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Pastoral Presence Program

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The Pastoral Presence Program at Bethany Theological Seminary is a unique continuing education opportunity for Church of the Brethren pastors, designed to encourage interaction between pastors and the Seminary.

Through the Pastor-in-Residence track or the Pastoral Sabbatical track, participants can avail themselves of Bethany facilities and engage in Seminary life. Access to Lilly Library’s resources at Earlham College is available, including Bethany’s archived special collections of more than 5000 rare and valuable Bibles, hymnals, and theological works.

While Bethany can provide space for education, research, and retreat, pastors can also make important contributions to the life and educational context at Bethany. Thus, both Bethany and pastors who participate in the program have something to gain and something to give.


Both tracks provide a setting for focused, purposeful study through the following activities:

  • meeting with professors and students
  • attending classes
  • participating in chapel services, forums and lectures, and other campus events
  • pursuing research and writing projects

The Pastor-in-Residence track includes the understanding that the participant will spend significant time interacting with the Bethany community as a resource person through participation in specific courses and conversations with students and faculty in the classroom and other settings.


It is expected that those in the Pastoral Presence Program will

  • complete a formal application, including an 800-1,000 word description of the intended research project, activities, and purpose of the time spent in the program;
  • reside at Brethren House for at least two weeks;
  • preach or make a presentation at a Seminary chapel or forum;
  • complete an evaluation of the program.


Pastors participating in the program will stay at Brethren House, the Seminary's guest house, located across the street from the Bethany Center. Brethren House has a kitchen, dining room, and living room on the first floor, and three bedrooms on the second floor. Lodging cost is $25 per night, or participants can choose to serve as the host for other Brethren House guests for a reduced rate. Hosting responsibilities include cleaning, laundry, and keeping the pantry stocked for continental breakfast.


Pastoral Presence Program participants will be given a temporary library card and research and meeting space in Lilly Library, located on the adjacent Earlham College campus and serving the college, Bethany, and Earlham School of Religion. Facilities of the college and seminaries will be accessible. A short-term membership at the college Wellness Center may be obtained for an additional fee.


In addition to lodging costs and the optional Wellness Center fee, program participants will pay a $200 fee for use of facilities and access purposes.


Interested persons should complete the online application.


For more information, contact:

Shaye IsaacsShaye Isaacs, Executive Assistant to the President      765-983-1803


Brandon Hanks
(Master of Divinity)

BrandonI find great comfort in knowing that the gifts of God are irrevocable--that God is faithful even if we are faithless. My faith journey begins with the Church of the Brethren. I was raised in the church by my family going to Sunday school and attending worship each week. But as a teenager I found myself struggling in my understanding of the word of God. I wanted to own my faith. I wanted it to be a real and genuine confession, not one merely adopted through my family's tradition. It was during that time of exploration that God revealed my calling as a minister in God's church.