Program Overview

    • Four intensives offered, always from Wednesday noon until Saturday noon
    • Small-member cohorts, each with their own mentor
    • Read key books and short reaction papers
    • Participation in a closed Facebook group with your cohort and mentor
    • Find and meet regularly with a spiritual director
    • Find a willing person to be your spiritual directee

    Application Requirements

    Complete the application and required forms, which are included in the application packet.

    • Complete a background check form
    • $40 application fee is required to cover the cost of the background check. Please make checks payable to Lenoir-Rhyne University
    • Letter of Recommendation - spiritual director or faith leader
    • Letter of Recommendation - other

    Next Intensive Cycle

    • January 4-7, 2023
    • June 14-17, 2023
    • January 10-13, 2024
    • June 12-15, 2024

    Program Cost

    Total cost for the program is $3,000, which includes tuition and meals. Participants find their own lodging. On-campus housing is limited and is available at a rate of $50 a night.


    For more information about this program, please contact Pastor Melanie Dobson at or 919.724.3557.


Join us for upcoming events offered through the Center for Lifelong Learning, including Coffee and Conversation, among other offerings. 

Kim Bryant

I am grateful for the rigor of the courses, which required us to dig deep into the scripture and ourselves as we studied the word of God.

Kim Bryant, MACM '21

News & Events

In support of continued efforts to improve the on-campus experience for students, faculty, staff and community members, The Cannon Charitable Trusts have awarded multiple grants totaling $436,990 to Lenoir-Rhyne University.

View More

Lenoir-Rhyne University will enhance mental health and medical health services on campus through an agreement with TimelyMD, the premier tele-health provider for higher education.

View More