Schools of Theology of The United Methodist Church
¶ 1422. Goals-1. United Methodist schools of theology share a common mission of preparing persons for leadership in the ministry of The United Methodist Church; of leading in the ongoing reflection on Wesleyan theology; and of assisting the church in fulfilling its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. They contribute to the life of the global United Methodist connection through theological education for the sake of the worldwide mission of the church. These schools of theology are maintained for the education of ordained and lay leadership, for the interpretation of the Christian faith and United Methodist tradition through biblical and theological research, and for prophetic leadership. The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry provides leadership and support in this common mission and in the development of relationships among the schools of theology in the U.S.A. and the central conferences and the various agencies of the General Church.
2. All candidates for ordination as deacon or elder in The United Methodist Church are strongly encouraged to attend United Methodist schools of theology since these schools share with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the conference Boards of Ordained Ministry in the work of preparing persons for ordination and leadership in The United Methodist Church.
3. Schools of Theology of The United Methodist Church Located in the U.S.A.-a) Schools of theology of The United Methodist Church located in the U.S.A. exist to serve The United Methodist Church, primarily in the United States, but with concern for the witness of the church around the world. In addition to their commitment to United Methodism, they also serve students of other denominations in witness to United Methodism’s ecumenical relationships. As denominational schools, they have a historic relationship to the denomination and are officially related to The United Methodist Church through the Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the approval of the University Senate. The following schools comprise this network of United Methodist schools of theology in the U.S.A.: Boston University School of Theology, Claremont School of Theology, Duke Divinity School, Candler School of Theology, the Theological School-Drew University, Gammon Theological Seminary (ITC), Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Iliff School of Theology, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, Perkins School of Theology, Saint Paul School of Theology, United Theological Seminary (Dayton, Ohio), and Wesley Theological Seminary. They are accountable to the church through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the University Senate. Therefore, agencies of the church seeking to monitor the use of the schools will do so in cooperation with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Division of Ordained Ministry.
b) These schools of theology shall receive financial support for the current operating expenses from the annual conferences in the USA through the Ministerial Education Fund, administered by the Division of Ordained Ministry, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. (See ¶ 816.2.) The Ministerial Education Fund shall be regarded by the annual conferences in the USA as a priority to be met before any additional benevolence, grants, or funds are allocated to other theological schools or schools of religion.33
c) In fulfilling their task of preparing persons for effective service for Christ and the church, The United Methodist schools of theology located in the USA shall acquaint students with the current polity, theology and programs of The United Methodist Church and shall offer practical experience in administration, evangelism, stewardship, and other areas which will prepare them for effective Christian ministry in a multi-cultural society. Each school of theology, in consultation with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Division of Ordained Ministry, shall provide the courses in United Methodist history, doctrine, and polity specified in ¶ 335.(3) and seek to form persons for ministry in the Wesleyan tradition.
d) Any institution seeking affiliation with The United Methodist Church for the preparation of candidates for ordination must first present its plan to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Division of Ordained Ministry for approval and recommendation to the University Senate, which alone can grant affiliation and listing as a United Methodist school of theology. A select number of
33. See Judicial Council Decision 545.
non-United Methodist schools of theology may be granted approval for the preparation of candidates for ordination under the criteria of the University Senate.
4. Schools of Theology of The United Methodist Church Located in the Central Conferences-a) In order to meet the needs for theological education and clergy training in their regions, the central conferences establish schools of theology to serve the United Methodists in their distinct cultural, social, and linguistic context. Schools of theology and programs of clergy training are also established by General Board of Global Ministries and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry to serve the needs of the central conferences. These schools may be supported through the central conference and/or the General Board of Global Ministries and/or the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and are accountable to the appropriate bodies for their program and their relationship to the denomination.
b) Additional schools of theology and pastoral training may be established by the central conference, General Conference, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, or the General Board of Global Ministries and accountability depends on the founding documents of the institutions.
5. The United Methodist Church also shares in global theological education through ecumenical schools of theology where The United Methodist Church is a partner. Though not United Methodist-related, these institutions serve on behalf of United Methodists in those regions and may relate to the General Board of Global Ministries and/or General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, in accordance with their charter and mission.