Seminary Goes Online for Fall Term

June 29, 2020

Lancaster Seminary will offer classes and most of our programming online this fall, President Carol E. Lytch announced in an email to students, faculty and staff on June 29.

President Lytch's message continues:

“Undoubtedly you have noticed the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the US and the general unpredictability of this deadly virus. You have told us in the surveys we conducted earlier this month what while many prefer in-person teaching and working on campus, you prioritize the safety of all. Many of you expressed a high level of trust in administrators and faculty to make the decision that is best for all. Not one student indicated that they would not continue unless classes were held in-person. Thank you for your confidence and for your care for our community’s health and wellbeing. 

“I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s direction to the Corinthians to 'discern the body' as they met to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Genuine Christian community is mindful of the different circumstances of members of the body. In our case, we are mindful that we may need to subordinate our own preferences in order to include those who cannot risk taking classes in-person or working on campus.

“Our faculty is already skilled and experienced in online teaching, and their capacities will be enhanced as we offer additional training over the summer. Students also will be offered additional training and support for online learning through our IT and Moodle Support Team.  

“Here are some details about what students can expect:

  • Regular online asynchronous sessions will be supplemented with weekly synchronous sessions via Zoom.
  • Our international students will be able to continue their programs since the Seminary, a certified school of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, has been granted a waiver to allow them to study remotely in the US during this period.
  • Field Education will adapt to the virtual and other social distancing methods that ministry settings are adopting.
  • Chapel services will be offered in a virtual format twice a week.
  • The Student Community Council will host a series of virtual events including forums, social gatherings, and prayer meetings.
  • The library will continue to operate as it does now at least through July 7 when more information will be communicated.
  • Orientation for new students will be conducted online; more information will follow.
  • Prospective students will be invited into discernment about coming to Lancaster Seminary through Zoom Discover Days and through personal contact in phone calls, emails, and social media.

“Employees of the Seminary will receive more detailed information about their manner of work in the July 7 communication. 

“All members of our community should be assured that we are working in collaboration with the Lancaster Public Health Mitigation Team, Higher Education Division, to plan for the remainder of the summer and fall in way that prioritizes safety for students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

“Our community life is precious to us as it sustains us in our faith, hope, and love.  We cherish each one of you and trust that you will join with us to find new ways to live and learn together as the Lancaster Seminary community.”