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About Bethany

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-- an educational experience for the mind, heart, soul, and spirit.Bethany Building
 

Founded in 1905, Bethany Theological Seminary is the graduate school and academy for theological education for the Church of the Brethren.  Rooted in Anabaptism and Pietism, the Church of the Brethren offers a unique blend of practicality and spirituality. Brethren emphasize service, simple living, and the importance of the faith community. Along with the Quakers (The Society of Friends) and Mennonites, the Church of the Brethren is a historic peace church, conscientiously opposed to all war, and intentional about working with peacemaking and reconciliation concerns.

ConversationTouching the heart. We are more than an institution which offers courses and grants degrees. We are a community of faith and learning whose members create a common life, build significant relationships, contribute to mutual growth, celebrate joys, share concerns, worship and pray together, and hold one another accountable to shared goals and values. The marks of a Bethany education include building true community, seeking and making peace, advocating God's justice, reconciling hostile parties, serving human need, and living a simple and focused life.
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Reviving the soul. Our educational programs provide a focal point for faith and ministry in a diverse and conflicted society and encourage close relationships with congregations, the world-wide church, the peoples of the world, and God’s creation. From our early days, we have been an open community, welcoming men and women of diverse backgrounds to prepare for ministry in Christ's name. That commitment to be inclusive is reflected in our mission statement, a nondiscriminatory admissions policy, and in the quest to build cultural and theological diversity into the learning process and the classroom. Faculty and students dialog in a style of mutual learning that encourages growth and models healthy community. Our students represent a variety of spiritual backgrounds, creating an ecumenical environment of faith and learning. Each one discovers how to value their own faith tradition as a part of the common heritage of all Christians.

ClassroomEnergizing the spirit. We live today in the paradox of a world more connected than ever through modern technology, but more divided than ever by parochial interests and cultural conflicts. Ministry in such a world requires awareness of plurality from the local to global arena and ability to build bridges of understanding across chasms of diversity. Our educational programs prepare persons for a ministry that connects people and cultures. Study tours to other countries, the presence of international students, cross-cultural ministry experiences, courses on conflict and mediation, and environmental ethics, all contribute to building relationships with the whole of God’s world. We believe that theological education has the potential to equip and energize not only clergy, but the whole people of God. In our Anabaptist-Pietist tradition that recognizes the presence of spiritual gifts in the whole body of Christ, we train leaders to train others.

Nan Erbaugh
Emphasis in Peace Studies '08

NanBethany taught me so much. I didn't realize what a loner I had really been all my life until I opened myself to life within the Bethany community. I felt stretched, pushed, and affirmed in amazing, helpful ways. The importance of a close, supportive community cannot be overestimated, especially in light of the challenges faced living out the peace witness to which I feel called. At Bethany, I gained more courage to step into this crucial niche of the Church of the Brethren. Add the grounded, spiritual theological foundation and academic depth I gained through course work, and I feel transformed in a powerful, positive way to serve God.