The Center for the Study of the Bible and Ethnicity Named for Alonzo and Althea Edmiston


The Board of Trustees of Reformed Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that the Center for the Study of the Bible and Ethnicity at RTS Atlanta has a new name: “The Edmiston Center for the Study of the Bible and Ethnicity.”

Named for Alonzo and Althea Edmiston, the Edmiston Center helps students to explore the connection between the local and the global, with a focus on how God has moved, is moving, and has promised to move through His people in history and in the contemporary world. 

When asked about the significance of the Edmiston Center’s name, Director Karen Ellis commented, “Only one generation removed from American slavery, Alonzo and Althea Edmiston felt the call to serve in the Free Congo at the very beginning of the 20th century. For more than 30 years, they wove together the Word of God, how he moved through their localized Christian experience in America, and how he expressed himself among the people of the Congo. As part of a larger PCUS African American church-planting team, God used them to raise up one of the largest Christian communities on the African continent in its day.

“Their story exemplifies the lives of many overlooked biblical saints serving faithfully among the nations,” continued Ellis. “By renaming ourselves the Edmiston Center, we walk in the ethos of their lives of sacrificial discipleship and applied wisdom, as they uncovered God’s connections between the local and global church.”

Dr. Guy Richard, Executive Director of RTS Atlanta, shared his thoughts on this next step in the Edmiston Center’s development: “The Edmiston Center has existed at RTS Atlanta for just over a year and a half, now. In that time, we have discovered the importance of clarifying our mission in a way that is straightforward and easy to understand. We believe naming the CSBE after Alonzo and Althea Edmiston will enable us to do that. Their lives and ministries clearly embody the local and global elements that the Center is all about.

“The Edmistons’ names help to showcase the Center’s emphasis on world Christianity and on training men and women to minister in cross-cultural and multi-ethnic contexts both here and around the world. We are excited to have the Edmiston name attached to the work we are doing here at RTS Atlanta.”

Since fall 2018, the Edmiston Center has hosted the Grimké Lecture Series, where students and guests hear about ministry from multiple perspectives. Additionally, RTS Atlanta offers a certificate program with courses that explore Christianity as its own distinct and unique cultural minority at home and around the world. The certificate combines introductory theology courses with content from the Edmiston Center.

To learn more about the Edmiston Center, please visit

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