The Mexican American Program was founded in 1974 so that Perkins School of Theology could become a center for preparing church leaders with the knowledge and skills for effective ministry in Spanish-speaking contexts and cultures. From its beginning, the Mexican American Program has had a commitment to the ongoing work of recruiting, preparing and providing continuing education of people for ministry with Latinos. It continues to enable Perkins School of Theology to be a center of Hispanic theological thought and writing and to advocate before the general church with and in behalf of Hispanic congregations and ministries.
The Mexican American Program provides short-term intensive training programs on and off the Perkins campus in Dallas for pastors and laity through the Course of Study School, Licensing School in Spanish, the Lay Missioner and Pastor-Mentor Training Program for Developing Hispanic Ministries and continuing education events, symposia, consultations and lectures. It publishes Apuntes, Theological Reflections from the Hispano-Latino Context.
In an effort to identify and assist high school and college age Latinas and Latinos to consider and prepare for vocations in ministry with the Latino community, the Mexican American Program began the Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy (H.Y.L.A). It is a pilot program that provides an intensive and long-term mentoring experience around the topic of calling and an annual summer academy to consider issues such as Christian discipleship, vocational discernment, leadership training, development of academic skills, the doctrine and polity of The United Methodist Church, how to apply for admission to college/university or seminary, how to find support on campus and Hispanic history and culture.
H.Y.L.A. is open to high school and undergraduate college students. For information about the program, contact the office of the Mexican American Program at 214-768-2265 or Hyla@smu.edu.
Ministers Week, generally held annually the first Monday through Wednesday in February, includes endowed lectureships and a variety of worship services, workshops, luncheons, symposia and informal social events. Ministers and their spouses from all over the nation attend each year. It is a major unifying event in United Methodism in the South Central Jurisdiction and a significant means of communication between Perkins School of Theology and the leadership of the church.
The five endowed lectureships are as follows:
The Barton Lecture – The Roy D. Barton Lectureship on Hispanic Ministry was established to honor Dr. Barton for his distinguished service to the seminary and his equally distinguished service to the Hispanic United Methodist Church. Dr. Barton served as the first director of the Mexican American Program and associate professor of Practical Theology in Perkins School of Theology from 1974 to 1995. The general theme of the lecture regards ministry in a Hispanic/Latino perspective or context.
The Fondren Lectures – In 1919, Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Fondren of Houston, Texas, made a gift to the University for the purpose of bringing to the campus each year an outstanding religious leader for a series of addresses on Christian missions or related themes. Mrs. Fondren provided a substantial increase in the endowment of the lectureship in 1959.
The Peyton Lectures – A lectureship on preaching was established in 1944 through a gift by Mrs. C.W. Hall of Austin, in memory of her late husband, George L. Peyton of Mexia, Texas. In 1959, Mrs. Hall generously augmented the resources of the lectureship. Peyton was for a number of years a member of the Board of Trustees of the University and an outstanding church leader.
The Jackson Lectures – In 1945, Sam J. Jackson, Robert L. Jackson, Ben D. Jackson, Mims J. Jackson, Margaret Sue Jackson Hodges and Lizzie Jackson Davenport established a lectureship in memory of their parents, Robert Malone Jackson and Ella Jemison Jackson, who were long-time members of the Methodist church at Tennessee Colony and Palestine, Texas. The general theme of the lectures is the Bible.
The Martin Lectures – The Paul Elliott and Mildred Fryar Martin Lectureship in Practical Theology was established by Bishop and Mrs. Martin in 1974, just prior to Bishop Martin’s death in February of 1975. Bishop Martin was one of the 706 students who registered at SMU when it first opened its doors in 1915 and was associated with it in many ways for the remainder of his life. For the final seven years of his life, he served as bishop-in-residence at Perkins and was special adviser to Perkins Dean Joseph D. Quillian Jr.
Perkins Theological School for the Laity, formerly known as Laity Week, is generally held the first Thursday through Sunday each year in March. Seminars and other activities provide opportunities for laity from the region to engage together in study, worship, reflection and fellowship. Members of the Perkins faculty provide principal leadership for the week.
