Pastoral Presence Program

The Pastoral Presence Program at Bethany Theological Seminary is a unique continuing education opportunity for pastors in the Church of the Brethren and other denominations, designed to encourage interaction between pastors and the Seminary.

Through the Pastor-in-Residence track or the Pastoral Sabbatical track, participants can avail themselves of Bethany facilities and engage in Seminary life. Access to Lilly Library’s resources at Earlham College is available, including Bethany’s archived special collections of more than 5000 rare and valuable Bibles, hymnals, and theological works.

While Bethany can provide space for education, research, and retreat, pastors can also make important contributions to the life and educational context at Bethany. Thus, both Bethany and pastors who participate in the program have something to gain and something to give.


Both tracks provide a setting for focused, purposeful study through the following activities:

  • meeting with professors and students
  • attending class sessions
  • participating in chapel services, forums and lectures, and other campus events
  • pursuing research and writing projects

The Pastor-in-Residence track includes the understanding that the participant will spend significant time interacting with the Bethany community as a resource person through participation in specific courses and conversations with students and faculty in the classroom and other settings.


It is expected that those in the Pastoral Presence Program will

  • complete a formal application, including a 250- to 500-word description of the intended research project, activities, and purpose of the time spent in the program;
  • participate in Bethany community life;
  • complete an evaluation of the program.

Participants will also have the opportunity to preach or make a presentation at a Seminary chapel or forum.


Pastors participating in the program typically stay at Brethren House, the Seminary’s guest house, located across the street from the Bethany Center. Brethren House has a kitchen, dining room, and living room on the first floor, and three bedrooms on the second floor. Lodging cost is $15 per night.


Pastoral Presence Program participants will be given a temporary library card and research and meeting space in Lilly Library, located on the adjacent Earlham College campus and serving the college, Bethany, and Earlham School of Religion. Facilities of the college and seminaries will be accessible. A Bethany guest membership at the college Wellness Center is available for participants.


In addition to lodging costs, program participants will pay a $200 access fee.


Interested persons should complete the online application.