MDiv Program Will Comprise Online Learning, In-Person Intensives, and Funded Curacies
BERKELEY, CA, January 31, 2023 - Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) and Trinity Church Wall Street announced today that the seminary will transition to a fully hybrid education model, beginning with the class entering in summer 2025. This model, which builds on the success of CDSP’s current low-residence Hybrid Program, will consist of online learning, in-person intensives each year, and post-graduation curacy funding.
As a result, CDSP will cease admitting new residential students as of fall 2023 and will end the residential program with the class of 2025.
“Since 2019, when CDSP and Trinity began our partnership, we have been looking to define and focus on CDSP’s unique contributions to preparing clergy to meet the changing requirements for successfully leading and growing churches of the future,” said the Rev. Phillip A. Jackson, chairman of the CDSP Board of Trustees and rector of Trinity. “While there certainly is a continuing need for residential education, CDSP’s core strength lies in its already successful hybrid learning model. We believe that by expanding and enhancing that model – through additional practical-skills training and curacies to help new clergy as they embark on ministry – we can best serve our students and the Episcopal Church in the years to come.”
“This decision also reflects a recognition of what the data have been showing us for years,” said the Rev. John F. Dwyer, vice president and chief operating officer at CDSP. “Applications for our residential programs have steadily declined and are approaching unsustainable levels. On the other hand, our Hybrid MDiv and Hybrid Anglican Studies programs have seen full enrollment and increasing demand.”
Under the new model:
- CDSP will admit 12–15 students per year for a four-year Master of Divinity program.
- The CDSP Board has asked the faculty to work on a revision of the MDiv curriculum to include intensive in-person sessions in Berkeley and additional weekend intensives in New York City.
- The weekend intensives will comprise short courses that focus on practical skills, including management, finance, real estate, community organizing, and conflict resolution skills, to provide greater exposure to the practicalities of a life in ministry.
- During their third year of the four-year MDiv program, students will have the opportunity to apply for a two-year post-graduation curacy, in consultation with Trinity and CDSP leadership and students’ bishops, to provide critical experiences graduates will need to thrive in ministry. The curacy program, which will be funded by Trinity, was inspired by conversations with bishops and grassroots leaders that took place during the first several years of the CDSP-Trinity partnership.
Current residential students will be able to complete their studies at CDSP while remaining on campus as a residential student. They also will have the option of switching to the current Hybrid Program and completing their studies in that format; or transferring to another seminary. For those choosing the latter option, CDSP will assist with certain expenses incurred in the transition that are not provided by the new seminary, including transferring any scholarship benefits the student already receives at CDSP.
A comprehensive campus-use plan is being developed, but no decisions have yet been made. The in-person intensives that have taken place in Berkeley will continue to happen there, even if the CDSP campus footprint changes.
About Church Divinity School of the Pacific:
Church Divinity School of the Pacific forms leaders called to find new ways to create Christian communities and share God’s love. Through our partnership with Trinity Church Wall Street and an ongoing dialog with bishops and grassroots leaders, we have focused our degree programs on Christian mission, discipleship, and evangelism and on core leadership skills of contextual awareness, critical reflection, and public conversation; established a popular hybrid degree option for students balancing family obligations or professional responsibilities, and established partnerships that allow us to create distance learning curricula for individual dioceses.
About Trinity Church Wall Street:
Trinity Church Wall Street is a vibrant and growing Episcopal parish of more than 1,600 members. Over the past 325 years, the fabric of Trinity has been woven by the Spirit from the lives and gifts of diverse people; their desire to live their faith through worship, service, study, and stewardship; and the ever-evolving life of New York City itself. The parish is guided by its mission to share God’s love for all people. Trinity’s programs seek to offer shared encounters with the holy, to cultivate compassion, to deepen our knowledge and spiritual practices, to work for justice rooted in essential human dignity, to provide places of solace and healing, and to inspire a desire in all people to be conscientious contributors to the life of our city and the world. More than 20 worship services are offered every week online at trinitywallstreet.org and at its historic sanctuaries, Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel, the cornerstones of the parish’s community life, worship, and mission.