Seminary receives OK to continue educating UM clergy

Palmer Seminary will provide live streaming of GC19 on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 25 & 26 for anyone interested in watching the sessions in community with other Methodists. The live streaming will occur 8:30 to 1:30 and 12:30 to 6:30 each day. The Rev. Dr. Bronwyn Yocum will be present to assist with discussion. For more information, email Dr. Yocum at Bronwyn.yocum@eastern.edu.  Members of local congregations are welcome.

“The University Senate of the United Methodist Church has decided to continue to list us as a non-Methodist seminary approved for the training of Methodist candidates for ordination!” announced Dr. David Bronkema, Dean of Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa.

David Bronkema, Dean

Bronkema received and shared that welcome news this week. He expressed delight that the University Senate would help Palmer gain long-awaited approval of its memorandum of understanding with “a Methodist seminary.” That seminary, reported to be Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Col., has agreed to provide qualified, online instruction in required United Methodist history and doctrine courses.

“It seems to me that we have entered a new phase of relationship with the University Senate,” wrote the dean to students, alumni and supporters, “where we are now working together towards common goals and ends, and that gives me great joy.”

He called the arduous, year-and-a-half process of gaining the Senate’s full approval a “time of trial,” used by God to “lead us into tighter, closer, and stronger relationships with our Methodist colleagues locally, and significantly bolster and enrich aspects of our Methodist life in the Seminary itself.” 

The seminary’s status will remain “Approved with Public Warning,” reportedly until the MOU is approved.

Bronkema, who appealed for supportive prayers before his Jan. 24 interview with the Senate’s Commission on Theological Education in Atlanta, celebrated the effectiveness of those prayers in producing the happy outcome. He cited the Rev. Dr. Bron Yocum, Director of Methodist Student Advising and Ethos, who accompanied him to the interview, for her key role in this effort.

He also lauded Bishop Peggy Johnson, South District Superintendent Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, and the Revs. Johnson Dodla and Gary Knerr, Co-Chairs of the conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry, for giving “tremendous support throughout this process.”

  • Read the previous story about Palmer’s appeal to the University Senate to continue its approval for training of Methodist candidates for ordination.
  • View a promotional video about Palmer Seminary. (below)