The Evangelical Congregational Church began when Jacob Albright converted to Christianity at a Methodist meeting in the early 1800s. At the time, the Methodist Church did not allow services to be conducted in German and, since Albright was a Pennsylvania German farmer, wanted to change that rule. He organized the Evangelische Gemeinschaft, which translates to Evangelical Association, and the church grew steadily. In the 1890s, the group reorganized as the United Evangelical Church.
The Schuylkill Seminary, which was part of the church, moved to what was the campus of Palatinate College in Myerstown, PA in 1894, where it became Albright College. The seminary moved to Reading, PA in 1928 after the merger of the Evangelical Association and the United Evangelical Association. During this same time, the East Pennsylvania Conference and others who abstained from the merger reorganized as the Evangelical Congregational Church, bought the college and planned to turn it into a retirement home, publishing house and institute of higher learning. The school was named Evangelical Congregational School of Theology.
In 1974, the name of the school changed to the Evangelical School of Theology and, in 2011, the name of the school was shortened to Evangelical Seminary. The school strives to create leaders for effective ministry using John Wesley's focus on rigorous minds and passionate hearts using Christ-centered actions. Every program offered includes a strong basis in Biblical principles.
Evangelical Seminary Accreditation Details
Evangelical Seminary is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education which confirms that the college offers excellence in education, strives to improve any areas that the accrediting agency identifies as needing improvement and has the resources to meet their goals and objectives.
Specialized accreditations throughout the school include:
- Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
- Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada
- Council on Higher Education Accreditation
- University Senate of the United Methodist Church
Evangelical Seminary Admission Requirements
To attend the Evangelical Seminary, students must complete the online application. Three essays are required on the following subjects:
- Autobiographical – approximately 500 words that explain the student's Christian walk, their relationship with Christ and the factors that created the foundation of their Christianity
- Education Intent – approximately 500 words that explain the student's motivation to pursue theological education. This should include their professional and vocational goals, ministry calling, assessment of abilities and spiritual gifts as well as church and pararchurch experiences
- Recent college paper, sermon, article or essay – approximately 500 words. If no essay is available, the student may write on the topic of their choice
Students may also include an academic assessment clarification which may be used to explain any part of their academic record does not reflect their ability. Students must provide three references that should be provided by a pastor or church official, someone who is aware of the student's academics or professional abilities and a personal reference. Official transcripts from all previous institutions attended must also be provided.
Evangelical Seminary Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition for Evangelical Seminary is $604 per credit hour for most courses although students who take more than six credits receive a 10 percent discount. The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, the Master of Arts in Leadership Development and the Master of Arts in Ministry offer flat rate tuition charges.
Evangelical Seminary works to keep tuition as low as possible. The school offers several scholarships to offset the cost of tuition. There are three Presidents Scholarships awarded for Huntington University Students that are worth $5,000 and the scholarship is for graduates of Huntington University from all years and programs. There is a William Randolph Hearst Foundation Scholarship for two students who are enrolled full-time in an EST degree program, have graduated from a U.S. college or university within one year of applying and have a 3.5 or 4.0 cumulative GPA in their undergraduate studies.
There are 7 Ministry Scholarships, 11 Denominational Scholarships and an MFT Scholarship. There are also 12 additional scholarship from endowments and three outside evangelical scholarships. Students must apply for the scholarships through the Financial Aid Office.
Evangelical Seminary Degree Programs Available
MA in Marriage & Family Therapy
Individuals who are passionate about helping others build a healthy relationship with their partner, their children and other family members will benefit from the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. Students develop skills that prepare them for marriage and family therapists and for Pennsylvania State licensure. The program is 65 credits and requires 500 hours of supervised practicum. The program includes cohort-based classes on Tuesday and Thursday in the late afternoon or evening. Students are placed in an internship at a counseling center or during the first year of practicum. Courses are taught with integrated biblical principles and Christian faith with a focus on marriage and family. It is one of the few faith-based counseling programs in the United States.
Master of Spiritual Formation & Direction
Individuals who wish to disciple others and lead them into a deeper relationship with Christ or to be a spiritual companion to shoes who need guidance would benefit from the Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Direction. Studies are rooted in Scripture, inspired by history and committed to Christ. Students are provided the tools to work with others one-on-one, small groups, facilitating retreats in a congregational setting. Students are provided a thoughtful academic foundation and are offered a three-semester practicum where they are trained in Christian ministry. Students gain an understanding of Christian theological reflection and its importance in ministry as well as how to reach others across cultural, economic, social and religious boundaries. Students gain an understanding of growth and maturity as it relates to personal, relational, intellectual and spiritual contacts.
Evangelical Seminary offers graduate degrees in programs designed for those with strong faith who want to profess that faith in their career. Every program includes strong academics but with a Christian focus. Evangelical Theological Seminary offers many programs designed to create counselors, ministers and teachers who have a strong understanding of a Christ-centered life and how it can benefit others.