ATS only approved schools : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I"m currently a ministerial institute student and in the Discipline it states that in order to be an itinerant elder you must have graduated from an ATS M.Div program or equivalent. There are alot of other schools not ATS approved and are a part of regionally accredited colleges and universities. Also, I would like to know if The AME Church will accept an M.Div degree from an Accrediting Commissions International approved theological seminary?

-- Anonymous, December 24, 2003


The 2000 Discipline actually reads: (page 97) "E. A Candidate for ordination as itinerant elder must be a graduate of a Seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools or similar Accrediting agencies. Exception to these requirements is at the discretion of the Annual Conference Board of Examiners with the approval of the Presiding Bishop."

This means that 1) An MDiv is not a requirement. 2) The school must be accredited.

There are several agencies recongnized by the Dept of Education for accrediting purposes. ATS, TRACS, and the Regional Accrediting Agencies. The key is that the agency is recognized CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation) and/or by the Dept of Education. (key things to look for: 1. Does the school accept Gov't financial aide including grants, Stafford or other Gov't loans. 2. Does the military recognize the degree (MDiv) for the purpose of the chaplaincy. (The military will not allow you to become a chaplain without a MDiv from these types of schools).

ATS ( in 1936 and is recongnized by CHEA and the Dept of Education. TRACS ( started in 1979 and is also recognized by CHEA and the Dept of Education.

There are six regional accrediting agencies.New England Association of Schools and Colleges: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges: District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania North Central Association: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington Western Association of Schools and Colleges: California and Hawaii

Everyone has their opinions, what is important are facts.

The Accrediting Commissions International yielded not website upon my google search of the internet. This is disturbing and makes it difficult to examine its qualifications. There was a website for a school that claims to be accredited by them. I would advise you to find out if this accrediting agency meets the criteria listed above. If it does not you will be wasting your time and money. There are plenty of seminaries that are accredited search for one that meets the criteria. I hope this helps.

-- Anonymous, December 25, 2003

I beg to differ and agree:

An MDiv is preferred, since it is the quickest route to a DMin.

Most of the other denominations require an MDiv to pastor in their churches.

You should, check with, AND get in WRITING, the o.k. from your Conference/Bishop/Dean of Seminary.

You don't want to spend thousands of dollars for a piece of paper that carries no weight. It has happened before.

-- Anonymous, December 25, 2003

You are correct in stating that an MDiv is preferred, however it is not required. I was answering the question as asked. The MDiv or other seminary degree,should also include at a minimum Greek, include Hebrew if you want to really perform good exegesis. Greek however will allow you to interpret the Septuagint. It is always important to clear issues such as these with the appropriate authorities, unfortunately there is much dis-information out regarding this and other issues.

-- Anonymous, December 25, 2003

Your questions are much too important to have answered on a discussion board for as Rev. Harper pointed out you will be spending lots of money and time. I suggest strongly that you consult with your Presiding Elder.

My daughter is a first year student and will be entering seminary in the fall of 2004, I will be entering a D.Min program. My Presiding Elder has been invaluable for both of us during this process. I am in the Pacific Northwest conference. For the D.Min program, my P.E had to send in a a recommendation as part of the admission process.

Also I am in the fifth district and my prelate is Bishop Bryant, he is very interested in the seminaries that his students and clergy plan to attend and has been very helpful in helping my daughter decide where to apply. I also let him know where I was applying.

I and my daughter have found it is so helpful and encouraging to have the support of our Presiding Elder and Bishop. And for most seminaries you will need the endorsement of your P.E. or Bishop or both for your application process.

This question is too important so do check with your P.E. also as you are looking at seminaries call the admission office and ask if they offer A.M.E. polity and doctrine, some seminaries do or will offer the class if enough students request it.

One last thing if there are schools that you are interested in post that on the board and ask if there are alums on the board. I am an alum of Princeton seminary and I get at least 4 letters a year asking me to refer potential students. I always feel bad because I don't know anyone. Seminaries value their alums and want us to refer.

This is an exciting time for you and God will open all doors if you ask. Getting a seminary education is well worth the time, money and effort and another plus with an M.Div is that it is a terminal degree which means it is the highest degree you can get in your field of training, i.e MSW, MFA and that means you can teach in a university setting.

Keep us posted and do contact your P.E. or Bishop personally.

-- Anonymous, December 25, 2003

I would like to know which districts the MDiv is not required for ordination to itinerant elder. Bishop Cousin in the 4th definitely requires it and has in most conferences since 2000.

Let some of us know which districts do and or do not require MDiv.

I heard that Bishop Bryant took the viewpoint that you would operate under the catalog when you entered thereby if you were in the process before 2000 then the M Div was not a requirement you could still be ordained. However after 2000 entering candidates must meet discipline qualifications.

I really find it very upsetting that our basic rules can differ district to district.

