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New NTS grants to fund ministerial entrepreneurship, distance learning programs

Nazarene Theological Seminary received grants from the Association of Theological Schools for faculty development and innovative programming. 

A $50,000 Innovation Grant will support the development of a new NTS initiative, Entrepreneurship and Ministry in the 21st Century. In collaboration with the Kauffman Foundation, NTS will develop curriculum and training opportunities for local pastors and church districts.

“Today’s pastors and ministry leaders must be creative, adaptive, and forward-thinking in their ministry contexts,” said Josh Sweeden, dean of the faculty. “The ministerial entrepreneurship curriculum combines critical theological reflection with increasingly important skills in entrepreneurship and innovation.”

A $15,000 Faculty Development Grant will support NTS faculty in the implementation of new hybrid learning approaches for distance education students.

The grant coincides with NTS’ revised residency format for distance Master of Divinity students, which creates robust, face-to-face learning through four one-week encounters in Kansas City, Missouri, each October. The learning format emphasizes deeper interaction between faculty and students, increased resources for ongoing personal and spiritual formation, and reduced travel, food, and lodging costs for most distance students. 

For more information, send an email to


Dr. Carla Sunberg Elected General Superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene

The 2017 General Assembly Delegation elected Dr. Carla Sunberg as its 43rd General Superintendent. Dr. Sunberg is the second woman to be elected as a General Superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene. 

At the time of her election, Dr. Sunberg was president of Nazarene Theological Seminary, where she has served since January 2014. Carla was the first woman president in the seminary’s history. Her passion for the Church, missions, education and the Gospel of Jesus Christ—along with her extensive experience and boundless energy—combined to make Dr. Sunberg an especially effective leader at Nazarene Theological Seminary. Through her leadership, NTS is entering an exciting new chapter with innovative academic programs, critical scholarship and vital resources for the church. Dr. Sunberg will now apply her considerable talents and experience in service to the denomination as General Superintendent. The NTS community looks forward to the ways God will continue to use Dr. Sunberg to provide leadership to the church in service to God’s mission.

Dr. Jeren Rowell, chair of the NTS Board of Trustees, issued the following statement: “Trusting the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church, the Board of Trustees celebrates the election of President Sunberg to the office of general superintendent. Under Dr. Sunberg’s leadership, Nazarene Theological Seminary (Kansas City) enjoys a position of strength both today and into the future. We stride forward in the confidence that God, who has provided for NTS so abundantly, will continue to provide as we seek a new president.”

In accordance with NTS Bylaws, The Board of Trustees will immediately begin the search process for the next president of the seminary. Preparations for NTS’ next academic year are underway; NTS will welcome a strong incoming class of students in August and anticipates continued strength for many years to come. We thank Dr. Sunberg for her vital leadership to NTS and the Church!


Nazarene Theological Seminary Celebrates 71st Commencement

May 7, 2017 – The 71st Spring Commencement activities were held at Kansas City First Church of the  Nazarene.  

“Our intention was not just for you to finish with a degree. Our intention has always been for you to begin and to continue faithful and effective ministry throughout your life,” said Dr. Roger Hahn to the 2017 graduating class. Dr. Hahn was the commencement speaker as he retires after fifteen years as Dean of the Faculty. He will continue teaching at NTS.

Forty-seven graduates of the class of 2017 received the following degrees:

  • 25 Master of Divinity degrees
    • 2 of these students completed their validated Course of Study for Ordination
  • 15 Master of Arts degrees
  • 7 Doctor of Ministry degrees

Thirteen certificates were earned in the following disciplines:

  • Certificate in Chaplaincy Ministries
  • Certificate in Christian Discipleship
  • Certificate in Collaborative Urban Ministry and Development
  • Certificate in Pastoral Counseling
  • Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Also, seven diplomas were awarded:

  • 5 in Cross-Cultural Ministries, our 365m program
  • 1 in Youth and Family Ministry
  • 1 in Children and Family Ministries

This year’s graduates represented nine countries including the United States, India, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, New Zealand and South Africa. Congratulations!



