WILMORE, Ky., Mar. 14, 2024—Asbury Theological Seminary signed an MOU with the 13th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church on March 7, 2024. Their partnership offers ongoing training and support for African American women clergy and lay leaders within the district. Dr. Gregg A. Okesson, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at Asbury Seminary, signed the agreement along with Bishop E. Anne Henning Byfield, Presiding Prelate of the 13th Episcopal District of the AME Church.

The partnership is partially funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. It provides Asbury Seminary the privilege of learning from the AME 13th Episcopal District while co-teaching a Certificate in church revitalization with African Methodist women. The first cohort of thirty students will begin Spring 2024. The MOU likewise offers opportunities for mentored ministry, book publishing, and collaboration around church planting and church multiplication.  In communal preparation for this embarkment, thirty women with the staff of Asbury Seminary retreated in January 2024 in Charleston, South Carolina

“We are deeply excited and honored to embark on this transformative agreement with the AME Church. This groundbreaking partnership reflects our steadfast dedication to support and learn from African American women in ministry. Beyond simply offering educational resources, our mission is to empower and uplift these remarkable leaders within the Church,” says Dr. Timothy Tennent, president of Asbury Seminary.

Asbury Seminary and the AME Church share a heritage rooted in the Wesleyan Holiness tradition. Both organizations are looking forward to advancing the Kingdom together.