The Cuban Council of Evangelical Churches, organized in 1941, laid the groundwork for Matanzas Seminary. The Methodist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal Churches founded the Evangelical Seminary at Matanzas, Cuba, on October 1, 1946. The only ecumenical seminary in Cuba, the Matanzas Seminary now serves over 200 students from 13 denominations. At present, the Seminary offers the following degrees:
- Bachelor of Theology
- Licensure in Theology
- Master of Theology
- Doctor of Ministry
- Distance Learning/Extension Program
The Seminary has a School of Christian Education, adhering to the Professorship of Pastoral Theology. This school offers, among other things, an open course on “The Music of Christian Education.”
For approximately ten years, Reverend Dr. Ofelia Ortega Suarez, self-described as a “feminist liberation theologian,” served as rector of the Evangelical Theological Seminary. Upon her retirement, “she confided in some friends her great disappointment as a result of an unfulfilled dream — to present to each seminary graduate three basic books that would further equip them for their ministries.” Inspired by her vision, a book fund was established and named in honor of long-time Matanzas Seminary supporter, Dr. Ted Braun.
Currently, 38 students are enrolled in the Bachelor’s and Licensure programs and more than 20 students are enrolled in the Master’s Program. The Distance Learning/ Extension Program, offered for laity who seek to improve their biblical and theological knowledge, involves 136 students. This program was brought to life by the vision of the new Dean who sought to “extend the presence of the Seminary to other spaces.” This program allows pastors to remain with their communities of faith while expanding their knowledge and understanding through coursework.
The Seminary features a library, supported by the Matanzas Seminary Book Fund. The library is currently composed of 22,500 books plus an automated database. Users are trained with the automated system and are then able to conduct their own research. The following services are also offered through the library:
- Reading room
- Lending of books in circulation and reserve
- Interlibrary lending
- Bulletin “BIBLIOSET”
- Index of “Works of Diploma”
The Matanzas Seminary Book Fund also strives to be able to provide a set of books to each of the members of the graduating class.