Celebration and Excitement Highlight the Spring Board of Trustee Meeting at Nazarene Theological Seminary

The Board of Trustees for Nazarene Theological Seminary met on April 6, 2017 on the NTS Campus in Kansas City, MO.

“We are excited about where NTS has come the last four years under the leadership of Dr. Carla Sunberg our President,” said Rev. Dr. Jeren Rowell (video interview), Kansas City District Superintendent and NTS Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “We are experiencing excitement and vibrancy and anticipation of what the future will hold for us as God continues to lead us into the future.”

NTS will soon roll out new academic programs to help students better pursue their theological education in a fast-changing world. Our strong faculty is a valuable resource to students, the denomination and the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. The NTS Center for Pastoral Leadership is a tremendous resource for all who desire to grow and earn continuing education units throughout the entire arc of their ministry. NTS is serving the community in significant ways, including rehabbing area homes for student housing, leading the RefreshKC neighborhood painting project and more.

Finally, the latest Board of Trustee meeting focused on celebration. A dinner was held in Dr. Roger Hahn’s honor, as he will soon step aside as Dean of Faculty, but continue teaching at NTS. Dr. Hahn has provided fifteen years of faithful and effective service and has impacted so many lives at NTS and beyond. “Dr. Hahn is a man who loves God and who has given himself in wholehearted service to the kingdom and the church. He is a great scholar who will continue to shape our biblical understanding for years to come. I am personally grateful for the wisdom he has freely shared and for his many years of humble service. His leadership as Dean of the Faculty will be missed, but I am thankful that he will continue to serve on the NTS faculty, even after he steps down as Dean next year,” said Dr. Carla Sunberg.

Dr. Josh Sweeden will assume the role of Dean of Faculty on July 1, 2017 and will help lead NTS into the future!



Creating an Endowed Scholarship as a Way to Honor Those We Love

Rev. J. Paul Downey Scholarship Endowment Fund 

This endowment scholarship is to honor a wonderful father for his profound and thoughtful thinking. He was known for his loving pastoral work and his scholarship in the ministry. 

Carolyn Downey, daugher of J. Paul and Ruth Downey

J. Paul Downey was born in Bethany, Oklahoma on March 24,1914. His parents, Ed and Cornelia Downey, could not decide on his first name—all the ones they discussed started with the letter “J” and so they decided to just use the “J.” as his first name. They called him Paul.

My grandfather was a construction supervisor and built the first building at Bethany Nazarene College, now Southern Nazarene University. This original administration building is today’s Bresee Hall.

When father was five, the family moved to Pasadena, California where they attended Bresee Nazarene Church. Later, father attended Pasadena College, a Nazarene University, and graduated in 1936. During his college years, he met his wife and my mother, Ruth Willis, and they married after father’s graduation. Immediately after the wedding, father was assigned to ministry in the far-away state of Alabama.

My parents served in several ministries while in Alabama. Dad was a young dynamic minister and mother was a talented music director. My father walked several miles to the University of Alabama (in Tuscaloosa) where he received his Master’s Degree. Needless to say, he became a lifelong Crimson Tide fan!

A few years later, my parents moved to Selma, Alabama. I was born in Selma on June 3, 1939. My parents had a two-room wooden home with a wood stove and an outhouse. Father talked about all the unpainted shacks around the church and how sad it was. The church in Selma was small with lots of windows which dad would have wide open. 

Father would often tell the story about how deeply-rooted segregation was in the south. African Americans were not even allowed inside their church. In spite of that, African Americans would come for services and sit around the outside of the church. They would sit on the ground, sing the songs and amen the messages with a deep spirituality and great soulfulness. Often, there were more people outside the church than inside. The culture of the South, especially in regard to segregation, was quite a revelation for my parents. Years later, in the 1970s, I went to visit her birthplace and saw the house and church that were still the same. The unpainted shacks were still there with lots of family members on the porches and steps.

