Contact: Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650

Nov. 6, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- Perkins School of Theology at SMU has become the second theological school in Texas to offer a course of study for students who seek ordination as Episcopal priests.

Perkins will celebrate the establishment of its new Episcopal track with a day of activities on Thursday, Nov. 14. The day's activities will include a conference for clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas and a chapel service led by the Right Rev. James Stanton, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas. The chapel service, which begins at 11:30 a.m. in Perkins Chapel, is open to the public.

Local Episcopal clergy also will be given a tour of Bridwell Library, which has a collection of rare editions of the Book of Common Prayer, which contains the liturgy used in the Episcopal Church.

Prior to the establishment of the new program at Perkins, Seminary of the Southwest in Austin was only seminary in Texas where students could complete preparation for the Episcopal priesthood.

"This is an opportunity for people preparing for ministry in the Episcopal Church to do all of their preparation in Dallas," said the Rev. Dr. Frederick Schmidt, director of spiritual life and associate professor of Christian spirituality at Perkins. Schmidt, an Episcopal priest, has been developing the new track since joining the Perkins staff in the spring of 2000.

According to Schmidt, theological education throughout the nation is becoming more regional because many students are pursuing ministry as a second career. As a result, an increasing number of students are looking for a quality theological education that will allow them to meet existing commitments to their families and employers. The Episcopal track at Perkins will be especially helpful to such students.

Bishop Stanton of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas will team teach a course on Anglican and Episcopal Church history and theology that forms the core of the new course of study.

"We are excited about what Perkins School of Theology, which is one of the great seminaries in the United States, has to offer to our future leaders in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas," Bishop Stanton said. The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas serves more than 40,000 members in the northeast Texas area.

Perkins School of Theology currently has 25 Episcopal students enrolled in various degree programs. It also prepares students for ministry in the Presbyterian, Reformed and Baptist churches, as well as a wide variety of Methodist denominations.

For more information on the new Episcopal track at Perkins, call Schmidt at 214-768-2292 or Tracy Anne Allred at 214-768-1480.

Perkins School of Theology was founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church South, now The United Methodist Church, as one of the original schools of Southern Methodist University. Perkins is one of five university-related United Methodist theological schools in the nation. Besides its programs at the main campus in Dallas, Perkins offers programs in Houston-Galveston, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.