Seminary Caravan Takes 11 UM Seminaries on the Road
The first United Methodist Seminary Caravan will travel through Mississippi, Texas, and Oklahoma Jan. 23-27, giving prospective students an inexpensive, convenient way to learn more about theological education in the Wesleyan tradition.
The brainchild of admissions staff at Boston University School of Theology, The Theological School at Drew University, and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, the caravan is a pilot project that will be repeated in other parts of the country if this one is successful. At locations in the three states, seminary representatives will have display tables and be available to talk with prospective students about their institutions.
“Undergraduates have a wide range of different choices for theological education, and we wanted to offer them a chance to learn about their options for education in a United Methodist context,” said Grant Crusor, assistant director of admissions at Garrett. “We were trying to think how we could reach students on a wider basis.”
Anastasia Kidd, director of admissions at Boston University Theological School, said the hope is the seminary representatives will get a chance to talk to students they might have missed otherwise.
And both Kidd and Crusor hope the caravan will also save students money, since they will be able to talk with representatives from 11 seminaries without paying travel costs. Kidd said if a student tried to visit all the UM seminaries, it would cost about $3,500 with plane fare, hotel, meals, and rental car.
Stops are planned at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss.; Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, for the college’s Ethical Student Leadership Conference and Graduate School Fair; and Oklahoma City University.
“These are anchor points, and we hope to get students from the surrounding areas and churches, not just the colleges. We are contacting nearby colleges and Wesley Foundations, and those students will be welcome,” Kidd said.
The Rev. Trip Lowery, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s director of Young Adult Ministry, will be part of the seminary caravan to talk about The United Methodist Church’s Young Clergy Initiative, the Seminary Indebtedness Task Force, and general information about exploring God’s call to ordained ministry in the UMC.
“Our UM seminaries have some things in common but are also extremely unique. This caravan is a great way for students to see 11 of the 13 UM seminaries in one place and discover for themselves what makes each of our seminaries special,” Lowery said.
The participating seminaries, in addition to Boston, Drew, and Garrett are: Duke University, the Divinity School; Emory University, Candler School of Theology; Iliff School of Theology; Methodist Theological School in Ohio; Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University; Saint Paul School of Theology; United Theological Seminary; and Wesley Theological Seminary.
To learn more about the caravan and specific stops, visit www.explorecalling.org.
Brown is associate editor and writer, Office of Interpretation, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.