Here is a photo of my parents outside their home which was a two-room house with an out-house in the back.  You can also see a portion of the church in the background.

Often, our church in Selma was unable to pay my father’s salary, but we were never in need of food. The parishioners would bring food and quilted blankets to our family. My uncle, Dick Willis, would send some of his salary for my parents to live on. Uncle Dick even bought them their first china set which mother used for years as she entertained in the parsonage.

My parents were always upset about the bigotry in the south and could not adjust to treating people this way, so they decided to go back to California.  They moved to Merced, California where father pastored for five years.  There were two different church buildings during this time. 

Father built a new church and parsonage in Merced, California. It’s a church that Ruth and Carolyn visited from time to time over the years.  It was fun for them to see it still intact as a non-denominational church with great spiritual parishioners. When the our family left Merced, a young man named Jim Jackson took father’s place. Interestingly Jim is now the chaplain at White Sands; he celebrated mother’s 98th and 99th birthdays with her and also came to pray with her the day she passed. 

After Merced, we moved to Walla Walla, Washington where we lived for eight years. Father pastored the First Nazarene Church. During this time, mother went back to school at Whitman College where she completed the two years needed to receive her Bachelor’s Degree and then continued to achieve her Master’s Degree.  

After Walla Walla, father pastored for five years the First Church of the Nazarene in Yakima, Washington then we moved to Phoenix, Arizona where father pastored the First Church of the Nazarene and mother was in charge of the music as well as teaching full time. My parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary while in Phoenix.  

During his years as a pastor, father was very active in District Assemblies and General Assemblies. He was known for his scholarly yet down to earth messages.  Father told me that it was difficult to keep people’s attention for more than 15 minutes, so he prepared messages to last no longer than 15 minutes and always had a beginning, three points will scriptural reference and a story, and ended with a summary. He was a smart man!

J. Paul Downey passed away on February 13, 1970 of a cerebral hemorrhage a few weeks before his 56th birthday while changing planes in Chicago. He was greatly missed. With donations which came in to honor his life, several churches were built in Mexico.

The following are two photos of Paul with his wife, Ruth, just before he passed away.


Nazarene Theological Seminary Partners with Missio Alliance

Nazarene Theological Seminary has partnered with Missio Alliance to further God’s mission by transforming lives, leadership, and communities.

“NTS is a missional seminary serving a missional church,” said Carla Sunberg, NTS president. “We believe that God is calling together like-hearted and like-minded sisters and brothers in the faith who are uniting in the mission of God.”

Sunberg is a featured speaker at the Missio Alliance Awakenings event, April 27 to 29, in Alexandria, Virginia. There will be more than 50 diverse presenters focused on three key areas: spiritual warfare, personal discipleship, and community transformation.

Missio Alliance seeks to work alongside and between churches, denominations, schools, and networks of different kinds to see the Church in North America more fully and faithfully equipped for participation in God’s mission.

“Partnering and working together with organizations like Missio Alliance helps NTS and all of us make a greater difference in a fast-changing world,” Sunberg said. “We’re excited to further our partnership with Missio Alliance in the years to come.”

NTS and Missio Alliance also partnered for the #SheLeads event in October 2016.

Nazarene Theological Seminary


An Invitation to a Pre-General Assembly Prayer Retreat  

Important: Rates for this retreat will increase slightly after April 30th.

