Lancaster Seminary, Moravian Univ. & Seminary to formally begin combining

July 19, 2021

Lancaster Seminary, Moravian Univ. & Seminary to formally begin combining

Moravian University, including the Moravian Theological Seminary, and Lancaster Theological Seminary have received formal approval to commence work to combine the two seminaries. In April of this year, both schools announced the formation of a joint committee to explore combining the two historic institutions, pending final approval from the respective Boards of Trustees and the Moravian Church.

Moravian University, founded in 1742, Moravian Theological Seminary, founded in 1807, and Lancaster Theological Seminary, founded in 1825, have long and storied histories of providing educational and formational opportunities for students from a variety of backgrounds and have prepared generations of students to serve the church and the world.

On July 10, 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 consolidating the two institutions. This approval follows approval by the Boards of both Moravian and Lancaster on June 21, 2021.

“The combination of Moravian and Lancaster Theological Seminaries as part of the Moravian University family creates a partnership that generates both missional and financial benefits,” said Bryon Grigsby, president of Moravian University.

“We are excited about combining our historic seminary with Moravian to create an ecumenical partnership to serve an even wider global faith community,” said Eric Hoerner, acting president of Lancaster Theological Seminary. “We are grateful for the discernment, grace, and commitment of all who helped bring this opportunity to fruition, and we move forward in our mission with renewed hope and joy.”

Within a short period, Bryon Grigsby will become the president, and the Rev. Dr. Heather Vacek will become the dean of Lancaster Theological Seminary. The Rev. Dr. Vanessa Lovelace, academic dean and vice president of Academic Affairs at Lancaster Theological Seminary since 2019, will be Associate Dean of Lancaster Theological Seminary.

The Rev. Dr. Heather Vacek, vice president and dean at Moravian Theological Seminary, commented, “I am thrilled about the possibilities the future holds for a combined Lancaster Theological Seminary and Moravian Theological Seminary. The two institutions have compatible missions and approaches to theological education, enabling faculty and staff to partner to serve a range of constituents well, including those pursuing ministry in the Moravian Church and the United Church of Christ.“

Moravian Theological Seminary and Lancaster Theological Seminary each will teach their current degree and certificate program curricula during the 2021-22 academic year. Shared marketing activities will begin immediately. Students will be able to take courses at either campus as soon as feasible.

Final consolidation, subject to an Agreement to Consolidate, is expected to take several years and is contingent upon regulatory approvals of the Association of Theological Schools, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, among others.

About Moravian University

About Moravian Seminary

About Lancaster Theological Seminary