The Certificate of Wesleyan Studies program will satisfy educational requirements stipulated by several Wesleyan denominations and will prepare Wesleyan students for life and ministry in their churches. The certificate gives attention to Wesleyan history and doctrine, worship, polity, spirituality, ministry and mission. The new certificate program will be directed by Beeson’s Methodist Chair of Divinity, Michael Pasquarello III.
“The Beeson Divinity School community and curriculum will provide Wesleyan students with a robust opportunity to integrate the study of Scripture, Christian tradition and practical disciplines so that, in good Wesleyan fashion, they will be equipped for faithful leadership of the church in making disciples of Jesus Christ,” said Pasquarello. “I believe this is just the kind of education and formation Wesleyan pastors and church leaders will need if they are to flourish in the Christian life and the vocation of ministry for the 21st century.”
Students in this certificate program also are required to take part in Beeson’s newly formed Wesley Fellowship, which provides students opportunities to grow in Wesleyan practice and spiritual formation. Monthly gatherings include participation in the practices of prayer, meditation on Scripture, mutual encouragement and accountability, learning and service. The Wesley Fellowship also will host occasional events that feature conversations with Wesleyan pastors, denominational leaders, scholars, missionaries and lay persons.
“We are excited about partnering with our Wesleyan brothers and sisters to educate the next generation of their ministers,” said Beeson’s Dean Douglas A. Sweeney. “Beeson’s commitment to the authority of Scripture and a learned pastoral ministry enflamed with love for the Lord and his people worldwide will be used by God, we pray, to expand and strengthen Wesleyan congregations for years to come.”
Beeson is home to many alumni and students in the larger Wesleyan family, which includes denominations such as African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Church of the Nazarene and United Methodist Church. Students in the M.Div. certificate program will have the opportunity to connect with Wesleyan alumni and local churches in the area as well as be mentored by Wesleyan pastors.
"I highly recommend the Wesleyan certificate program at Beeson Divinity School,” said Paul Lawler, lead pastor of Christ Church UMC Birmingham. “Rooted in the heart of the evangelical tradition, Beeson Divinity students have the opportunity to develop spiritually and intellectually in a vibrant interdenominational learning context. The Wesleyan certificate program opens doors of opportunity for persons preparing to serve through established and emerging evangelical Wesleyan expressions around the world today."
Beeson Divinity School’s benefactor, Ralph Waldo Beeson, was the son of John Wesley Beeson, a Methodist revival preacher and college president. He wanted the school to be interdenominational and as such include a strong Wesleyan presence on the faculty through an endowed Methodist chair. This new certificate reflects Mr. Beeson’s vision for Beeson Divinity and enhances the school’s ability to better serve Wesleyan students.
“A Wesleyan’s approach to ministry is shaped by the way John Wesley viewed the world as his parish,” said Bradley Edwards, a current Beeson Methodist M.Div. student. “What better place is there to prepare for ministry as a Wesleyan than a truly ecumenical seminary that will prepare you for ministry to wherever in the world God calls you?”