Bethany Theological Seminary, Earlham School of Religion (ESR), and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) have entered into an open cross-registration agreement. This is the first collaborative effort of its kind among seminaries of the three Historic Peace Church traditions: Church of the Brethren, Quaker (Society of Friends), and Mennonite.
The new agreement allows eligible students at the Indiana-based seminaries to enroll in most courses offered by the seminaries without tuition adjustments being made. Online courses and synchronous video technology are part of the curriculum at each school, making an increasing number of courses widely accessible. The cross-registration opportunity begins with the fall 2019 semester.
According to Steve Schweitzer, academic dean at Bethany, the agreement builds on a twenty-five-year partnership between Bethany and ESR that has maximized the strengths and resources of the two schools. “Students at both schools benefit in broader opportunities for coursework and other educational experiences. Offering courses online and using synchronous video builds community among students and faculty and gives us the ability to provide quality education regardless of location, across the country and around the world. This exciting new relationship with AMBS will expand opportunities for students to take a wider variety of courses and engage in diverse theological conversations with individuals from all three institutions.”
Development of the agreement arose from conversations among the deans of the three schools regarding potential collaborative opportunities. Beverly Lapp, vice president and academic dean at AMBS, located in Elkhart, said, “We hope this initiative will increase interest in theological education rooted in the Historic Peace Church tradition. It’s exciting that we have three theological schools in the state of Indiana with shared yet distinctive denominational identities that are ready to work together.”
“This partnership among seminaries of the Historic Peace Churches could not be timelier,” stated Matt Hisrich, dean of ESR. “The world needs voices that present alternatives to the dominant narrative of violence as an appropriate means to achieve ends. Our three traditions each offer compelling options rooted in hundreds of years of faith and development, and this new partnership provides a powerful testimony to our shared theological commitment. I am excited for the opportunities our collaboration presents for all our students.”