Central School of Religion was founded and chartered as Central University in Indiana, USA, in 1896 to provide external facilities for those whose circumstances did not permit work at a residential college. In 1968, the University was revised, and only its religious programmes were continued as the Central School of Religion.
Central School of Religion has always borne witness to the unique and divine inspiration of Holy Scripture and is non-denominational in character. Members of many different churches are tutors, graduates or members of the School. The School continues to derive its degree-granting authority from its 1896 charter in Indiana, but since 1968 has also had a presence in the United Kingdom.
Central School of Religion in the United Kingdom functions as a theological society and offers diplomas in Theology (and related subjects) and Church Music. It is the aim of the School to follow as closely as possible the standards and practices of British universities. Degrees are conferred by the School in America upon the recommendation of examiners. Central School of Religion has never sought accreditation, but is a member of the Association of Centres of Adult Theological Education, a premier fraternity of theological colleges and institutions.
The School enjoys links with a number of colleges and academics. Tutors and examiners are recruited from all major Christian churches and hold recognised qualifications. Although there is no provision for the recognition of American degrees by the State in the United Kingdom for general purposes, and thus the degrees awarded by the School itself are unaccredited, the co-operation in scholarship achieved by the School is the accreditation most valued by its members who may be found in many areas of Christian service.
The School holds an annual Reunion in London which typically includes the presentation of academic awards, several academic talks, and the performance of music, usually with a sacred focus. This is followed by Choral Evensong.
I was responsible for writing a History of the CSR, involving research on both sides of the Atlantic, which was published in 2002 (European-American University Press). At that time, I had no formal affiliation with the School, and was interested in its history principally because it was one of the oldest purely distance learning institutions still in existence today. A paper later published with the History was devoted to the academic dress of the School.
In 2014, I was delighted to be awarded the distinction of Fellow of the School.