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Originally published Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 7:37 PM

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Mars Hill Graduate School announces new name

Mars Hill Graduate School, the Christian school in Belltown that many people wrongly think is connected to Mars Hill Church, has announced that it is changing its name to The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.

Seattle Times staff reporter

quotes There is nothing "complimentary" about how Mars Hill Church views women's rol... Read more

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Mars Hill Graduate School, the Christian school in Belltown that many people wrongly think is connected to Mars Hill Church, has announced that it is changing its name to The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.

The name change is part of a move by the school to more clearly distinguish itself as a progressive Christian school that prepares people to become professional counselors, ministers and nonprofit leaders, school leaders said in a statement.

School President Keith Anderson also said in the statement that the decision was not for the purpose of discounting other Mars Hill institutions.

But faculty, staff and students at the 300-student school have said that they're tired of constantly explaining who they're not. School leaders have been mulling over a name change for a while now.

Who they're not is the 10,000-member Mars Hill Church, which has nine campuses including one in Belltown.

The theologically conservative church, founded in 1996, does not have women as pastors, holding to the view that men and women have different, if complementary, roles in the church and in the home.

The school, on the other hand, has among its graduates women who go on to become pastors. Founded in the 1990s as a branch of the Portland-based Western Seminary, the nondenominational school has been independent since 2002 and offers graduate degrees in counseling psychology, divinity and Christian studies.

Both church and school are named after a hill in Athens where the high court met and where the Apostle Paul is said to have delivered his speech proclaiming his understanding of one God and belief that people could be saved through Jesus.

The school's name change will officially take place in mid-August.

Students graduating from the school this spring will have the option of receiving diplomas with the new name.

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or jtu@seattletimes.com

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