In addition to Ministers Week and Perkins Theological School for the Laity, the Perkins program of continuing education offers a variety of programs for clergy, laity and church professionals including the Perkins School of Youth Ministry and Children’s Ministry; United Methodist certification programs in Youth Ministry, Christian Education and Church Music; and traveling Lay Schools of Theology in locations including Amarillo, Anchorage and Houston. Those who wish to be on the regular mailing list or to receive information about any program may send their name and address to Office of Continuing Education, Perkins School of Theology, P. O. Box 750133, Dallas TX 75275-0133 or call 214-768-2124. Send e-mails to email@example.com.
In the summer of 1947, Perkins School of Theology began to offer residence work on the Conference Course of Study for those persons answering a call to ministry as local pastors rather than through a graduate level seminary degree program. Perkins School of Theology is one of the eight seminary programs joining with the Division of Ordained Ministry of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the UMC in conducting the Course of Study School for the training of local pastors. It is also one of three seminaries offering the Course of Study School in Spanish.
The Boards of Ministry of the various annual conferences may assist their students with the cost of room and board, textbooks and travel. The Division of Ordained Ministry of the United Methodist Church and Perkins pay tuition and instructional costs, while Perkins provides facilities and administrative costs, covered in part through nominal registration fees paid by students.
Courses in the full five-year curriculum of basic studies are offered in the summer in English and Spanish. Please view the Web site at perkins.smu.edu for a listing of courses offered, pre-class assignments, update notices and other information. Students in Spanish and English seeking ordination have the opportunity to take the 32 hours of required graduate theological study at Perkins and must apply through the Course of Study School office.
Questions relating to the school should be addressed to the Course of Study School Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 214-768-2362.
The Perkins Youth School of Theology (P.Y.S.T.) is a theological program for high school youth who are under pressure and who want to engage in community service in their ability to witness to their Christian faith and theological reflection on their service work. These pressures may be due to their socio-economic class, racial minority or immigrant/refugee status, sexual orientation or other high-pressure issues. The program consists of three major components.
Theological Service Learning offers youth an opportunity to serve in individual and group community projects in conjunction with Perkins faculty, staff and seminary students. Youth engage in daylong service projects and conclude each “workday” with an opportunity for theological reflection facilitated by a faculty member and student moderator. Through group service, students use dialogue as a teaching tool that links meaningful service work with theological reflection.
The Spring Youth Forum is a one-day conference that brings high school youth, ages 15 to 18 years old, from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex together with members of the Perkins community for theological reflection and discussion on issues of youth culture, church and society.
The Summer Academy is a three-week residential program in which the youth engage in an integrated program of critical and constructive theological reflection on the practice and theology of the Christian faith. Youth take three basic theological courses and participate in community building, covenant groups, worship, visual and performing arts, recreational activities and field trips.
The Perkins Youth School of Theology recruits an ecumenical group of youth from within the Dallas Fort Worth area and accepts applications year-round. Only high school juniors are accepted into the program. For more information, contact the program director at 214-768-1333 or 214-768-1481. Those who wish to be on the mailing list may send their name and address to P.Y.S.T., P.O. Box 750133, Dallas, TX 75275-0133 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
The Global Theological Education (GTE) program at Perkins has two purposes. Through immersion courses, the GTE program offers students a study of theology, scripture, missions, ministry or inter-religious relationships in a cultural context different from the students’ own cultural context, usually outside the United States. These courses give special attention to the role of theological reflection in an environment affected by globalization in all its dimensions through a focused, on-site study in a particular region of the world.
The GTE program is also tasked with facilitating missiological reflection among laypersons engaged in cross-cultural missions and ministry. Working through Annual Conference leadership of Volunteers in Mission/Partners in Mission programs, the GTE program provides resources and organizes training events as they focus on the theological and spiritual meaning of Christian mission by laypersons.
For several years, a number of seminaries in the Southwest cooperated in various joint activities. In the summer of 1958, their cooperative work was put on a permanent basis by the organization of the Council of Southwestern Theological Schools, Inc. The current members of the council, in addition to Perkins, are: Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary, Brite Divinity School, Dallas Theological Seminary, Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, George W. Truett Seminary, Houston Graduate School of Theology, The Institute of Religion at Texas Medical Center, Oblate School of Theology, Laity Lodge (H.E. Butt Foundation), the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest, the School of Theology of St. Thomas University at St. Mary’s Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.