Foundation supports United Methodist students at Union Presbyterian Seminary

Leggett Foundation’s $25K pays for courses Methodist students must take

by Union Presbyterian Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

United Methodist students at Union Presbyterian Seminary can complete needed coursework with the help of a $25,000 grant. (Contributed photo)

RICHMOND, Va. — Union Presbyterian Seminary has received a $25,000 grant from the Robert and Dee Leggett Foundation to pay for courses that United Methodist students are required to take specifically for ordination in the Methodist church.

According to a seminary news release, Union campuses, located in Richmond, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, are fully accredited by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church for the instruction of Methodist students who seek to be pastors. Although Union does not offer courses specific to the Methodist denomination, the University Senate of the United Methodist Church has approved a partnership among Wesley Theological Seminary, Pfeiffer University, and Union Presbyterian Seminary. The agreement stipulates that United Methodist students enrolled in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree program at Union can take their Methodist coursework only at Wesley Theological Seminary or Pfeiffer University.

This grant will not only cover coursework expenses, but also books and other expenses associated with meeting the United Methodist partnership agreement.

For example, The Rev. Stan Hargraves, Union’s United Methodist Student Advisor, offers twice-monthly discussion groups to help students with their understanding of the particularities of United Methodism.  Group sessions include:

  • Book discussions — “This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion” by Gayle Felton, “By Water and the Spirit: Making Connections for Identity and Ministry,” also by Felton and “Responsible Grace” by Randy Maddox.
  • John Wesley’s sermons on Free Grace, Means of Grace, Scripture Way of Salvation and other sermons selected by the students
  • Discussion of Prevenient, Justifying and Sanctifying grace, including its meaning for Wesley and its application today.
  • Discussion of the quadrilateral (Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience) including its meaning for Wesley and its application today.
  • Discussion of the means of salvation for Wesley.

The Rev. Dr. W. James Athearn, who serves on the board of the Leggett Foundation, received his Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) from Union in 1982 and was instrumental in helping the seminary receive the grant.


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