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New Masters of Arts in Public Ministry Equips Faith Leaders for Advocacy, Organizing, and Justice-making

November 1, 2017

EVANSTON, Illinois, November 2017 – Beginning Fall 2018, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary will offer a new master of arts in public ministry degree. Aligned with the 2016-2021 Strategic Plan and the seminary’s commitment to public theology, the 56-credit hour degree will educate laity and faith leaders for wise, courageous, and transformative public ministries for the well-being of all peoples and creation.

Dr. Lallene J. Rector, president of Garrett-Evangelical, says: “In recent years we’ve noticed an increase in students who are living out their vocational ministry in community, social, and justice-oriented parachurch organizations. We’ve also noticed that many students who seek to serve in the church are looking for tools and resources to support their public ministry. The master of arts in public ministry will equip our students to both proclaim the good news of the gospel and to lead transformative change for the common good.”

Through a combination of foundational (24 credits), concentration (20 credits), and open elective courses (12 credits), students in the master of arts in public ministry program will gain the knowledge and skills to fulfill their Christian vocation through public ministries of advocacy, organizing, and justice-making in collaboration with others working for racial justice, economic equality, ecological flourishing, gender equity, and more. “Throughout Garrett-Evangelical’s 164-year history there has remained a deep commitment to justice,” said Rev. Dr. Timothy Eberhart, assistant professor of theology and ecology and director of the master of arts in public ministry program. “With this new degree offering, the seminary will build upon this institutional identity and deepen our commitment to racial, gender, socio-economic, and ecological justice for future generations.”

Utilizing their concentration electives, students will work closely with core faculty members in ecological justice, racial justice, or child advocacy. These three areas have been focal points for the seminary’s recent work in public theology, but the seminary also recognizes the vocational goals of its students are varied. Therefore, a student may also propose a concentration, the approval of which depends on relevant course availability. Open electives can also be used to complete ordination requirements for deacons in The United Methodist Church, or to meet a combination of other objectives. The program can also equip ordained clergy seeking to expand their ministerial witness and the resources of local congregational life into the public realm.

Graduates of the program will be able to:

  • Apply biblical, theological, and ecclesial traditions in diverse public spheres to realize justice in solidarity with those who are made poor, the exploited, disinherited, excluded, and oppressed.
  • Engage in critical and constructive theological exploration of the major socio-political, economic, and cultural ideologies, institutions, and forces shaping various publics today.
  • Understand, evaluate, and implement diverse ministry models (e.g. direct action, community organizing, policy advocacy) for attaining social justice and promoting the common good.
  • Lead organizations, groups, and movements with administrative, financial, interpersonal, and online/digital competence.
  • Inhabit and promote spiritual wisdoms and practices to sustain personal and communal struggles for public justice.

The master of arts in public ministry is designed for two years of study (full-time) and includes a field education component. One third of the degree can be completed online. To learn more, go to or contact the Admissions Office at 847.866.3945 or