June 19 - 20

Would you like to join with others for a 24-hour period of prayer and reflection just prior to the General Conventions & Assembly events in Indianapolis? Good news! Such an opportunity will be provided: 

  • When: Monday afternoon, June 19 – Tuesday afternoon, June 20, 2017 
  • Where: Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center, Indianapolis (just a 15 minute drive from the Convention Center) 
  • What: An overnight retreat with shared meals, Scripture presentations based on Ephesians 4:1-16, community & private prayer, and rest 
  • Who: Developed and led by Deidre Brower-Latz (Nazarene Theological College-Manchester), Rhonda Carrim (Northwest Nazarene University), Terry Fach (Ambrose University), Doug Hardy (Nazarene Theological Seminary), Rebecca Laird (Point Loma Nazarene University), and Doug VanNest (Mount Vernon Nazarene University) 
  • Why: In response to Jesus’ invitation to us as his disciples to “Come away … and rest a while” (Mark 6:31) 

Click here to read more!


Corlett Sermon Finalist to Preach March 21st at Chapel

Premal Awasarmal, Kelcie Exline and Jason Phelps have been selected by a faculty subcommittee as finalists in the Corlett Senior Sermon. Please come to chapel in the Koinonia Café on Tuesday, March 21st, at noon with your lunch to hear and support them. The full faculty will then vote for the winner who will represent the graduating class by preaching on Commencement Sunday, May 7th, at Kansas City First Church during their morning services.

This prestigious preaching award dates back to the founding of the seminary in 1945, and includes a cash prize and recognition on the Corlett plaque hanging in the second floor.


NTS Awarded Financial Literacy Grant

Lilly Endowment Inc. recently awarded Nazarene Theological Seminary a $125,000 sustainability grant to continue its work in the critical area of financial literacy for the next generation of pastors and other church leaders. NTS was one of more than 50 theological schools in the United States to receive an initial three-year grant in 2014 to implement a program to encourage seminarians to graduate with manageable (or no) educational debt. The NTS Center for Pastoral Leadership (CPL) has headed up this work, which has included extensive counseling and educational efforts directed primarily at new students, and ongoing campus educational initiatives open to the entire student body, seminary faculty and staff. These efforts are having a great impact! According to the U.S. Department of Education, NTS has the lowest student loan default ranking in Missouri and is tied for the lowest default rate in the nation—with an amazing 0% default rate! This sustainability grant from Lilly Endowment will enable the NTS CPL to continue these important initiatives and cooperate with the denomination’s larger efforts to ensure financial wellness for all Nazarene pastors.


Updated Alumni Association Constitution

Our most recent version of the Alumni Association Constitution is available at In the fall of 2016 your alumni council recommended a few changes that were then approved by the NTS Board of Trustees and affirmed by a vote of the Alumni. This constitution reflects those revisions. 

Dr. Steve Estep
President, NTS Alumni Association 


Your Gift is Needed!

By Tim McPherson, Dean for Advancement

“What do you need?” That is a question often asked of family and friends as a part of the Christmas giving tradition. Oft’ times the answer is, “Oh, I don’t really need anything.” Such an answer, however honest it may be, rarely prevents loved ones from giving. Such is love. Though humankind may not have known their desperate need, God gave his only begotten son. Such is the Gospel.

This season, consider a meaningful gift to Nazarene Theological Seminary “to prepare faithful and effective ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” It’s a gift that reaches family, friends and beyond to impact the world in which we live. The Seminary relies upon your support during this season of generosity to help fund its mission year ‘round. Quite frankly, as the calendar year concludes, NTS needs your gifts—both large and small.


Cyber Monday, November 28

Our CPL membership subscription will be specially priced for gifting to your favorite pastor or church leader. Stay tuned for more details!

Giving Tuesday, November 29

Please join NTS on Giving Tuesday. There are many ways to support NTS:

End of Year Gifts, before December 31

Gifts to NTS are tax deductible! FYI: Donors over the age of 70.5 may now plan each year to make transfers directly from an IRA to a charity (In December 2015 the Path Act made the IRA rollover permanent!

The Seminarian Offering, January 29

Preparations have already begun for this essential offering to be taken on Sunday, January 29, 2017. If each church would tell the story of NTS and take an offering that amounts to at least $1 per church member or attender (whichever is larger), it would dramatically increase the support of NTS. Every dollar invested provides tuition assistance, teacher salaries, multicultural programs, continuing education, library books, technological services, student housing, building improvements and much more! Be watching the mail for instructions and posters. Click here for more information and resources:

We give thanks for the faithful and generous friends of NTS.


