MODELING THE POTENTIAL
A program in Central and Southern Europe, the Methodist e-Academy, offers one of the best examples of the vision behind the Endowment Fund. The e-Academy was formed in 2007 to respond to the need to build up a Methodist theological ethos in many European countries where no United Methodist seminary exists, particularly in most post-communist countries of Europe. It offers courses in Methodist Studies in German and English as a means of preparing individuals for ordained and licensed ministry in the Church. Innovating in its approach, it uses internet-based courses together with intensive block seminars where students meet from all over Europe.
The e-Academy offers an exceptional opportunity for students to study under faculty persons drawn from Methodist institutions and churches across Europe who are experts in their field. It also gives students the opportunity to interact both electronically and personally with students from other countries.
The e-Academy has resulted in 43 new graduates from the three-year program since its inception. These students were from 11 different countries and are now serving as pastors or District Superintendents. Several of these pastors are now serving in newly established congregations. The impact of their educational opportunities can now be seen in communities throughout their native countries, where they are offering a variety of ministries including income-generating programs and programs for women, youth and children. Currently, 21 students are enrolled from 10 different countries with 16 studying in English and five in German.
The Methodist e-Academy equips and connects future leaders of Methodist churches to bear faithful and effective witness to God’s enlightening, forgiving and transforming grace and thus to become agents for personal and social renewal manifesting and anticipating God’s reign. Through the Endowment Fund, this program could be extended to have broader reach, and duplicated in other regions. The principles behind it serve as an example for future programs supported by The Endowment Fund.