Skip to main content
Moravian University
Moravian University
Lancaster Theological Seminary

July 19, 2021: Press release-Moravian University and Seminary and Lancaster Theological Seminary to formally begin combining the two institutions

July 10, 2021: A Special Synod of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church convened and voted to approve the definitive agreement to combine, allowing work to begin to combine the two institutions.

June 21, 2021: Unanimous approval by the Boards of both Moravian University and Lancaster Theological Seminary.

April 21, 2021: Moravian University and Seminary and Lancaster Theological Seminary to explore combining the two institutions.

Some key points around this announcement:

  • Moravian University and Theological Seminary is charged in their Charter to operate an ecumenical seminary. The possibility of Moravian Theological Seminary and Lancaster Theological Seminary joining together to educate their clergy and those of other denominations furthers that mission.
  • This possible combination could strengthen curriculum and expand degree and program offerings in both locations and online.
  • Interest in both institutions could widen geographically.
  • Combining institutions could strengthen us to weather the winds of change sweeping through theological education nationally.

Additional information from the Lancaster Theological Seminary can be found at lancasterseminary.edu/forward.

Do you have additional questions about this announcement?


FAQs

Q: Will Lancaster Theological Seminary be closing as a result of this combination?
A: No. Lancaster Theological Seminary (LTS) will become part of Moravian University. Moravian Theological Seminary (MTS) and Lancaster Seminary will craft and execute a shared vision for theological education that serves their individual and collective constituencies. Moravian University and Moravian Theological Seminary are excited to have a presence in Lancaster.

Q: Why combine the two institutions?
The timing is right for both Moravian and LTS. A strategic combination creates an exciting ecumenical partnership able to serve an even wider global faith community. The opportunities that result from combining resources, facilities, faculty expertise and our respective alumni communities have the potential to write a new and powerful story for our two seminaries.

By combining institutions, both can take advantage of the strengths of each school and will be strengthened, missionally and financially. Both Moravian Seminary and Lancaster Seminary will benefit from the shared work and cooperative engagement of faculty, staff, and students.

Q: Where did the idea to combine institutions originate, and why now?
LTS has been exploring opportunities over their last three strategic planning processes. In the most recent strategic plan, the LTS Board of Trustees identified long-term financial sustainability as a key goal with the possibility of creating new partnerships that would help achieve this goal while advancing the seminary’s mission.

Q: Before considering the combination with Moravian Theological Seminary/Moravian University, did LTS consider other combinations, in particular with United Church of Christ (UCC) schools?
A: LTS has had conversations with UCC institutions over several years, but found the right partner in Moravian. LTS benefits from geographic proximity with Moravian University and Moravian Theological Seminary that is not the case with other UCC seminaries. Combining with Moravian University and Moravian Theological Seminary allows LTS to keep its distinct UCC identity while partnering with a seminary of the Moravian Church with a compatible mission and approach to theological education.

Q: Will Lancaster Theological Seminary keep its name and current campus?
LTS will retain its name and will remain on its Ann B. Barshinger Campus for the foreseeable future.

Q: When will the combination with Moravian University be complete?
A: Though the partnership is underway, the full, legal consolidation will take place over a number of years as we finalize accreditation and regulatory approvals. The Association of Theological Schools and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education must approve the consolidation, as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We anticipate that it will be a full year (fall 2022 at the earliest) before the consolidation is complete.

Q: Will Lancaster Theological Seminary retain its United Church of Christ identity and remain a school related to the UCC?
A: Yes. LTS will continue to be listed as a UCC-affiliated seminary in the Yearbook, which operates as the record of all UCC-affiliated institutions. The relationship is governed through the bylaw that relates to the Council of Higher Education: “The CHE shall be composed of the academies, colleges, and theological schools that indicate their desire to be recognized as related to the United Church of Christ and that are accepted by the Council as conforming to its standards (UCC Bylaw 294).” LTS will continue its commitments to open and affirming, peace and justice, anti-racism, and anti-oppression.

Q: Will Moravian Theological Seminary retain its Moravian Church identity and remain its relationship to the Moravian Church?
A: Yes. True to the Moravian Church’s history of ecumenism, Moravian Theological Seminary has a long history of preparing individuals for service in many denominations. MTS will continue to welcome students preparing to serve in diverse socioeconomic, intercultural, and interfaith contexts.

Q: I am enrolled at Lancaster Theological Seminary and am scheduled to graduate in May 2022. Will my degree say Lancaster Theological Seminary?
A: Yes. For the 2021-2022 academic year, LTS will continue as an independent, accredited degree-granting institution. 

Q: Will I pay LTS tuition or Moravian tuition for 2021-2022?
A: Current students will continue along their degree pathways with graduation requirements remaining unchanged and with normal annual tuition increases. Any changes that may occur at a future date will be announced.

Q: What programs will be offered to MTS and LTS students?
A: We hope to enable cross-registration at both schools as early as the Fall 2021. Moravian Theological Seminary and Lancaster Theological Seminary each will teach their current degree and certificate program curricula during the 2021-22 academic year.

Q: How will this combination affect Lancaster faculty and staff?
A: All regular, full-time Lancaster faculty will remain with the Seminary. All other LTS employees will become Moravian employees for an initial 90-day period. Any employee whose position is eliminated as a result of the merger will be eligible for severance compensation based on years of service and will be encouraged to apply for other position openings with Moravian.

Q: How will this combination affect Moravian Seminary faculty and staff?
A: At this time, Moravian faculty and staff employment is unaffected by the combination.