News and Events

Students and young professionals: How can you use your unique skills and passions to join in the mission of God?

Mission Possible is a one-day conference that allows you to explore your faith and calling through art, justice and mission.  To find out more, click here

Who is invited to Mission Possible Virginia 2018? You are!


Lenten Service Sunday, Feb 18

Have you ever thought of Lent as a yearly second chance? Each year we are given a specific time look into our lives to see if our values and priorities are in line with God’s desires for us. Since most of us find that we’ve wandered from God’s path, Lent becomes that second chance, or do-over, to “return to God with our whole heart.”  Join us this year in worship! 

Sunday, February 18, 2018
Church of Clarendon   
  1306 N. Highland St.
Arlington, VA 22201  

Rev. Howard-John Wesley Teaches at Leland

The Reverend Doctor Howard-John Wesley is the son of the late Rev. Dr. Alvin and Dr. Helene Wesley and represents the fifth generation of Baptist preachers in his family. Dr. Wesley is the proud pastor of the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA.  Known to challenge the mind and inspire the heart, Dr. Wesley is a much sought after speaker for worship services, conferences, and revivals. His preaching became a favorite of President and Mrs. Barack Obama who worshiped with their family at Alfred Street Baptist Church on several Easter Sundays.

We are offering an intensive, “Preaching with Power & Persuasion”,  taught by Rev. Howard-John Wesley.  The class will meet on Saturday’s starting 1/27, 2/3, 2/10, 2/17, 2/24, 3/10.  For more information about registration, please contact info@leland.edu

Upcoming All School Gathering

Please mark your calendars and make plans to attend this required Community Formation Event. We are looking forward to kicking off the Spring 2018 semester together as a Community.  At this year’s All-School Gathering and Spiritual Formation Service, we will share a meal, fellowship and worship together.  This will be a great way to start our semester of study.  We hope to see you there!
All School Gathering
January 20, 2018 / 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Main Campus (Arlington VA)
Families are welcomed! Please RSVP with the number attending by emailing our Director of Enrollment, Jacqueline Coker.

January 2018 Reflection by Dr. Dapaah

“And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will” (2 Cor 8:1-5, NIV)
In the novel Brothers Karamazov, Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky narrates a story about an old, wicked peasant woman who died without leaving behind a single good deed. She was so selfish that everything she did was for her benefit alone. She illicitly acquired whatever she could without giving anything to anyone, no helpful deeds for her community, not even a kind look or smile on her neighbors. When she died, the devil seized her and plunged her into the lake of fire. Her guardian angel wondered what good deed of hers he could bring up to plead for her before God. “She once pulled up an onion in her garden,” said the angel, “and gave it to a beggar.” God then told the angel to take that onion, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her grasp on to it and be pulled out into Paradise. The angel ran excitedly to the woman and held out the onion to her. “Come on,” said he, “take hold and I’ll pull you out.” The angel carefully began to pull her out. She was almost out when the other sinners in the lake, realizing what was happening, began catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. Remember, she was an unkind woman in her lifetime. So she started screaming and began to kick them. “I’m to be pulled out, not you. It’s my onion, not yours.” As soon she said that, the onion broke and she fell into the lake where she has been burning to this day. So her guardian angel wept and went away.
This is a wonderful story that speaks to the human condition! The story isn’t about how to get into Paradise as much as about how to avoid hell-not that fiery lake at the end of the world’s history, but the hell in the here and now, whose flames include greed, selfishness, self-gratification, pride, indifference, exploitation, exclusion, and the like. We are all innately selfish, doomed to self-destruction without the grace and generosity of God. God, personified in the guardian angel, is immensely good even to the wicked. God seeks to save us and weeps when we are desperately stuck in our sin and refuse His gift of grace.
No life worth living is possible without generosity. Yet, it is not by our generosity, however slender, that we are saved. The Apostle Paul understood this paradox when he wrote: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God-not the result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:8-9). Our generosity comes from God: a God who gives and forgives; a God who created us to find fulfillment as we share His love with others. May we be generous as the Macedonian believers! And may we follow the example of the Creator God who visited us during that First Advent over two thousand years ago and generously gave Himself up for us so that we might live!



This Sunday, December 3, Join us for our Advent Service!

Leland Advent 
Service of 
Confession and Celebration
Sunday December 3rd, 6:00 pm
The Church at Clarendon
1210 N. Highland Street
Arlington, VA 22201
Leland families and friends of all ages are welcome to join us for a service of confession and reconciliation as we thank God for the coming of the Prince of Peace. The Advent Celebration service is an annual event for the Leland community. This year, an added Confessional part is Leland community’s coming before God to seek forgiveness and reconciliation for the pain and injustice that were committed in the recent past. We trust it will be a unifying and positive reminder of the common name we share as children of a God who demonstrated his immeasurable grace in the coming of his son, Jesus Christ. Following the service, conversation, food and fellowship will round out our evening together.

