A Letter From the President
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Dear Friends,

The members of the Board, staff, faculty and I are honored to introduce to you the new Masters in Leaderships Studies' Concentration in Lay Community Ministry. This Concentration is the perfect degree for lay persons who know that making justice and bringing about social transformation will be undertaken most authentically if their service is anchored in a growing personal spiritual life seeded in a greater knowledge of the theological disciplines.

The beauty of the ML degree is that it allows students to study through the principles of engagement scholarship, an innovative academic process in which they pursue studies through a full integration of service and reflection, even while living in their own communities.

For whom is the MA with a concentration in Lay Community Ministry designed? It is for the volunteer who might wish to serve a denominational legislative ministry, but who knows that in order to build necessary partnerships, a deeper foundation in religion is required. It is for the person who wishes to be more effective in multi faith engagement and understands that a seminary degree would provide both the skills and the credibility to engage with the “other.” It is for the young professional who works for an NGO and who sees that the next step in her professional development entails reaching out to faith based community partners. In short, Meadville Lombard’s new MA is the right choice for people of traditional faith, people of non-traditional faith and people of questioning faith—anyone who wants to explore religion, their own and others, and use the exploration to make the world a better place.

Please read below to hear from my colleagues' opinions on the new degree:

Dr. Sharon D. Welch
Provost and Professor of Religion and Society

We live in a time when people throughout the world are living out their commitments to social justice and environmental sustainability in the businesses they create and the institutions they serve. For those who wish to explore more thoroughly the ethical, spiritual and theological grounding of their work for justice, for those who want deeper grounding in the spiritual resources and practices that can sustain their creative work, come to ML for a learning community, one grounded in the practices and principles of engagement scholarship, that meets just those aspirations for living fully and well.


William Sinkford, DD '03
Meadville Lombard Board Trustee and Outgoing President

Our world needs ordained ministers, but our world also needs lay leaders who are deeply grounded in faith. Most parish ministers, especially our best, have heard their congregants say, "I want more. I want to go deeper." M/L's master's level concentration in lay ministry answers that yearning. This new offering will give individuals who are serious about religious leadership the skills, the confidence and the credibility to imagine, to serve and to help build the world we dream about.

Kathleen Montgomery, LHD '97

Meadville Lombard Board Trustee and Incoming Board President

Our congregations have long served as learning communities for, among other things, theological reflection and growth. Many Unitarian Universalist lay people and other religious liberals-I am one-don't feel drawn to ordained ministry but have a deep interest in theology and the religious life. Now Meadville Lombard offers an extraordinary graduate program that fills that very yearning. Individual lives, our communities, and our congregations are certain to be enriched. 

Faithfully yours,

Lee Barker