NTS Alumni - Vote Required by Nov 3, 2016 on Proposed Changes to Alumni Association Constitution

Dear NTS Alumni:

At the October 1, 2016, meeting of the Nazarene Theological Seminary Alumni Council, three changes to the Alumni Association Constitution were proposed, discussed, and passed.

On Friday, October 14, these changes were approved by the NTS Board of Trustees.

Per our constitution, any changes must also be approved by a vote of the alumni. Click here to see the proposed Alumni Association Constitution changes and rationale for them.

Each change must be approved by the alumni in order to be ratified. We request you vote on these three items prior to November 3, 2016. You will receive a ballot via email or regular mail within the next week.

If you did not receive a ballot, please email or call her at (816) 268-5434.



USA/Canada Theology Conference Papers

Full conference papers are available at


2016 Alumni & Friends Dinner Registration


Lindell and Kay Browning Join Nazarene Theological Seminary as 365m Coordinators

NTS is pleased to announce that Lindell and Kay Browning are the new program coordinators for 365m. The NTS 365m program allows students to receive credit toward a Master’s degree while serving in a cross-cultural setting. The Brownings will be involved in recruiting new students into the 365m program, mentoring 365m students from application through the completion of the diploma program and maintaining clear communications (between students, mentoring agents in the field and appropriate Academic Offices at NTS).

The Brownings bring a wealth of missionary knowledge and experience to NTS. For the past 37 years, they have served in the Middle East with the Church of the Nazarene. Lindell and Kay greatly impacted the region through their pastoral ministry and by identifying national “indigenous” leaders who could take up the ministry at the local, district and field levels. The Brownings raised their four children, now adults, in Nazareth and Jerusalem. They retired in January 2016 and now reside in Pendleton, Indiana.   

“Our time in the Middle East was often tumultuous and challenging, but always fulfilling and full of God’s presence.”  -– Lindell and Kay Browning

Dr. Carla Sunberg, President of NTS, shares: “Having the Brownings become a part of the NTS team at this time is exciting. Their experience overseas in a very challenging part of the world only enhances their ability to provide leadership to those who are seeking opportunities to serve cross-culturally.”

Lindell is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University (BA in Religion, 1972) and Nazarene Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1975). Lindell served as Field Strategy Coordinator of the Eastern Mediterranean Field for 25 years.

Kay is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University (BA in Speech Communication and Education, 1972) and Bethany Nazarene University (MA in Education, 1974). She also received a Certification in English as a Second Language from Trent College in 1996. Kay taught ESL at the EMF Bible College and the Bethlehem Bible College and was also bookkeeper/secretary for the Eastern Mediterranean Field.  

“Nazarene Theological Seminary was a vital part of our preparation for missions.   However, before leaving for the mission field, our cross-cultural experience had only consisted of a few weeks living overseas during summer break from college. During our years as missionaries, we worked with volunteers and short-term missionaries who, just like us, would have benefited from the 365m diploma. We believe in what NTS is doing and are proud to be part of the Seminary family working with the 365m program.” -– Lindell and Kay Browning


NTS and Black Ministries for the Church of the Nazarene Respond to Recent Acts of Violence

Elie Wiesel reminds us, “Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views that place must-at that moment-become the center of the universe.”

“We are saddened and dismayed over the events of this past week,” shares Rev. Charles Tillman, Director of Black Ministries for the Church of the Nazarene. “Again, we are reminded of the need for racial justice and equality in 2016 right here in America. A young unarmed Black man being subdued by two Baton Rouge police officers is needlessly shot multiple times and killed; another Black man in Minnesota is shot and killed during a routine traffic stop with his girlfriend and young infant in the vehicle. I wake up today and learn that a Black gunman in Dallas unleashed gunfire on police officers at a peaceful demonstration. The gunman was upset and angry over the recent killings of Blacks at the hands of police. Twelve officers were shot and five killed! This is an inappropriate and horrific response to a challenging issue facing each of us today. Two wrongs will never total one right!”

