1306 N. Highland Street
Arlington, VA  22201
(703) 812-4757

Latest News


Are you attending the BGAV Annual meeting this year in Hampton, VA? Make plans to join the Leland family for dinner on Tuesday evening!

The John Leland Center for Theological Studies Dinner

Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 5:00pm

Cyprus Grille at the Embassy Suites, Hampton Roads -  

Hotel, Spa & Convention Center

1700 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, VA 23666


Space is limited, so please RSVP in advance by emailing Debbie McCain Wesley, or calling 703-812-4757 x204. Reservations will also be taken starting Monday, November 10th at the Leland Booth in the BGAV Ministry Fair.  

Dinner guests will be responsible for their meal. The Cyprus Grille features award-winning entree selections!  

All friends of Leland (old and new) are encouraged to attend. Enjoy a delicious meal at a most convenient location (just a quick walk across the parking lot from the BGAV meeting!) 


On Saturday, October 4, several dozen members of Leland's faculty and trustees, along with their spouses picnicked together at the home of Trustee Carl Biggs. Carl and his wife Jossie also invited several leaders  of their church, First Baptist of Vienna, to meet the leaders from Leland. The picnic gave an opportunity for trustees and professors to get to know one another and to share their concerns, hopes and dreams with one another.


Registration is still open for Biblical Models of Christian Leadership, a required course for MDiv and MCL students.  The course will be taught by Dr. Andrey Shirin and is designed for those who seek to align their leadership approaches with scriptural teaching, both in congregational and other public life settings, such as business arts and public policy. Guest speakers include a Lockheed Martin Vice President, a Communications Director for a United States senator, a regional Chief of Preventive Medicine in the US military, a retired FBI agent and the Mid-Atlantic coordinator of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.  This course will meet October 31, November 1, 7, and 8, from 9 am -- 4 pm.  Read more at the full course ad.

Due to high interest, there are only a few remaining spots available for this course.


On October 27 and 28, church representatives and friends of the 138th Annual Gathering of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention (also known as the DCBC) will be hosted by the Clinton Park Baptist Church family.

We are delighted that the DCBC will have dynamic and engaging sessions presented by Leland alums and a former professor! DCBC participants will be able to gain valuable insight and knowledge during a session entitled "The Joy of Wisdom: What We Could All Benefit From Knowing, No Matter How Long We've Been in Ministry" led by the Rev. Dr. Michael Catlett, who taught at Leland and served as Senior Pastor of McLean Baptist Church in McLean, VA for over 20 years. This session promises to be packed with practical solutions, sage wisdom and answers to the most pressing questions and inquiries.

Rev. Jill McCrory, Leland Alum (MDiv) and Senior Pastor of Twinbrook Baptist Church, will lead a session entitled "SOAR Don't SWAT: Strengths-Based Strategy Thinking and Planning." In this session, participants will discover how to use SOAR to frame strategic conversations around strengths, opportunities, aspirations and results. Rev. McCrory is known for her creative approach to team building and a philosophy of "leadership at all levels."

Leland Alum (MTS) and founding pastor and artistic director of Convergence: A Creative Community of Faith, Lisa Cole Smith, will serve as a panelist during a session entitled "Rebooting Ministry - Congregational Renewal/Transformation." She worked as a professional actor for many years before attending Leland and seeking a way to merge her calling as an artist and a person of faith. She is a guest lecturer at Leland in the subject of worship, theology and the arts.

As you can see, Leland is leading in its mission to "equip transformational leaders for the global ministry of Jesus Christ!'

President Dr. Mark J. Olson and Director of Enrollment and Development, Debbie McCain Wesley, will be representing Leland at Exhibition Hall.  Please invited and encourage friends to attend to learn more about Leland.


Life has definitely been a journey. Like many of you, I have experienced many ups and downs. In some of the most difficult times in my life, I have been able to push through because I could feel God watching over me. I love reading scripture and want to be able to discuss it in greater depth with others. I'd like to learn as much as possible about my Savior because I know He has much to teach me. I am so grateful for all that He has done and I want to share my joy and gifts with others.

While attending a contemplative gathering and sitting in silence, I felt an incredible pull towards seminary school. Shortly after, I came across a Leland folder. As I read through it, I knew that this school would be a perfect fit for me. Since the beginning of my Leland journey, I have been so warmly welcomed and cared for. I love the diversity and that I am being taught by faculty from around the world. The low student-teacher ratio will allow me to get to know my teachers and classmates better. I am also able to work full-time while attending classes in the evening. I am so blessed to be a part of the Leland family.

I am currently in the Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies program. I am also interested in the Masters of Divinity degree. My first week of classes has been incredibly fulfilling. I am taking "Introduction to Theology" with Dr. Lee and "Spiritual Formation" with Dr. Melson. I feel a great sense of unity, calmness, and openness in my classes. Questions are encouraged, I've learned so much in my first week.

I am a member of Washington Plaza Baptist Church in Reston, VA. I enjoy being a worship team leader and singing in the chorus. We are in the process of growing our youth group. I'm a graduate of Marymount University in Arlington, VA and the NYU Dental Hygiene program in New York, NY. I've been a dental hygienist for almost 5 years. I enjoy volunteering at Northern Virginia Dental Clinic (NVDC) which provides dental healthcare to individuals with an income below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. I also love spending time with the SPARC organization, which is a specially adapted resource club that provides learning opportunities for adults with life-long disabilities.

- Kimberly Kan, new Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies student


Dr. April Vega graduated from Leland in 2006 and earned her Ph.D. in Religion and Culture at The Catholic University of America in May 2014. Her research interests lie in the intersection of religious studies, ethnomusicology, and liturgical studies. She served as a teaching fellow at Catholic University from 2012-2014, teaching classes in World Religions and theology. She is a currently a lecturer at Marymount University, and has also taught classes on a variety of topics at Loyola University of Maryland and Virginia Theological Seminary.  

Besides her work in theology and religious studies, April is also a musician. She often performs on the harp in churches, conferences, and people's homes, both solo and with her band, Harp 46, and is currently working on a second collaboration with Alight Dance Theater. This work, which will be a piece highlighting sacred geographies in the US, will premier in Washington DC in summer 2015. She is devoted to giving voice to the joys, sorrows and hopes of life with her music, her writing, and her teaching.

April's research represents an integration of the many strands of her life, speaking to cultural, religious, theological and musical interests. Her dissertation was an ethnographic study on the use of secular music in evangelical worship services, seeking to determine what, if any, link was present between this practice and other religious trends in American society overall. She is currently revising that dissertation for publication, and is very excited to be joining the faculty at The John Leland Center for Theological Studies.











  John Leland Center for Theological Studies
1306 N. Highland Street
Arlington, VA  22201