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Eastern Mennonite Seminary of Eastern Mennonite University

Eastern Mennonite Seminary of Eastern Mennonite University

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Eastern Mennonite Seminary prepares men and women to serve and lead in a global context. The seminary provides a uniquely Anabaptist perspective in the midst of a rich, ecumenical community in which to explore the Bible, church, personal Christian formation and leadership.

Faculty bring practical ministry experience in the U.S. and abroad into classroom discussion, and mentor students in leadership and ministry roles.

EMS provides a variety of study options. The main campus in Harrisonburg offers online courses, block schedules and summer intensive courses. The extension in southeast Pennsylvania offers weekend and evening courses in a variety of locations throughout southeast PA in addition to courses on the campus in Lancaster.

In addition to providing pastoral and leadership training for Mennonites and a variety of other denominations, Eastern Mennonite Seminary is approved by the United Methodist church to train pastors for ordination in the United Methodist Church.

As a division of Eastern Mennonite University, EMS upholds the values core university values of faith-based peacebuilding, cross-cultural understanding, sustainability and service to others.

ATS Member Status: Accredited

1200 Park Road
Harrisonburg, VA 22802-2462

Phone: 540-432-4257
Fax: 540-432-4598

Loren E. Swartzendruber, President Ph: 540-432-4100
Michael A. King, Vice President and Seminary Dean Ph: 540-432-4261

Denomination: Mennonite Church USA
Fall 2012 Data:
Enrollment: 131 (70 FTE)
Faculty Full-Time: 7
Faculty Part-Time: 23
Approved Degrees: MDiv, MA in Church Leadership, MA (Religion)
Lancaster, PA: Approved Degrees: MDiv
Comprehensive distance education program: yes

7 Reviews

  1. I’ve been here for about a year, and each day I feel I am blessed to be at EMS.

    The seminary community (staff, student, faculty) has always been supportive in many ways, the student body is full of sincere, respectful people, and the Harrisonburg campus is a wonderfully family, nature-friendly place.

    EMS also has an awesome group of faculty members. We call them by their first names, and I find that they are highly approachable. The faculty:student ratio is excellent, and the small classes here help me get to know the professors and classmates well.

    Each Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, a chapel is held on campus. Many distinguished guest speakers are invited each week, and this campus is full of rich messages, singing, and sharing every week.

    Although it is a Mennonite seminary, it is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, and we have quite a few Methodist pastors/students here as well. Since the program is made flexible for working individuals, I often see many part-time students taking a course or two (whether online or through hybrid course).

    About 5 minutes from EMS is JMU (James Madison University, ). Harrisonburg is a university town, and there is a ton of good places to eat, shop, and hang out with family and friends. A farmers’ market (3 minutes from EMS) opens every Saturday and Tuesday, and you can find a wide selection of amazingly delicious homemade foods/baked goods, organic vegetables, bbq chicken, and etc.

    Most importantly, EMS feels like a home away from home. It’s got the friendliest, the most caring community, and the most family-friendly atmosphere. For these reasons, as I mentioned above, I feel each day I am blessed to be at EMS.

  2. As I begin my second year of full-time study at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, I am reminded of the reasons for which I chose to join this intimate community of seekers searching to identify and cultivate gifts of scholarship and ministry in the diverse contexts of the Body of Christ.
    Primary among these reasons continues to the be the sense of camaraderie that is so pervasively extended to each student who joins the fold. At EMS, scholarship is valued and ministry is prized. It is in the very context of community-based ministry that individuals are pushed to unpack their own formation while looking ahead to the task of aiding in the formation of others. Integral to this process are the professors themselves who help to create an incredibly supportive environment in which students are able to question, doubt and affirm convictions across the spectrum of theological interpretation.
    In my own preparation for Ph.D work in the field of Biblical Studies I have found my time at EMS to be a time of foundation-building for a variety of future scholarly endeavors. It is apparent that the desire to be aware and a part of God’s vision and mission in the world are fundamental elements of the EMS experience. As such, I would unreservedly recommend each and all of their programs of study.