Minister Jacqueline Coker is an enthusiastic and innovative professional

Minister Jacqueline Coker is an enthusiastic and innovative professional with extensive experience in Human Resources and Administrative roles.  She spent over fifteen years working within the corporate and government workforce. The last nine of those years were spent working in the Information Technology field as a Senior Technical Recruiter.  She holds a bachelor degree Business Administration concentration on Human Resources Management. She is a licensed minister at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA where she serves as in several ministries.  In her spare time, she enjoys reading, teaching and baking. 

Have heard about our Online Leland Store???

With the holidays approaching you have enough time to shop at our brand new online Leland store.  We’re so excited for our Leland family to represent this amazing seminary!  Check out our store here http://footprintapparel.com/johnlelandstore



Arlington Campus Open House Monday, Nov. 6

We will have  our Arlington Campus Open House on Monday, November 6, 2017 at 6 p.m.   This will be an ideal time for potential students to tour campus, meet faculty and current students, get information about our academic programs and admission requirements, and hear about Leland student life.  Make plans now to join us and spread the word!! Please RSVP to:
Jacqueline Coker {Office of Enrollment} 
jcoker@leland.edu or 703-812-4757, ext 204 

Leland will host BGAV Luncheon


Leland will host a luncheon at the Baptist General Association of Virginia annual meeting in Hampton VA.  The Leland luncheon gathering is as follows:

Tuesday, November 14th
The Cypress Grill
– Embassy Suites (next door to the Hampton Convention Center)
Private Back Room
Address: 1700 Coliseum Dr, Hampton, VA 23666
Time:  Noon – 1:30
Cost for buffet – $13.50 plus tax and gratuity
Please e-mail Susan Quinn at squinn@leland.edu, if you are planning to attend, as an accurate headcount is needed! 

Leland Advent This Sunday!

Leland Advent 
Service of 
Confession and Celebration
Sunday December 3rd, 6:00 pm
The Church at Clarendon
1210 N. Highland Street
Arlington, VA 22201
Leland families and friends of all ages are welcome to join us for a service of confession and reconciliation as we thank God for the coming of the Prince of Peace. The Advent Celebration service is an annual event for the Leland community. This year, an added Confessional part is Leland community’s coming before God to seek forgiveness and reconciliation for the pain and injustice that were committed in the recent past. We trust it will be a unifying and positive reminder of the common name we share as children of a God who demonstrated his immeasurable grace in the coming of his son, Jesus Christ. Following the service, conversation, food and fellowship will round out our evening together.

Recruiting Success!

We had a very favorable and productive summer recruiting new students to Leland. In addition to our returning students, we have a total of 22 new students on our three campuses this semester.  In Arlington, part of our recruiting success can be attributed to a special grant for scholarships that we were awarded by the Duke Street Trinity Baptist Memorial Foundation.


Trula Duane Scholarships went to new and returning students who are members of churches within the NorthStar Church Network. These very generous scholarships are guaranteed for the 2017-2018 academic year. We are always looking to bolster our scholarship offerings, so if your church or foundation would like to partner http://phentermine-med.com with us, please let us know!


Our successful recruiting summer has made our institution stronger. We have three new students at both our Southwest and Hampton Roads’ campuses. And, in Arlington, we have a total of 16 new students across our School of Ministry and Master’s degree programs. We solicit your continued prayers for all our new and returning students. Moreover, please continue to spread the word about the John Leland Center. We have found that undoubtedly our greatest recruiting tool is the word of mouth recommendations which come from our students, faculty, Trustees and Alumni. Thank you all for your steadfast support, prayers and encouragement! 

Rev. J. Brent Walker has accepted the position of Interim President at The John Leland Center for Theological Studies in Arlington

Rev. J. Brent Walker has accepted the position of Interim President at The John Leland Center for Theological Studies in Arlington. Walker recently retired as Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, a position he held for 17 years.

Leland’s president, Dr. Mark Olson, had previously announced that he was resigning to accept the position of Senior Pastor of Haymarket Baptist Church but agreed to continue at Leland until an Interim President could be located. Olson has served as Leland’s president since 2007 and will serve through August.

In Walker, the Leland trustees have found a Baptist leader who is known throughout the country because of his leadership relating to religious freedom. A University of Florida graduate who also earned a J.D. from Stetson University College of Law and an M.Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Walker has been a tireless advocate for religious freedom for all people. He shares that passion with the school’s namesake, John Leland, who advocated for religious freedom in the nation’s earliest years. Before coming to the Baptist Joint Committee, Walker served as pastor of Richland Baptist Church in Falmouth, Kentucky. He is an ordained Baptist minister and active member at Columbia Baptist Church.

Walker is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar and counts among his many honors an induction into the Baylor University Alumni Association Hall of Fame, the Virginia First Freedom Award, the Adrian Westney Religious Liberty Award from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Florida, and an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Leland in 2013. Olson said of Walker, “Leland is greatly blessed to find such a strong and widely respected leader. I feel confident that God will use Brent Walker to make Leland a stronger seminary.”

The John Leland Center was founded in 1998 as an evangelical Baptist seminary serving the greater Washington, D.C. area and Virginia. It features an international faculty with professors from Korea, Argentina, Ghana, Russia and Estonia. The student body is ethnically very diverse, with no ethnic group having a majority. The seminary is accredited with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) through 2022 and is a member of the prestigious Washington Theological Consorium.

