The Missional Fellows Program supports Wesley students who seek engagement in God’s transforming work in the world. Specially designed to support young adults with experience in service-corps organizations—such as Americorps, City Year, Teach for America, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, United Methodist US-2 or Young Adult Missionaries—the Missional Fellows Program offers additional funding support for those interested in pursuing theological education. Based at Wesley Downtown, located in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood of Washington, D.C., Wesley's Missional Fellows are equipped for leadership in churches or nonprofit organizations committed to social justice, service, community development, organizing and advocacy work with those in need. Missional Fellows may select a specialization in missional church as part of their degree studies for either the Master of Divinity or Master of Theological Studies programs.
Wesley's Missional Fellows are seeking faithful solutions to the challenges of service and social justice leadership within the growing number of missional churches, nonprofit organizations, and other emerging ministries. Missional Fellows receive a $10,000 stipend for educational and living expenses in addition to consideration for merit-based financial aid. Missional Fellows participate in a weekly seminar to read and discuss missional church theology and leadership and to reflect on how this applies to their own engagement in missional ministry. During their first year, Missional Fellows are able to engage in the Center for the Missional Church’s Heal the Sick program, designed to support congregations’ health ministry development. During their second and third years, Fellows may continue to work on the Heal the Sick program or they may develop their own missional engagement project in collaboration with ministry or community partners.
Students who are interested in becoming a Missional Fellow in 2014-2015 can apply to the program as part of their admissions process to Wesley Theological Seminary. Applications for admission and an additional Missional Fellows essay are due by February 1, 2014. Missional Fellows are required to be full-time Master of Divinity or Master of Theological Studies students taking a minimum of nine credit hours each semester. Applicants must submit an essay of 1500 or fewer words addressing the following questions:
Essays may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax to attention: Admissions at (202) 885-8585 or by mail to Admissions Office, Wesley Theological Seminary, 4500 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20016. Finalists for the Missional Fellows program will be invited to interviews in Washington, D.C., in early March 2014. Fellowships will be announced in late March of 2014.
Hometown: Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Experiences: Before coming to Wesley, Rachel was a Mission Intern with the General Board of Global Ministries for 3 years in Johannesburg, South Africa and Seattle, WA. In Johannesburg, she served with community centers based on HIV/AIDS education and counseling. In Seattle, she served as volunteer coordinator with Mary's Place, a day center for homeless women and children. In both of these experiences, she saw people working with a passion in their own community, breaking down the barriers that keep people apart.
Why Missional Fellow? "I look forward to working with other students who come from all different experiences but share a common passion for social justice so that we may learn from and with one another. Although I am still discerning my ever-changing call, I see myself participating in the local church after seminary where I can give voice to the issues of inclusivity and the call of the church to be a body of Christ where all are welcome."
Hometown: Collierville, Tennesee
Experiences: Laura is a political science major from the University of Tennessee of Chattanooga. Growing up, she was influenced by her father’s story of survival from the political unrest in Burundi, Africa in the early 1970s. This led her to seek justice and serve in many different aspects both locally and globally, specifically with the local and global mission of the Church. Before coming to seminary, she served in a local campus ministry in Chattanooga, TN, where she was a full-time student ministry coordinator.
Why Missional Fellow? "I came to seminary to prepare my heart, mind, and soul to serve and aid communities of spiritual and material poverty. While here in Seminary, I hope to sustain my commitment in serving in local ministry by placing myself in challenging situations of self-discovery, spiritual growth and opportunities of service where I can be able to see how God can work in a variety of environments."
Hometown: Houlka, Mississippi
Experiences: Aislinn began her journey to service and social justice ministry at a very young age under the influence of very active parents. This early influence led her to be a lead activist in a small community for international issues while she was in high school. She continued to be involved throughout college in service and justice ministries, reaching its peak with an internship with Hope International during the summer of 2011.
Why Missional Fellow? "To see the evidence of Wesley, its fellows, and its partners coming alongside the churches in the DC community to make tangible impact in their surroundings stirred my heart. I am excited to continue to hone my call in working with the fellowship program and community programs throughout the city."
Hometown: Villa Park, Illinois
Experiences: Katie was a US-2 with the General Board of Global Ministries. In that position, she partnered with domestic organizations on social justice work. Her placement site, Susannah Wesley Community Center, led her to work with positive youth development. At Susannah Wesley, she was involved with truancy, competency-based high school diploma, and after school programs.
