Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of Wesley Seminary celebrated its tenth anniversary on August 8, 2019. Established on July 1, 2009, Wesley Seminary, located in Marion, Indiana, is the official seminary of The Wesleyan Church (TWC).
Wesley Seminary enrollment ranks in the top 10 percent of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) members. In 10 years, enrollment has grown to 500 students serving over 65 denominations and 26 countries. Seminary leadership includes 12 faculty, a Spanish-language coordination team, development office, cabinet and executive leadership team.
The seminary hosted several events to commemorate its anniversary, beginning with a service held at College Wesleyan Church, Marion, Indiana, to celebrate what the Lord has done through Wesley Seminary and looking forward to what he will do in the years to come.
Attendees praised God for his faithfulness through prayer, song, Scripture readings and testimonials from key figures in the seminary’s history: Dr. Wayne Schmidt (Wesley Seminary founding vice president), Dr. Bud Bence (Wesley Seminary professor and TWC historian), Dr. Jo Anne Lyon (General Superintendent Emerita and TWC ambassador), Dr. Russ Gunsalus (TWC Education and Clergy Development executive director), Dr. Ken Schenck (professor and Indiana Wesleyan University School of Theology & Ministry dean), Dr. Henry Smith (former IWU president) and Dr. Keith Drury (IWU Theology and Christian Ministry associate professor).
Current seminary leaders Dr. David Wright (IWU president), Dr. Colleen Derr (Wesley Seminary president), Dr. Abson Joseph (professor and Wesley Seminary academic dean), Rev. Phill Tague (The Ransom Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, senior pastor) and Aaron Wilkinson (Wesley Seminary associate vice president of Enrollment and Operations) concluded the service with a panel discussion regarding the seminary’s future.
“As Wesley Seminary celebrates the past 10 years, we look forward to moving into a future that embraces a vision where Wesley becomes global, transformational, comprehensive and accessible,” said Derr.
“It is a true joy to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University,” said Wright. “It has been rewarding to see the many ways the seminary has impacted the lives of students and their ministries. The growth and global reach of Wesley Seminary in just 10 short years is nothing short of amazing. We thank God for abundant blessings. I am excited to see what God has in store in the decades ahead for our students and for our future.”
An open-house reception at the seminary followed the service, and SemTalks (15-minute TED-talk styled presentations) on various topics were given by Wesley Seminary professors Dr. Lenny Luchetti, Dr. Tammie Grimm, Dr. Luigi Peñaranda and Dr. John Drury.
“An Evening with John Perkins” ended the celebration. Dr. Perkins is the first recipient of the Wesley Seminary Co-Laborer with Christ Award. He spoke powerfully about the role of Christian friendship and how it can heal the brokenness that pervades our divided society.
Perkins, a civil rights activist whose leadership in civil rights demonstrations and voter registrations resulted in repeated harassments, beatings and imprisonments, is recognized as a world leader in the cause of reconciliation. Perkins co-founded the Christian Community Development Association and the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation for Justice, Reconciliation & Community Development.
“An Evening with John Perkins” included testimonies by Pastors Andrew Morrell and Dan Walker about Dr. Perkins’ work impacting their lives and ministries. Priscilla Perkins, Perkins’ daughter, spoke of the future of the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation. A partnership agreement between Wesley Seminary and the Perkins Foundation was signed.
The John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation for Justice, Reconciliation & Community Development (JVMPF) is a non-profit organization that teaches and promotes the principles of Christian Community development and racial reconciliation.
The partnership includes Wesley Seminary embracing and integrating Perkins Foundation principles across seminary curriculum exposing students to reconciliation, friendship, community development and gracious justice concepts as part of their seminary experience.
“Those in attendance were inspired by the stories of God’s provision in the early years, his faithfulness through the past years and in looking forward to the new song he is writing for our future,” said Derr.
View the celebratory service on Wesley Seminary’s Facebook page.