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Boston University creates new denominational program for Episcopalians

Boston University creates new denominational program for Episcopalians

Perhaps sensing a gap in the wake of Episcopal Divinity School’s departure for New York City to join with Union Theological Seminary, Boston University School of Theology (BUSTH) has announced the formation of a new Episcopal denominational learning community.


In collaboration with the Episcopal Dioceses of Massachusetts, the intent of the learning community is to form a community of students, faculty, and staff dedicated to nurturing and preparing Episcopal students for future leadership and service in and through the church. The Anglican Episcopal Community of Learning (AECL) is a specialized program that aims to provide the best possible education in an ecumenical community that values the unique gifts, histories, and ministerial legacies of the denominations represented.


The mission of the Community of Learning is to form a community dedicated to nurturing and preparing global Anglican and Episcopal students for future leadership and service in and through its distinctive tradition. Communities of Learning seek to nurture the next generation of leaders for ministries in the churches and in service to the larger world. The intention is to equip students in their own distinctive denominational traditions and in ecumenical traditions of Christianity, providing them with curricular and co-curricular opportunities to ground their academic, spiritual, ecclesial, professional, and social-global growth. At the same time, BUSTH seeks to enrich the ecumenical and global life for all students at the School.


The School also announced that a second learning community is being formed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC) for ministry education and leadership formation for service to the United Church of Christ.


The two Communities of Learning share common features that respond to unique denominational traditions and needs, such as courses, co-curricular opportunities, contextual education, spiritual life offerings, mentors and consultants, and opportunities to connect with programs and projects of the denominations and the School of Theology. These projects may focus on theological traditions, social justice, worship, sacred music, mission, and other important concerns. The rich collaborations and shared courses with other schools of the Boston Theological Institute will also be a part of the BUSTH Communities of Learning experience.


Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore expressed enthusiasm for these two new communities, saying; “We have long had a significant number of global Anglican, Episcopal, and United Church of Christ students. We value what these students and their churches have contributed to an STH education for at least five decades. Now we are able to offer more comprehensive support of the Episcopal and UCC students and to enhance ecumenical learning and global-ecumenical community for the entire community. This is the beginning of a new era in theological education at Boston University.”


Boston University School of Theology was founded in 1839 as a seminary of the Methodist Church.  Still a Methodist seminary, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, BUSTH offers a robustly ecumenical institution that welcomes students from diverse faith traditions who are pursuing a wide range of vocations – parish ministry, conflict transformation, chaplaincy, campus ministry, administration, non-profit management, social work, teaching, justice advocacy, peacemaking, interfaith dialogue, and more.


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The language is coy. Or maybe one needs to be local to ‘get’ this. BU School of Theology is offering education for ordained ministry for TEC and UCC students? If so, looks like good opportunities for those who would have attended EDS and Andover Newton.

Steve Symes

When the door closes shut, as it did on those of us attending Episcopal Divinity School – God always offers opportunity, windows and light, to march on. The pain of the closure is deep, yet, this is an exciting opportunity to continue Christian Formation in New England. I am now a student at BU, and God is good. I agree with Jean Lall’s comments.


This is wonderful news. My husband is an alumnus of BU School of Theology, so we had a chance last year to meet the remarkable Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore and hear about developments at the School and plans for the future. This initiative promises great mutual enrichment for the denominational groups and for the seminary and BU as a whole, and seems to me a good model in a time when fewer denominational seminaries will be viable.

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