Merger of 3 Assemblies of God schools approved

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — The merger of three Assemblies of God schools in Springfield will move forward after the Higher Learning Commission approved the consolidation.

The commission’s approval was the final authorization needed to merge the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and Central Bible College with Evangel University. The church approved the consolidation in August 2011.

The Bible college will close this year, and many of its course offerings will be offered at the Evangel campus. The seminary will be combined into the university and have oversight of the School of Theology and Church Ministries. The consolidated Evangel University will open this fall.

Similar proposals to consolidate the schools failed previously, most recently in 1995.

“I am thrilled and thankful that the journey we began over two years ago has culminated in this moment,” said George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

Carol Taylor, currently president of Vanguard University of Costa Mesa, Calif., has been named president-elect of Evangel. Her appointment was contingent upon the merger. Taylor, 61, will also serve as chief executive officer and will lead the consolidation efforts. She begins her duties leading the consolidated Evangel on July 1. She is also the first female president of Evangel, which was founded in 1955.

Church leaders began a process three years ago to bring the institutions together. In January 2011, the boards of directors of the schools agreed to appoint a task force to create a mission statement for the consolidated university. The task force report was later approved by the boards of each school.

“Now our real work begins,” Wood said. “As we consolidate the student bodies, there will need to be much thought and effort given to developing the structure of the university.”

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