Why Missional Fellow? "I see this missional movement as a way to re-center the church to the call from God to love and to care for God and neighbor. I see this vision as a catalyst for restoring communities."
Hometown: Washington, DC
Experiences: Christopher is passionate about improving the disparities in his hometown of Washington, DC. In addition to serving in DC, he has served abroad in Haiti and Ethiopia. He is currently a Public Services Librarian with the Charles County Public Library and fellowships at First Baptist Church of Glenarden, Pastor John K. Jenkins.
Why Missional Fellow? "All I want to do is serve God and all people. Wesley Theological Seminary—Mission Fellows program offers students an opportunity to view ministry from a wider scope."
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Experiences: Scott is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and has served in the U.S. Army as a health care administrator. He worked in Iraq to provide shoes and footwear for local youth in the desert east of Baghdad. He has also worked with the Watertown Urban Mission, in Watertown, NY, and served with the Hospitality House in Black River, NY on various local service projects.
Why Missional Fellow? "I feel called to learn more about this radical love that God has for humanity and for creation. I hope to continue to work with efforts and causes to provide shoes to children in need both in the United States and internationally."
The Missional Church specialization is designed to equip church leaders to focus on the church's mission of being sent into the world to create disciples for Jesus Christ. The program does this by focusing on both the nature of the church to be missional and the leadership and practices of fruitful missional churches. These two emphases are covered in the core courses, CM150 Leadership and Practices of the Missional Church; and CM 205 Mission of Church in Contemporary World. Students are required to select one of these core courses for the specialization. In addition to the core course, students must select at least three electives for 8 or more credit hours (from the list below) to complete the specialization. If students take both core courses, the second core course may be counted toward the elective requirement for the specialization. Finally, students are required to complete a capstone missional church project that allows them to undertake and reflect upon an engaged missional ministry project.
In the core courses, students are introduced to understandings of missional ecclesiology—the nature of the church as Christ's Body sent into the world to carry on the mission of making disciples and caring for one another—and the practices of fruitful missional churches. Beyond this foundational examination of the missional church, students are encouraged to take a course that examines the church in its context—this may be the contemporary church facing a postmodern culture (ST-225); the global church and issues of post-colonialism; or the church today facing a multicultural, interfaith context (e.g. courses CM-225, ST-294, WR-294). Students may wish to concentrate their electives to equip them to enter into a particular mission field, such as youth and young adults (CF-240, CF-253, CF-255), urban ministry (CM 230, CM231), emergent church (CM-203, CM-204), or public theology (ES-237, ES-304, ES-491, ES-495, ES-497). Or students may wish to survey a diversity of these missional settings, to better equip themselves for challenges of leading the church as lead (sole) pastor who must address all of these challenges.
Students are encouraged to select their Practice in Mission and Ministry placement site with an eye toward their area of concentration, if such concentration is desired. Students should speak with missional church program faculty members to design a course concentration that will suit their ministry goals. It is recommended that students declare their interest in a missional church specialization within the first 30 credit hours of their degree program by completing a “Missional Church Specialization” form and filing it with the Registrar.
Capstone project: (2 credit hours) Missional Engagement Project CM-440 -- Students are expected to complete a project that entails their engagement in the community on a missional church project. It is expected the student will be working as part of a ministry team or have partners engaged in the project that demonstrates how the student is engaging in God’s transforming, redeeming work in the world. This may take a number of forms, but sample projects might include: helping to form a new missional community in a particular area or among a particular group of people; assisting a community in establishing or growing an outreach missions ministry; or helping to create a new worshipping community among a targeted group of people.
Core courses: All students are required to take one of the two core courses in the theology and ecclesiology of the missional church:
Capstone course CM-440 (2 credits): Students are required to complete a capstone missional church project that allows them to undertake and reflect upon an engaged missional ministry project. This should be scheduled for the final or second-to-last semester of the student’s course of study.
Elective courses: Students must complete at least three additional courses (minimum 8 credit hours) that assist in understanding the missional church in the world and/or the practices of the missional church. Courses may be chosen from the following list or selected from among other seminary (or consortium) courses pending prior approval of the program director:
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