  3. Attending EMS marks a career change for me. I was/am a mental health therapist and felt God calling me to more. I have found my strengths as a therapist are being built upon in this journey. There are many students from a variety of backgrounds, previous work experiences and different denominations who add to the enrichment of EMS. I am also a mother of three and am able to attend classes and care for my family by taking classes both at the Harrisonburg campus and on-line. What a Blessing!
    This program focuses on development of the whole self, deeper relationship with God, increased knowledge, and personal well-being. Whether looking for an academic challenge or spiritual growth, you will find a course that fits.

  4. I am currently in the third semester of a Master of Arts in Religion degree, with plans to use my degree to teach in a school setting of some kind. I have found this degree program to be a perfect fit for me because I have been able to to tailor the program to fit my needs, rather than being forced into a more prescriptive program. EMS has offered great flexibility, even allowing me to take a concentration of courses at another seminary and then transfer the credits.

    I have found the seminary to be welcoming community and I have felt strong connection with both students and faculty. I love the Tues./Wed./Thurs. schedule of courses because it has allowed for extended blocks of time to pursue independent work. I also appreciate the connection to a larger university, which provides opportunity for everything from seminars and speakers to art shows and theater performances to intramural sports and a fitness center. I will also be taking advantage of a teaching mentorship in an undergraduate course.

    The seminary has a strong focus on formation and I have appreciated the attention that has been given to forming me as a faithful disciple of Jesus. The required first-year formation course was helpful in terms of learning to balance the rigorous academic track I was pursuing with my own Christian walk and spirituality. Even as I am preparing to write my thesis, I have appreciated the reminders to pay attention to my own self-care in the midst of the project.

    Overall, I have found EMS to be a very good fit for me. While the overall focus of the seminary is preparing students for ministry, I do sense that EMS is getting stronger as an academic institution. Dean Michael King has expressed a desire to become a stronger academic institution and I have seen good effort to those ends. While I have found the courses in my particular academic focus (theology and culture) to be somewhat limiting, the recent hire of David Evans should provide more courses in that area. I feel well-prepared to either go directly into teaching high school or to apply for further study (I’ll try to post later how that process goes, if I choose to apply for further study).

  5. As a student, there are a number of factors that into my decision to attend EMS. Strength of curriculum,class size, engagement with professors, and affordability. Since arriving on campus, I have been welcomed and engaged by the faculty in a very meaningful way. It is clear that they not only care deeply for their specific areas of study, they also are deeply invested in my success as a student.
    During the course of my educational career, I have been a part of small liberal arts institutions and large university settings. I highly value the small class sizes and direct engagement with the professors at EMS.
    The community that is here not only pushes me to work toward academic excellence, the faculty and staff are also concerned with my spiritual formation and the development of my relationship with God and others. The challenge to follow Jesus is a real and meaningful part of engagement in this community. While no graduate experience is cheap, I have been amazed at the way that EMS has worked to make my attendance attainable.

  6. I am a student in my first semester here at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. I am already enjoying the diversity of the denominations and various backgrounds of my fellow students. The campus is small and very inviting, it’s very easy to get to know students at all levels of their studies. It is a great community to be a part of.
    One thing I particularly appreciate about EMS is there willingness to work with non-traditional students; as I am one myself and they worked very hard to make it possible for me to be here.
    I am enjoying the classes I am currently taking. The faculty is very knowledgeable in their area of instruction and you can tell they really have passion for sharing that with the students. I have been challenged in positive ways even in just these early weeks and I look forward to greater learning and fellowship with my fellow students and faculty here at EMS.

  7. I have been at this school about 4 years working on MDiv. I have found the community of students and faculty incredibly welcoming. It is not hard to get to know either one. In the classroom, teaching styles vary on who the professor is. Some use lecture, many use discussion, and some have interactive lessons. The size of classes varies. It ranges from 4-all the way up to around 25. Usually they are on the smaller sizes. Professors have always been very easy to contact and if you need extra help they have always been available. I am graduating in the spring and will be very sad to leave.

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