-- Anonymous, December 25, 2003

Great responses. Rev Rogers, the MDiv is not a terminal degree. Doctorates are terminal degrees, so in the case of the profession of ministry that would be a DMin or ThD. I do not know what the requirements are for the Districts. I have heard of individuals who change districts to get around the seminary requirement. As stated by all your PE or Bishop is the final word on the District requirements. It would be great if we had standards that were the same, however this is not the case. We are still ordaining Deacons without college degrees so expecting someone to have an MDiv within two years is impractical.

Is the AME church considering assisting ministers with financial support for the completion of these requirements? There are denominations that offer this assistance.

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2003

A M.Div is considered a terminal degree as I stated in my previous post. A terminal degree is the highest degree THAT YOU NEED in order to practice or teach in your particular discipline or program.(i.e. MSW, MFA, are also terminal degrees.) A. D.min, or Ph.D is NOT needed to practice ministry, it is something that pastor's can and do go on to get if they chose.

If you have any doubts contact a seminary or do a search on the internet. A traditional M.Div program is 3 years post a undergrad degree. A M.A is traditionally a 2 year program.

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2003

My above post should read, if you have any doubts that a M.Div is a terminal degree, contact a seminary or do a search on the internet. Thanks

-- Anonymous, December 27, 2003

This comes from the website of Princeton Theological Seminary:

Program Description The Master of Divinity is the basic professional degree for ministry, and is designed to prepare students for the parish ministry, for graduate study in theology and related disciplines, for various types of chaplaincy, for mission work at home and abroad, and for other forms of church vocation. The curriculum is planned to provide the flexibility and independence consonant with a broad theological foundation. Under full-time study, the M.Div. program takes three years to complete.

Notice the word basic, not terminal. Basic means well, basic.

From Duke Divinity School: The Master of Divinity Degree is the basic professional theological degree. The program is typically completed in three years. The M.Div. is designed to prepare men and women for ordination into the Christian ministry. However, not all students pursuing an M.Div. degree feel called to ordination. Some desire to teach. Others desire to serve in some form of extension ministry. Many are still discerning where God is calling them.

Again notice the word basic. I hope I have proved my point. Terminla degrees are always Doctorates. It is not nice to assume that you are the only person who does research. Please do yours first before attacking someone else.

By the way before you assume I do not know you, I was at the Annual Conference when they admitted you into the AME church. I was serving as Bishop Bryant's escort and driver.

-- Anonymous, December 28, 2003

I do know who you are, I always have. The M.Div is a terminal degree the word basic and terminal have two different meanings, I have given the definition in my previous post so there is no further need to reinterate it again. As I have said if anyone has any question what a terminal degree is, they can call a seminary and ask for the admission director.

And for the young lady who posted the initial question, do keep us posted as to your progress.

And to Cephas you are still the way I remember you. How are your studies going?

-- Anonymous, December 28, 2003

Very good. I plan to start an MBA (for work) as soon as I am finished with my seminary education. I currently live in AL and of course miss the 5th and Bishop Bryant and Rev C. I enjoy Bishop Kirkland however and have been welcomed here. The south is a little different than the West, but Methodism is still Methodism. How are Rev. Davis and Rev. Payne doing? It is good to see you all are holding the fort down in Montana. Also, congrats on your picture being in The civil rights institute here in Birmingham. Now when I visit I will know someone in there.

-- Anonymous, December 28, 2003

I wondered why you were not at annual conference. Which was absolutely anointed!!!! The Pacific Northwest Conference had a pre rapture party. Lots of love and unity. We have 2 new churches in Kent. Rev. Payne is doing a great job and his church is growing by leaps and bounds and Rev. Davis is wonderful and greatly loved by his congregation and loves Montana. They had a blizzard in billings yesterday where Rev. Davis is.

I am hoping to get to civil rights museum in the fall for the actual ceremony for those of us whose names will be added to the wall of tolerance. Rev. Hunter and first ame are the host church for the fifth district mid year whick will be in Bellevue washington.

My daughter is a licentiate and will be entering seminary in the fall of 2004.

-- Anonymous, December 28, 2003

Rev Rogers,

If you come to Birmingham, let me know. I would love to treat you to lunch or dinner. It would be great seeing you again.

-- Anonymous, December 28, 2003

I am still waiting to get all the details, but I am hoping I will be able to attend. It will depend on the date, I am a member of the international association of egyptologists and we are having our world conference in France in september. So I will see.

Thank you for your invitation. If I can't go I am hoping my baby brother Bill Dickens and my dear friend Robert Matthews III will represent me.

-- Anonymous, December 29, 2003

Wouldn't it would be helpful if we can stick with the topic at hand while posting on the discussion board. If we want to make personal invitations and promote our endeavors, can't we do that via personal email? Isn't that the purpose of posting our personal email addresses? So that we can continue personal conversations "off line"?? I think that will be a way that we can assist the current moderator of the AME Discussion Board. God bless you all.

-- Anonymous, December 29, 2003

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