How Do I Choose the Best Episcopal Seminary?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

If you are considering attending an Episcopal seminary, it is important to evaluate your career and ministry goals, consider the faculty and programs at the seminary and familiarize yourself with the seminary's location. It also is advisable to consider your financial situation as well as the financial stability of the seminary itself. Finally, it might be a good idea to talk to your bishop and other clergy and ministry leaders and get their feedback on each seminary that you consider.

Many people attend an Episcopal seminary seminary because they want to prepare for the priesthood, but it might be that you are uninterested in ordination and would like to receive a graduate-level education in theology, pastoral counseling or Christian education. Some seminaries offer multiple programs that allow you to select the educational track that matches your vocational goals. If you are uninterested in ordination but want to prepare for a lay ministry, evaluate whether the seminaries offer degrees other than an ordination-track Master of Divinity, such as a Master of Christian Education or a Master of Arts degree in other subject areas. You also should consider the faculty at each seminary, particularly if you are interested in a specialized area of study. If you can find a seminary that has faculty members who shares your academic or professional interests, you might find your studies to be more profitable and fulfilling.

Another consideration is location. Although there might be an Episcopal seminary close to where you live, in many cases, you will have to relocate to complete your seminary education. Relocation not only can be expensive, it can be a significant change for your family, if you have one, as well as for yourself. If possible, visit the cities where Episcopal seminaries are located so you can better understand your options.

It is a good idea to try to get feedback from other people who have attended Episcopal seminary before you make a final decision. Your bishop might be able to give you some good information about each seminary and let you know whether the diocese regards certain seminaries more favorably than others. The priest of your parish as well as lay ministers who have attended seminary might also have recommendations for you. If you have any concerns about a particular seminary, talking to people who actually attended the school can be extremely helpful in developing a better understanding of the school and making a decision about enrollment.

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