SC5 School of Theology (Lay School)

Equipping Ruling Elders and Church Leaders

SC5 School of Theology is sponsored by the five presbyteries in South Carolina: Charleston-Atlantic, Foothills, New Harmony, Providence, and Trinity.

The Fall Semester is scheduled for October 18 & 19, 2024 at Presbyterian College.

Who attends the SC5 School of Theology?

    • Church Leaders interested in learning more.
    • Ruling Elders interested in learning more.
    • Ruling Elders interested in being commissioned to serve and lead congregations.
    • Faith Formation Leaders interested in better equipping themselves to teach.

When? Classes are held in the Spring (usually March) and Fall (usually October) each year.

Where? At Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC

Additional benefits:

    •  Fellowship: connecting with other Presbyterian leaders in the state
    • Collaboration: learning from and with other participants and faculty

Classes are held on a Friday and Saturday. Sessions begin on Friday with dinner in the Dining Hall, classes in the evening, and conclude with a brief worship service. Classes continue Saturday morning with breaks for lunch and dinner on campus. After the evening class session, we conclude with plenary and worship. Students in the Commissioned Ruling Elder (CRE) track will complete a project at home to submit to the class professor for grading.

SC5 School of Theology offers Two Tracks

The SC5 School of Theology offers a two-track approach for training church leaders. Ordained or non-ordained students may enroll in the Enrichment Track (ET). The Commissioned Ruling Elder Track (CRE) is provided for Ruling Elders who want to become Commissioned Ruling Elder candidates. Students will enroll and attend the same classes. Students in the CRE track will complete a take-home assignment for grading.

CRE Track students must receive endorsement from their Session and from the Committee on Ministry of Presbytery. Once the endorsement is complete, a copy of the form should be sent to the registrar of the school.


The Enrichment Track (ET) is for Presbyterian members who want personal enrichment for teaching or leading in their congregation. Participants are not required to be ordained elders. Students taking the courses for enrichment are not required to complete exams or projects. Participants receive a Certificate upon completion of the required seven courses. After receiving the Certificate, Enrichment track students may continue to take courses for ongoing learning.

The Commissioned Ruling Elder Track (CRE) is for ordained Ruling Elders interested in acquiring the necessary training for eligibility to become Commissioned Ruling Elders (CRE) as indicated in the Book of Order G-2.1001 and 2.1002. Ruling Elders are required to secure the endorsement of the Session of their home church and endorsement of their presbytery’s Committee on Ministry. Elders may take one course while the endorsement process is underway.

CRE Track participants are assigned a take-home project (exam, essay, or other assignment) to be completed and submitted to the professor by a certain date. The professor submits the grades for each semester to the SC5 School of Theology Registrar, who updates each student’s record. Participants receive a Diploma upon completion of the required eight courses.

After receiving a Diploma, students are required to take one refresher course per year for continuing education.

SC5 School of Theology Courses
1. Old Testament Survey (Spring)
2. New Testament Survey (Fall)
3. Reformed Theology (Fall)
4. Polity (Spring)
5. Church History (Spring)
6. Pastoral Care (Fall)
7. Worship and Sacraments (Spring)
8. Preaching (Fall) (not required for Enrichment Track certificate)
9. Elective – one elective is offered each semester

Faculty Members are college and seminary professors and Ministers of the Word and Sacrament (PCUSA) who have a passion for equipping church leaders in our state. A brochure is published for each semester listing the professors and providing a brief bio

SC5 School of Theology Leadership

  • Debbie Foster (Foothills Presbytery Leader/Stated Clerk), Dean of the SC5 School of Theology
  • Robin Morris (Foothills Presbytery Associate Stated Clerk), Registrar for the SC5 School of Theology
  • Michele Jones (Charleston Atlantic Presbytery Office Administrator), Treasurer for the SC5 School of Theology.

Representatives from each of the five SC presbyteries serve on the Planning & Advisory Committee. The current members are:

    • Charleston Atlantic: Henry Meeuwse, Bo Hamilton, Cassandra Roper
    • Foothills: Elizabeth Jones, Robin Morris
    • New Harmony: Elijah Washington, Chuck Staggs, Delicia Harper-Baxter
    • Providence: Max Russell, Philip Wright
    • Trinity: Ray Bell, Virginia Peterkin

How Do I Get Started?

  • Complete the registration process.
  • Purchase the selected textbook for your class.
  • If you choose the CRE track, complete the SC5 School of Theology Endorsement Form: At the beginning of this educational journey, students are required to have the endorsement of the Session from their home church.

Commissioned Ruling Elders

Receiving a diploma in the CRE Track certifies the Ruling Elder’s training to become a Commissioned Ruling Elder.  Each SC5 Presbytery may have additional requirements (background checks, boundary training, etc.) for Ruling Elders to complete prior to being eligible for commissioning.

When a Ruling Elder has completed all requirements and has received a call to serve a church or in a Validated Ministry, the Ruling Elder must work with the presbytery on the call and to be examined to be commissioned.

Fall 2024 Classes (October 18 & 19)

  • New Testament (Core)
  • Reformed Theology (Core)
  • Preaching (Core)
  • Pastoral Care (Core)
  • Old Testament book (Elective) – to be determined


REGISTRATION will open in August.


Presbyterian College Map- Spring 2024 SC5

Spring 2024 General Information

Spring 2024 SC5 Semester Details

Spring 2024 Schedule

Additional Forms & Resources

Students from Charleston Atlantic, New Harmony, Providence, and Trinity, please contact your presbyteries for presbytery specific requirements.