Brethren Academy Program Receives Funding from Wieand Trust, Gift Funds New Education Opportunities at Bethany

New Brethren Academy program receives funding Estate gift funds new opportunities at the seminary
A gift from the David J. and Mary Elizabeth Wieand Trust is helping to start a new “Sustaining Ministerial Excellence: Advanced Seminar” at the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership.

“It is a real joy to bring to you something that will undergird the life-long training of our ministers,” said associate general secretary Mary Jo Flory-Steury as she requested board approval for use of $150,000 from the total gift received by the Church of the Brethren. The gift is restricted to specific purposes, including to provide books and other educational resources to ministers, support self-help programs, and for Christian work in inner city Chicago.

Photo by Walt Wiltschek

The Wieand family has provided decades of leadership in ministerial education in the Church of the Brethren, beginning with Albert Cassel (A.C.) Wieand who was a co-founder of Bethany Theological Seminary. He and E.B. Hoff founded the seminary in Chicago in 1905, originally called Bethany Biblical Seminary. David J. Wieand taught at Bethany when the seminary was located in the Chicago area, and headed up an Advanced Pastor’s Seminar that was a continuing education program for Bethany master of divinity graduates after three years in ministry. He also was instrumental in the doctor of ministry program. Also honored by this gift is Katherine Broadwater Wieand, wife of A.C. Wieand.

The new program at the Brethren Academy follows up on the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE) program, which will be completed by June 30. SPE was funded through a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Sustaining Ministerial Excellence: Advanced Seminar will be a continuing education program for ordained ministers who pastor a church, do chaplaincy, or serve in another ministry setting. It will broaden opportunities for continuing education for all Church of the Brethren ministers, as its predecessor focused solely on pastors. It is intended to build on the success of SPE, using surveys and reports of the effectiveness and impact of SPE on those who participated.

The new program aims at ministers who have completed 3-5 years of ministry, but will be open to ministers in other phases of their careers. It is expected to launch in January 2014, and to have a program life of five to ten years. Julie M. Hostetter, executive director of the Brethren Academy, will serve as program coordinator.

Bethany Theological Seminary, which also received a gift from the trust, has approved use of a matching $150,000 to support the Sustaining Ministerial Excellence Advanced Seminar.

— Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford is director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Courtesy of Bethany Theological Seminary








Bethany Theological Seminary announces that two new educational initiatives will be supported by a major gift from the estate of Mary Elizabeth Wertz Wieand. This gift comes through the David J. and Mary Elizabeth Wieand Trust, established by members of a family whose roots go back to the very founding of the seminary.

“This generous gift came right at a time when we were evaluating how we would put some new curricular plans into effect,” said Ruthann Knechel Johansen, president. “We have been working with the family for some time on how we can most effectively utilize this resource in ways that honor the lifelong commitments of the Wieand family. It will be the pivotal financial element we needed to implement two new programs.”

One hundred fifty thousand dollars from the gift will function as endowment support for a new continuing education program entitled Sustaining Ministerial Excellence: Advanced Seminar. Offered through the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, the program will provide educational opportunities for ordained Church of the Brethren ministers who are serving in a variety of ministry settings. The Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board is contributing an equal amount to the project from its own Wieand estate gift. Bethany Seminary partners with the Church of the Brethren in offering ministry training programs through the Brethren Academy.

David J. Wieand, husband of Mary Elizabeth and long time faculty member at Bethany, helped establish an Advanced Pastors Seminar in the 1960s. More recently, the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program offered opportunities for personal and professional growth to Brethren pastors and church leaders. The new seminar initiative will incorporate features from both programs, according to Julie M. Hostetter, executive director of the Brethren Academy. Jonathan Wieand, son of David and Mary Elizabeth, agrees that the allocation of Wieand estate resources to this venture is especially appropriate. “I am certain that it would meet with my parents’ approval if they were here to review it.”

The balance of the Wieand gift, in excess of a half million dollars, will be reserved for long-term support of an emerging program in reconciliation studies at Bethany. This new niche in the curriculum will address such topics as the theology and the theory of conflict transformation. It will also include practical study of interpersonal, organizational, and public conflict as well as applications in the congregational setting. Bethany is actively working toward placement of new faculty in this area of study.

David and Mary Elizabeth Wieand, both Bethany graduates, partnered in many educational ventures during their years together. He served in a variety of professorial and administrative roles at Bethany from 1939 to 1980, and she was a school teacher and accomplished musician, performing publicly well into her 90s. Mary Elizabeth survived David by more than 20 years, and this joint testamentary gift came to Bethany upon her death. At David and Mary Elizabeth’s request, the gift also honors Katherine Broadwater Wieand, mother of David and spouse of Bethany co-founder A.C. Wieand.

— Jenny Williams is director of Communications and Alumni/ae Relations for Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.

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