Dr. Sunberg echoes the concern:

“As the Violence fills our newsfeed on almost an hourly basis we struggle to make sense of all that has transpired. Sadly, making sense of violence is rarely possible. We follow Jesus who came declaring the peace of the kingdom of God and as adopted children we embrace Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (NRSV)

Today we pray for peace and for God’s love to help us embrace all that is good. Echoes of the words of Micah ring in our ears, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.” (NRSV) Humbly we kneel before our God as children of the kingdom, respecting the lives of all individuals. We also recognize that current cracks have the potential to become larger fissures as pressures and tensions mount, and therefore we pray for God’s peace, wisdom and guidance. May we join hands across racial lines and truly listen to one another so that the words of Jesus will be fulfilled, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35, NRSV) “

Center for Black Leadership

Prayer moves us to action and a thoughtful response. NTS, in cooperation with MultiCultural Ministries for the Church of the Nazarene will be launching a Center for Black Leadership to be housed at NTS. This center will intentionally invest in the next generation of black leaders, inside and outside the Church of the Nazarene, while at the same time providing a platform for critical conversations around racism and injustice in the church and our society. Our desire is for the creation of new pathways that will move us forward and allow us to seriously reflect on the church’s role as peacemakers in our communities.


Dr. Josh Sweeden Appointed as New Dean of Faculty at Nazarene Theological Seminary

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Josh Sweeden has been unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees to be the new Dean of the Faculty at Nazarene Theological Seminary. Dr. Sweeden will be coming to NTS from George Fox Evangelical Seminary/George Fox University where he has been Assistant Professor of Theology and also served with his wife, Nell, as the Richard B. Parker Co-Chair in Wesleyan Theology. Dr. Sweeden and his family will be moving to Kansas City in September. He will begin teaching at NTS in January, 2017 as associate professor of Church and Society, and will fully assume the role of Dean on July 1, 2017 when Dr. Roger Hahn steps aside as Dean of the Faculty.

Dr. Sweeden is a graduate of the Boston University School of Theology (Ph.D. Practical Theology, Concentration in Church and Society, 2012); Nazarene Theological Seminary (M.Div., 2007); Point Loma Nazarene University (B.A. Bible and Christian Ministries, 2003). Dr. Sweeden is an ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene and has served in various ministerial capacities in local churches, Nazarene higher education, as well as through Global Mission and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. 

NTS President Carla Sunberg -

Dr. Sweeden brings a deep understanding of theological education and experience in curriculum development and educational systems to NTS. He is a dedicated churchman with a passion for connecting the academy with the life of the church. He has had a rich experience at George Fox Evangelical Seminary where he chaired the Academic Committee and served as the faculty chair of Seminary Admissions Review. He also played a key role in the Seminary’s self-study for the Association of Theological Schools and spear-headed the organization and design of an innovative and comprehensive program and curriculum revision. We look forward to having Dr. Sweeden here at NTS as we continue to partner with the church for mission.”

Dr. Sweeden on the challenges of seminary education –

“These are challenging times for many ATS schools. Over the last ten years, NTS has demonstrated its resiliency and ability to innovate, embracing the dual posture of continuity and change. For the foreseeable future, the strength of ATS schools will depend, in part, on their nimbleness—their ability to adapt and respond to rapidly changing contexts in creative and innovative ways. But mere nimbleness is insufficient, especially in the long-term. Needed is the kind of strategic thinking that continually evaluates systems and structures for integrity and efficiency. These strategic skills are best coupled with a collaborative and discerning spirit. The pastoral qualities of humility, honesty, and patience are indelible to seminary administrative leadership. Ultimately, I am committed to seeing NTS flourish and excited about the opportunity to be part of building the future of NTS as it continues to serve the church in God’s mission.”


