About Wesley Theological Seminary
The History of Wesley Theological Seminary
Our origin was in the 1881 meeting of the Maryland Annual Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church. Enabling legislation of that year led to a charter on the campus of Western Maryland College in Westminster, Maryland. For more than half a century the seminary thrived there as the training center for ministers of the Methodist Protestant Church.
In 1939, with the union of the three major branches of Methodism, Westminster Seminary became one of ten schools of theology of the new Methodist Church.
In 1955, institutional and church leaders determined the seminary should move from Westminster to the present site in Washington, D.C. In 1958, the seminary took up residence at its new campus and was renamed Wesley Theological Seminary.
In 1968 the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to form The United Methodist Church. Simultaneously, Wesley Theological Seminary became one of 13 seminaries of the new United Methodist Church.
Wesley continues to celebrate its move to the city of Washington through these early years of the new millennium. In 2009, a new downtown presence and center of faithful learning opened with Wesley Downtown. At the 4500 Massachusetts Avenue campus, the revitalization of Oxnam Chapel in 2010 signaled the merging of traditional and contemporary liturgical space in an educational setting.
Across the courtyard, the library underwent major renovation in 2011. In the same year, the board of governors affirmed the seminary’s decision to build a brand new dormitory on campus. This new residence hall opened for residency in the 2013 fall semester.
The seminary continues to work toward the restoration of the church through varied strategic initiatives, taking advantage of both our location in Washington, D.C. and our connections across the globe.
Wesley is a graduate theological school of The United Methodist Church and a member of the Washington Theological Consortium, and theological education at Wesley reflects our joint commitments to our Methodist heritage and to the ecumenical movement. At the beginning of the 21st century, Wesley Theological Seminary embraces a renewed global vision of ministry, as we learn from the experiences of Christians in other lands. We are open to dialogue with all the world's varied communities, and welcome cooperation with all who work for peace and justice.
At Wesley Theological Seminary, we seek to ground learning in the scripture and traditions that provide the church's identity in the gospel, and to prepare students for the practice of ministry. Therefore, every part of the curriculum is theological in character, and practically related to the church's life.
The educational process is designed to bring classroom and field learning into complementary relationship. To accomplish this, the seminary actively collaborates with local churches, hospitals and agencies to provide contexts for the practice of ministry. Church officials, pastors and laity help in the training, supervision and evaluation of Wesley students.
Since the whole church is called to be in ministry that engages the gifts and talents of lay and clergy alike, our degree programs are tailored to fit varying vocational goals. All reflect an emphasis on preparing those called to leadership in the church.
The range of educational programs at Wesley displays our understanding that all ministers - elder and deacon, lay and ordained, professional and nonprofessional - are called to proclaim the reconciling and liberating gospel of Jesus Christ to a broken world. Beyond our degree programs, the seminary's work of preparing persons for ministry is carried out in programs of continuing education for pastors, in lay certification programs, and through educational programs offered to the community at large. Wesley's commitment is to equip the whole people of God for the work of ministry.
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We invite you to apply today and be equipped to answer God's call on your life.