Eastern Mennonite Seminary shares a special relationship with The United Methodist Church (UMC) in theological education. EMS is approved by the UMC University Senate for the training of candidates pursuing ordination as elders and deacons. Approximately 20% of the EMS student body is composed of UM students, and dedicated scholarship aid is available for United Methodist students. EMS maintains a thriving UM ethos within its learning community, and shares the UMC’s strong commitments to peacebuilding and principles of social justice.
The UMC maintains close contact with its students at EMS through classes in United Methodist studies and by frequent on-campus visits from UMC representatives such as the Harrisonburg District Superintendent, leaders from the Center for Clergy Excellence of the Virginia United Methodist Conference, and leaders from the West Virginia Conference and other conferences.
As part of seminary field education, UM students typically serve either as licensed local pastors of UMC congregations or through internships in local UM churches as seminarians or lay members. Virginia Conference students are encouraged to complete Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training while in seminary, conveniently fulfilling this requirement through EMS’s own CPE program – as EMS is one of only 6 theological seminaries in the U.S. with its own fully accredited CPE program.
UM faculty at EMS make significant contributions to the seminary curriculum and learning community. Dr. David Evans, Associate Professor of History and Intercultural Studies, provides visionary teaching and leadership, and his research areas include Wesleyan-Methodist studies. Dr. Evans has taught UM history, doctrine and polity courses at EMS since 2012 and serves as the Director of Seminary Intercultural Programs. EMS also benefits from the leadership of Rev. Courtney Joyner, a UMC-ordained deacon, who is the Director of Mentored Ministry, Seminary Chapel Minister and Instructor of Worship, Preaching and Formation at EMS. These faculty members advise and mentor students preparing for ordination in the UMC. In addition to UM Studies courses, EMS regularly offers courses taught by qualified faculty in evangelism, mission, and worship. This provides essential training and continuing theological education for persons in the UMC orders of elder and deacon.