Introducing Bethany BOLD

With the support of a $1M grant from the Lilly Endowment, Bethany Theological Seminary is launching Bethany BOLD, a new initiative that will prepare students to lead congregations as they respond to diversity and division. The rigorous and demanding program will challenge Bethany’s best and brightest students to apply their faith and education to address real-world problems, including poverty and racial injustice.

Students selected for Bethany BOLD will be required to engage in service in the Wayne County community, participate in educational activities (like lectures and training sessions) outside the seminary, and participate in purposeful reflection about their experiences in the program. In exchange, participants will receive full tuition scholarships, free housing, and a monthly living stipend.

“The world needs spiritual leaders who are ready to engage with the most pressing issues of the day with grit, faith, intelligence, and love,” notes President Jeff Carter. “Bethany BOLD represents Bethany’s commitment to prepare our students to lead others toward healing and unity — so the world flourishes.

“Bethany BOLD also underscores our commitment to the fundamental value of learning in community. Since 1905, Bethany students have not been content to confine their learning and growth to the four walls of a traditional classroom. That spirit continues today. Participants in this new initiative will forge strong relationships with one another and in the surrounding community as they answer God’s call to ministry and service and develop their gifts and talents for leadership.”

This competitive, immersive, residential program will invite students to commit to academic excellence, community living, and no new debt. By offering opportunities to learn and grow beyond the classroom, the program will provide students with unparalleled opportunities to gain self-awareness, develop deeper understanding of community structures, and engage in intensive service work.

Dr. Margaret (Maggie) Elwell has been named director of the Bethany BOLD program. Elwell, who joined the Bethany teaching faculty in the fall of 2022, is assistant professor of peace studies. She has a strong background in social justice and community engagement activities. She earned her doctorate at Princeton Seminary.

Read more about Bethany BOLD.