Applications are now being accepted for Wesley’s newest Doctor of Ministry track which will take place at Wesley House in Cambridge, England beginning in January 2018.
Titled “Holiness, Effective Ministry, and Engagement with the World,” the program features an international line-up of top-notch faculty working with a global cohort of students, all in residence at one of the world’s most prestigious centers of learning.
The program will consist of four two-week sessions in Cambridge, with reading and writing assignments to be completed independently. The partnership with Wesley House gives the program a home at the very heart of Methodist studies.
For current D.Min. student Johannah Myers, a sojourn at Wesley House had both immediate and longterm impacts on her life and work.
“When I stepped foot off the bus in Cambridge for the first time, I knew no one,” she said. “But after only one day of class, a group of us picked a pub to go grab an evening meal. By the time the meal was over, new and wonderful friendships were formed.”
The close-knit nature of each D.Min cohort is key to the program’s lasting success. “Because we are all away from home, in a new environment, a sense of community formed quickly and deeply,” Myers said.
Favorite jaunts included a hike to Grantchester and punting on the Cam River. The city’s reputation as a centuries old bastion of learning does not hurt either. “I think being in Cambridge raises our expectations of ourselves,” Myers said.
Director of Christian Formation at Aldersgate UMC in Greenville, S.C., Myers received her M.Div. in 2004 from Duke University. As a working professional, the Wesley D.Min. program not only fits with her busy life, but is already enhancing her ministry.
“I feel strongly that God called me to this program but without an end plan in mind,” she said. “That being said, I can already tell a difference in my leadership and my ministry. I am more confident in my leadership. I also come back from each semester refreshed and energized – even with the jetlag!”
Myers’ congregants make sure that new energy does not go to waste. “They love to ask questions about my experiences and have been open to what I have to share as I’m learning,” Myers said. “Our church was already involved in a time of visioning for the future. My work on my D.Min. has helped me help our group navigate our growth.”
Myers’ cohort, due to graduate in 2019, includes Rev. Daniel Mejia-Munoz, senior pastor at St. Matthews UMC in Bowie, M.D., and a member of Wesley’s Board of Governors.
“As an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, I was particularly interested in furthering my understanding of John Wesley’s leadership and spirituality,” Mejia-Munoz said.
He calls the combination of a Wesley program offered through Cambridge’s Wesley House, “an answer to my prayers,” and its international character a “once in a lifetime experience.”
And he’s eager to share his blessings. “I hope that students from all Christian denominations will seriously consider this unique program that can ignite new understandings of spirituality and the practice of ministry,” Mejia-Munoz said.
Rev. Dr. Bruce Birch, Wesley’s professor emeritus of Old Testament, has served as coordinator of the program since the first cohort launched in 2014.
“Wesley House is an historic Methodist study center at Cambridge University and found itself needing to redevelop its programming,” Birch said. “We joined them to offer a D.Min. degree located in their facility and are now at the point of offering a third track starting in January 2018.”
Birch feels strongly that the international gathering of students and faculty is key to the experience. “It is obviously a gift to learn with a wide variety of perspectives around the table,” he said. “We have had eight different nations and eight different denominations represented. The dialogue has been very rich.”
Like his students, Birch finds that working in Cambridge’s hallowed halls can be especially rewarding. “Students are surrounded by history, have access to great libraries, can travel to other historic and cultural sites in the United Kingdom, and participate in the cultural life of Cambridge itself,” he said.
Reflecting on the new cohort’s focus on “Holiness, Effective Ministry, and Engagement with the World,” Birch noted that holiness was an especially important theme for John Wesley and that vital congregations have always sought to be active in the wider world.
“We live in times where there has never been a greater need for ministries grounded in personal and social holiness to impact the difficult challenges of the world today,” Birch said.
To apply for the 2018 D.Min. program at Wesley House, visit here.