Denominational Formation

At Phillips Theological Seminary, ministerial formation goes hand-in-hand with ecumenical theological education. We could not fulfill our mission without strong church partnerships. Dozens of congregations provide teaching and learning contexts for students. Particular partnerships developed with the following enable us to educate church leaders who both know the mission and work of the ecumenical church as well as the traditions and practices of their own denominations:

In partnership with these denominations' ordination committees, Phillips has identified formation directors. Each director is prepared to assist students regarding requirements for ordination, denominational history and polity, and denominational services and programs.


Formation Director
Christian Church (DOC)
Lisa Davison
United Methodist ChurchDee Williamston
United Church of ChristKathy McCallie
Presbyterian ChurchTodd Freeman
Unitarian UniversalistBarbara Prose 
Baptist TraditionsArthur Carter

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

With Disciples regions, congregations, and the seminary working together, students are assured of receiving excellent preparation for ministerial service, both commissioned and ordained. Practical courses in ministry, including supervised field work, are coupled with a broad range of academic studies to ensure that graduates enjoy the fullest of educational experiences.

Disciples ministerial formation complements the program of formal education by:

  •  coordinating on-campus Disciples activities
  •  providing required and elective denominational courses
  •  connecting students with regional offices for services and support
  •  assisting with the credentialing process in pursuit of ordination
  •  helping navigate denominational systems
  •  advising candidates on the Search and Call process for church-related employment
  •  introducing students to denominational events and programs

In addition, a variety of Disciples of Christ travel opportunities sponsored by the seminary and the church bring the history and the present of the denomination together in vital ways.

For more information on the denomination and its mission visit the website of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

United Methodist Church

Phillips Theological Seminary University Senate-approved seminary for training and forming United Methodist clergy.  Students desiring elder’s orders are encouraged to seek the MDiv degree.  Some students pursuing deacon’s orders meet their educational requirements with our MAMC degree.  A candidate’s chosen specialty and prior graduate-level study help determine how Phillips can best meet their educational needs. Students not seeking ordination are also welcome to consult with the Ministerial Formation Director for assistance.

United Methodist ministerial formation complements regular Phillips course work and field supervision by:

  • providing required and elective denominational courses (UM History, UM Polity, UM Doctrine, Evangelism, etc.);
  • mentoring United Methodist students in their discernment of call, as well as their progress through ordination or certification;
  • hosting denominational visitors such as District Superintendents and Boards of Ordained Ministry representatives from various Annual Conferences;
  • communicating denominational information relevant to students and their ministries, including loan and scholarship opportunities (see the UMC bulletin board in the student commons);
  • supporting a sense of community among United Methodist students at Phillips; and
  • presenting United Methodist-related awards and recognitions to Phillips students.

For specific information on ordination requirements or on loans and scholarships, please familiarize yourself with the website of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

Visit the United Methodist Church for more information on the denomination and its mission.

United Church of Christ

In the United Church of Christ, we call ourselves the “comma people”, that is, we are the folks who say with Gracie Allen “Never place a period where God has placed a comma”. Those who come to Phillips Theological Seminary will find the resources here to develop a “comma” ministry, creating with our partner denominations a learning community that proclaims: “God is Still Speaking!”

The denominational formation program that meets the needs of students preparing for ministry through the United Church of Christ helps students integrate the elements of their theological education with the requirements for ordination.

We do so by:

  • Offering specific courses in the history and polity of the United Church of Christ
  • Providing counsel and guidance for students preparing for and moving through ordination or commissioning processes
  • Assistance in developing a profile for circulation within the United Church of Christ
  • Connecting students with their conference and/or associational committees that give oversight to ordination on behalf of local churches
  • Introducing students to visiting representatives from the denomination

Phillips Theological Seminary is committed to the formation and development of a lively ecumenical community that prepares those who seek to walk the way of Jesus in the world! This is the mission of the United Church of Christ! Come join us!

Presbyterian Church (USA)

Within an ecumenical atmosphere, the seminary works in partnership with local congregations and five presbyteries to ensure that Presbyterian students are formed in the distinct ethos of the Reformed theological tradition. Inquirers and Candidates from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church have engaged in theological education at Phillips.

Practical courses in ministry join a broad range of studies to provide the full range of educational experiences required by Presbyterian students, including the Greek and Hebrew languages. Reformed theology and Presbyterian polity are also offered as needed by students.

A Presbyterian Advisory Council, composed of the executive presbyters and moderators of the Committees on Preparation for each presbytery served by the seminary, meets regularly on campus to address shared concerns and provide guidance to the formation program for Presbyterian students.

Presbyterian ministerial formation at Phillips Theological Seminary complements formal education by:

  • providing required and elective denominational courses;
  • mentoring Presbyterian students in their discernment of call, as well as their progress through ordination or commissioning as lay pastors;
  • coordinating on-campus activities and providing a sense of community among Presbyterian students;
  • connecting students with regional offices for services and support;
  • communicating denominational information relevant to students and their ministries, including loan and scholarship opportunities.

Unitarian Universalist Association

Phillips Theological Seminary is located in the Southern Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Our purpose is to grow and deepen the Unitarian Universalist community at the seminary and your time will be as meaningful and fruitful as possible.  For many decades, Phillips has been a graduate alma mater to several Unitarian Universalist ministers, lay leaders, and others within the faith community pursuing religious-based vocations.

If you are pursuing a degree, Phillips may be your sole destination to take your courses, or you may augment your studies with coursework taken at other seminaries. You may often apply Phillips courses to your degree work elsewhere. Courses in Unitarian Universalist History and Polity, as well as other courses of a broader nature, are taught at Phillips by UU clergy. Phillips has also worked with UU churches in the local community to provide educational opportunities and lectures.

Activities include opportunities for gatherings and meetings with UU ministers during each semester, working in relationship to the UUA’s offices for seminarians or for any assistance you may need with your studies at Phillips, as well as participating in both Phililps activities and UU events.

To pursue ministerial fellowship, please consult with the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Some local and nearby Unitarian Universalist congregations and resources: