A Moment for Mission
"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." —Psalm 118:24, NRSV
A deep Wesleyan theology and ethos pervades the campuses of United Methodism's 13 official seminaries. "These schools are Wesleyan in their bones," said the Rev. Daniel O. Aleshire, former executive director, Association of Theological Schools.
About 60 percent of all master of divinity students enrolled in these schools are United Methodist, and the percentage of Methodists is slightly higher if AME and AME Zion students are included. Their faculties overall are 46% United Methodist. Chapel worship across the theological schools embodies the Methodist tradition and reflects the range of United Methodist liturgical practices.
As is the Wesleyan tradition, the seminaries are self-consciously ecumenical in thought and practice, teaching students from a variety of denominations.
The theological schools form leaders for the future. Their student bodies overall are younger and more racially diverse than The United Methodist Church. Half of their master of divinity students are women. The seminaries are deeply committed to racial justice and to women's equality. They engage and support new models of ministry every day.
Reflecting the full theological diversity of the denomination, all 13 theological schools are dedicated to making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Through their doctoral programs, many educate future faculty who will populate United Methodist-related seminaries, colleges and universities around the world.
The Ministerial Education Fund is vital to the recruitment and training of United Methodist-ordained and diaconal ministers. The fund equips United Methodist leaders to go into the world to serve.
Loving God, this is the day that you have made! Thank you for Holy Week. Thank you for the committed clergy and other leaders who model servant ministry. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Palm/Passion Sunday – Holy God, sovereign over power and pain, glorious triumph and deep disappointment, we enter this holy week bringing our tithes and offerings to your altar and leaving them here in the hope you will send them to make the world a more loving and compassionate place. We are reminded through the scripture that you sent two of your disciples out to make the world ready for your coming: "Go into the village . . . find the donkey . . . tell them the Lord has need." Remind us that your kingdom breaks into the world not as a spectacle for us to witness but as a parade where we are called to make a working contribution. We pray in the name of the one who comes not just for the parade, but for the cross at the end of it. Amen. (Matthew 21:1-11)
United Methodism's Ministerial Education Fund connects the 13 official seminaries and their students with the denomination. We are proud of the historic commitment to the fund as one of the key indicators of The United Methodist Church's dedication to an educated clergy.
The fund is a crucial source of support for the schools, without which some would be in serious financial jeopardy. Loss of or a radical reduction in the Ministerial Education Fund would undercut the basic economic foundation for students seeking ordination, adding to their financial hardship and debt.
"Most of the schools could likely find their way to a financial future that includes reduced MEF income, but denominational funding has value beyond its absolute amount," said Rev. Aleshire. "Its presence solidifies connections."
Our congregation's support of the Ministerial Education Fund is essential to current and future clergy of The United Methodist Church. Thank you!
—Adapted from "A Study of the 13 Official Theological Schools of The United Methodist Church," by the Rev. Daniel O. Aleshire, March 13, 2019. Used by permission.