Important news from Dr. Mark Olson

Dear friends,

About  year ago I began preaching three Sundays a month at Haymarket Baptist Church and the experience has reminded me how much I enjoyed serving as a pastor.  The church voted to call me as their new Senior Pastor and I have accepted their call. For that reason I am resigning as President of the John Leland Center for Theological Studies effective December 31, 2017. While Haymarket will immediately consider me their Senior Pastor, I will continue to serve full-time at Leland while preaching three Sundays a month at Haymarket. Only when I complete my work at Leland at the end of December will I transition to full-time work at Haymarket. I believe this will give our Trustee Board time to launch a search for a new permanent President and/or an Interim President if needed.

I want to personally thank each of you for the opportunity to serve with you for these past 10 years. It is a rare opportunity to lead a seminary as it prepares men and women to be leaders in Christian ministry, and I am honored to have served in this capacity. I pledge to give my very best efforts during the next six months to help the school thrive, recruit new students, and raise additional funding. I’m sure Trustee Chair Carl Biggs and I will communicate with you in greater detail about the next steps for our school.

In Christ,

Mark Olson

Upcoming All School Gathering

The John Leland Center for Theological Studies

Presents our Fall 2017 All-School Gathering and Spiritual Formation Service

Saturday, August 26, 2017

John Leland Center

Main Campus – Arlington, VA


August hybrid intensive course opportunity

Leland is offering an exciting August hybrid intensive course opportunity that you won’t want to miss.  The course, Leadership in Ministry, is designed primarily for those who are called to exercise leadership, both in ecclesial and non-ecclesial settings. The conference speakers are widely known and respected leaders in various walks of life. In addition, the course will provide significant networking opportunities at a major leadership conference.  Leaders are expected to attend the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit simulcast  August 10 –11, 2017, at Columbia Baptist Church (Falls Church, VA). Leaders will attend meeting with the instructors during the conference. The conference will be followed by five weeks of online work. The online portion will consist of posting substantive comments on video and reading assignments.

Read the full course description here:


Contact registrar@leland.edu ASAP for more information on how to register for this course.  The summit registration fee will not apply to tuition and must be paid by the student.  To register for the summit, please click here:


The Great Obstacle Race 2017 – Registration

Calvary Hill Baptist Church: The Great Obstacle Race 2017 – Registration

The Great Obstacle Race will be held June 17, 2017 8 a.m – noon at Calvary Hill Baptist Church (9301 Little River Turnpike, Fairfax, VA 22031).  The race is an obstacle course race that will be held on the church grounds, rain or shine.  The race will be held to raise awareness for the plight of refugees and all proceeds will go to Refuge and Hope International


Each paid racer will receive a free tee shirt.  Please sign up below and enter your shirt size.   The cost per Individual is $15 for adults or $10 for children under 12.  There is a group rate for 10 or more racers of $10 per person. Payment is due at the registration table, which opens at 8:00 a.m. the morning of the race (cash, check, or credit card for an addition $1 fee). The Great Obstacle Race will begin at 8:30 a.m.


To help with the with the Great Obstacle Race or become a sponsor sign up here.
Date: 06/17/2017 (Sat.)
Time: 8:00am – 12:00pm EDT
Location: Calvary Hill Baptist Church (9301 Little River Turnpike Fairfax, VA 22031)

June Intensive Course with Dr. Matt Lee

How do we reach people who do not know Christ? That’s the primary challenge of evangelism. In recent years, an eclectic group of Christian leaders from different traditions have been giving a fresh look at evangelism through the lens of community. In our culture where loneliness and a sense of disconnectedness pervade, perhaps a warm, welcoming community infused with grace and love can be a place for healing and belonging. This is the idea behind church planting as evangelism.

Course: Church Planting and Evangelism
Dates: June 9, 10, 16, and 17
Time: 9am to 4pm

 **This course fulfills the Models of Evangelism requirement for M.Div. students**

2017 Graduation Speaker

Leland will hold its graduation at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 3 at the Church at Clarendon and our guest speaker will be Dr. Judy Fentress-Williams, Professor of Old Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary.

Dr. Fentress-Williams earned her Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from Yale University and has taught at VTS since 2002. She is also Senior Assistant to Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley at Alfred Street Baptist Church. Among her many publications are the Ruth  commentary in the Abingdon Old Testament Commentary Series, “Micah” in The Women’s Bible Commentary, and “Esther” in Fortress Old Testament. She is a dynamic preacher and Leland is blessed to have her as our graduation speaker.

Alfred Street Baptist Church will also provide one of their outstanding choirs to help lead music during the graduation.

Dr. Shirin Gives Interview to Christianity Today


Dr. Shirin was interviewed by Christianity Today on what American Christians can learn about religious freedom from Russia.  The interview touched a range of topics, such as the history of Russian evangelical movement and how the country’s tiny evangelical population fits into its complicated church and state paradigm.  Also discussed were some lessons North American Christians can draw from recent developments in Russia’s churches and society at large.  You can listen to the interview at:


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1306 N. Highland St.
Arlington, VA 22201

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