May 2023 News Perspective Online Top Story

Letter from the Dean

The mission of Perkins is “to equip persons for faithful leadership and Christian ministry in a changing church and society; to educate those seeking a deeper understanding of the Christian faith; and to strengthen the church, academy and world through service, scholarship and advocacy.”

Perkins is serious about the broad welcome implied in our mission covering a multitude of vocational and service opportunities enabled by our theological education. Further, we embrace the opportunity to learn from the wide swath of thoughts, beliefs, and experiences of those who are part of our community. The richness of who we are is our commitment to welcoming all.

Though the word “Methodist” is an integral part of Southern Methodist University’s name, more than 25 distinct denominations are represented in this year’s student population, including Baptist, Episcopal, Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Anglican, African Methodist Episcopal, Disciples of Christ, Christian Methodist Episcopal and Buddhist. The Methodist ethos at Perkins creates an inviting ecumenical spirit.

Similarly, our faculty are not all United Methodist by formation or by affiliation. The rich diversity of Christian thoughts and traditions and the ecumenical movement and engagement with interreligious bodies by The United Methodist Church is evident in our faculty, staff and students, which run the gamut of the theological spectrum. Despite theological differences, you will find that we have more in common than one might think. Our students learn not what to think but rather how to think and how to form their understanding of the Christian faith.

At Perkins, diversity, equity, and inclusivity are underlying tenets to who we are and what we offer – to the Church, to the academy and to the world. The Baptist House of Studies, the Black/African Church Studies Program and Perkins’ Hispanic ministry initiative – CASA (Centro de Acompañamiento, Solidaridad y Adiestramiento) – are a few important examples of the many ways we work to educate and engage diverse student populations.

Moments after washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus proclaimed: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples…” (John 13:34-35, NRSV).

Our commitment to upholding these sacred words guides our actions as a school, where differences are celebrated and serve as pathways to active discipleship.