For students entering Master of Social Work program
WILMORE, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2015) — Asbury University and The Salvation Army are partnering to grant five tuitions per year for Salvation Army students entering Asbury’s Master of Social Work program.
Signed this week by Asbury University President Sandra C. Gray and Salvation Army Commissioner Donald C. Bell, the agreement signals Asbury’s partnership with the National Pathway of Hope, a Salvation Army initiative designed to combat generational poverty.
“Pathway of Hope is a very powerful initiative to do just that—to create a pathway of hope for those in the margins,” Gray said. “The Salvation Army recognized the need for their officers to be prepared to help improve quality of life for the marginalized. Through the Pathway of Hope initiative, officers will be equipped to move into all areas of family, social and cultural engagement.”
Shared history, heritage and theological commitments have created a natural partnership between Asbury University and The Salvation Army. The first Salvation Army student enrolled at Asbury in 1924, and since then, more than 500 Salvation Army officers have attended the University. In 1983, Asbury University became the only college with an official Salvation Army Student Center, built with the support of all four Salvation Army Territories. With shared roots in the Wesleyan Holiness movement, Asbury University and the Salvation Army are committed to engaging the world with the gospel of Christ.
Bell, territorial commander of The Salvation Army’s U.S. Southern Territory, says Asbury’s MSW degree program is a perfect fit for equipping officers and staff in Pathway of Hope. Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the MSW program offers Advanced Standing and part-time programs with more than 80 elective options and nearly 100 practicum locations. Most importantly, it is grounded in a Christian worldview.
“It’s a Christian university and a Christian program, which is really quite unique,” Bell said. “We’ve been looking for that for quite some time. Many universities offer Master of Social Work degrees, but not with the spiritual emphasis.” The spiritual emphasis is key, Bell says, because The Salvation Army operates on a core principle that spiritual and social needs must be addressed together.
“One of our generals used to say The Salvation Army operates like a butterfly with two wings—you cannot separate the spiritual component of the Army from the social component of the Army,” Bell said. “Through this partnership with Asbury’s MSW program, we hope to gain the opportunity to better equip and enable our people to minister to the whole of a person—to meet their basic social needs and address their spiritual needs. When someone finds that their ‘higher power’ is really Jesus Christ, they can turn their life around.”