As the 2021-22 academic year begins, 32 new degree-seeking students are expected to join the innovative learning community of Bethany Theological Seminary.
Offering both in-person and distance learning options, the Seminary attracts students from across the U.S. as well as Nigeria, where the Seminary has built a Technology Centre in Jos to help students access Bethany classes via Zoom. Total enrollment projected to be 99 students this fall — the largest student body at the Seminary in recent years.
Bethany continues to attract many students from the Church of the Brethren, most of whom will serve the denomination as pastors or in alternative forms of ministry. The Seminary’s student body also includes students from a diverse swath of backgrounds, including Catholic, Baptist, Episcopalian, Latter Day Saints, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ and non-denominational individuals. Nigerian students represent Ekklisiyar Yanuwa a Nigeria (EYN), the Church of the Brethren’s sister denomination, as well as other denominations.
“We are excited to welcome a new class of talented students who will enrich the academic and spiritual life of the Seminary,” says Steve Schweitzer, academic dean. “Our professors have listened carefully to students’ interests and needs, and they have created new courses and developed new certificates and degree programs in response to student needs. This year’s entering students demonstrate that what Bethany is offering resonates with a diverse cross section of students.”
Known for its innovative curriculum and exceptional faculty, Bethany offers a wide variety of courses in multiple formats, and it shares students and faculty with Earlham School of Religion — a Quaker seminary located adjacent to Bethany. All students benefit from both exceptional instruction in biblical and theological studies as well as opportunities for experiential learning and cross-cultural study. The Seminary offers generous financial aid, making it possible for students to complete graduate student without taking on additional student or commercial debt.
New this year is the Master of Arts in Spiritual and Social Transformation (MASST), a degree designed for those who are responding to a clear call to ministry and service in professions that do not require ordination, including nonprofit leadership and spiritual direction. Bethany also offers the Master of Divinity, the Master of Arts, and the Master of Arts in Theopoetics and Writing, as well as five certificate programs.
The Seminary offers a residential option in a group of houses near campus. Thirteen students will live in the “Bethany Neighborhood” this academic year. As Covid-19 protocols permit, the seminary will offer weekly worship for students, faculty, and staff, as well as events open to the public.
On Thursday, August 27, 2021, Bethany and its partner institution, the Earlham School of Religion, will celebrate the beginning of a new academic year with an outdoor Opening Convocation at 11:20 a.m. Dr. Xavier Johnson, director of contextual ministry education and assistant professor of practical theology at ESR, will be the featured speaker.