I have been to new student orientations at almost all the WTC schools, and I am so impressed with the talents and diverse backgrounds of incoming students. The diversity of age, race and gender; single, married, and celibate; traditional, progressive, and in between; and committed, seekers, and “nones” is most impressive. There are other marks of divesity and gifts as well:
* There are students with professional backgrounds in Law, Health Care, Public Policy, Law Enforcement, Social Work, the Military, Community engagement, Church Leadership and other significant fields. This cross-polination of other professions and theological education can only enrich their present and future ministries.
* There are students from recent academic work in the humanities (including religion, literature, and philosophy), the social sciences, engineering, the natural sciences and business. Their engagement with interdisciplinary thinking can only strengthen theological discourse in their studies.
* There are adult learners returning to academic work after years of family life, community service, and part time work who now feel the call to study and discern a future ministry. They will understand many of their parishioners and community members more readily.
Today, theological education engages much more than the preparation of pastors and priests in pursuit of the Master of Divinity. There are students pursuing a Masters in Religious Education, a Masters in Christian Leadership, a Masters in the Arts (toward further study), the Doctor of Ministry, Pontifical Degrees, the PhD and more. Almost every school today balances the preparation for lay and clerical ministries, public and ecclesial ministries, theological enrichment of other professions, and deepening the spiritual life of individuals.
We welcome all new students to theological educaiton, and we in the Consortium stand ready to provide added resources, courses, student fellowship, and personal support for your work.
Image: New Students at Wesley for the 2015-16 year.