NTS Response to the Orlando Tragedy

Nazarene Theological Seminary deplores the violent and hateful slaughter of people in Orlando, FL last weekend.  As human beings created in the image of God the victims should have received love and the courtesy of civil conversation rather than the impersonal and violent disregard for their person-hood and common humanity.  NTS extends its sympathy and prayers to the friends and families of those who were killed or injured in Orlando.  This terrible incident reminds each of us that the call of God to love and respect each other rises above issues of lifestyle and religion that separate and often dehumanize us.


Nazarene Theological Seminary President, Dr. A. Gordon Wetmore, Passes Away

President Carla Sunberg, together with the NTS community, are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Dr. Arnold Gordon Wetmore on the morning of June 9th, 2016. NTS would like to extend its deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

“Dr. Wetmore will be dearly missed. His influence reached far and wide in many capacities. As pastor during my teenage years he carved an indelible impression on me, presenting an outstanding model of pastoral care and the holy life. I am humbled to follow in his footsteps at NTS where daily his imprint is seen and felt on the institution. His legacy will live on through his family and those whom he helped to shape and form in the image of God. “

Dr. Carla Sunberg, President

“The life and ministry of Dr. Gordon Wetmore was profoundly interwoven with the life of Nazarene Theological Seminary as a student, as Heinmiller Lecturer on the Devotional Life, as Pastor of Kansas City First Church when it met in the Seminary chapel, and as seventh President.  Dr. Wetmore was the president who took the risk of offering me a position on the faculty of NTS.  He was both pastoral in his care for everyone he met and visionary in preparing the seminary for the 21st century.  He made me a better person and I will always be grateful for the model of leadership I experienced from him.”

Dr. Roger Hahn, Dean of Faculty

Dr. Wetmore was born on June 24, 1931 in New Brunswick, Canada. He received his undergraduate education at Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) in Massachusetts and earned the B.D. from Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS) in 1959. He also earned a doctor of ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and completed further graduate study in a number of universities and divinity schools and received the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from ENC.  

Dr. Wetmore served as pastor in the following churches: Church of the Nazarene, Monroe, WI; Wollaston Church of the Nazarene, Quincy, MA; First Church of the Nazarene, Columbus, OH and First Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City, MO. He also served as Dean of Students at his alma mater, ENC. In 1983, Dr. Wetmore was elected president of the Northwest Nazarene College (NNC) and served there until 1992, when he was elected as the seventh president of the Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS).  He served on the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene from 1970-1983 and was president of that board from 1979-1983. He also held many other board and council positions. Dr. Wetmore retired in 2000 and lived with his beloved wife, A.J., in Olathe, Kansas.

In the face of rising tuition costs, Dr. Wetmore saw a great need to assist students to be able to afford to begin or to continue attending NTS. One of the focuses of his NTS presidency was the establishment of several fully funded scholarship funds (“Scholarships of Distinction”). He encouraged many to begin scholarships, and in 1994, he began a scholarship fund in his and A.J.’s name.  He faithfully gave as often and as long as he could, as he believed deeply in graduate theological education.  Because of his foundational work in this area, today NTS offers over one hundred fully endowed scholarship funds to assist students with educational costs.

After retiring from NTS in 2000, Dr. Wetmore continued to serve NTS for several years as he mentored the then new NTS president, Dr. Ron Benefiel, and as he continued to raise funds for NTS.

In the last few years, Dr. Wetmore was very proud that one of his grandsons, A. Gordon Wetmore, III, planned to attend, and is now a current NTS student.

We would love to honor Dr. Wetmore’s legacy by adding to his scholarship so that more funds will be available to assist students with their tuition. 

Donations may be made to Dr. Gordon and A.J. Wetmore’s scholarship by going online at  Click on “donate now” to give with a credit or debit card.  Checks may be made out to Nazarene Theological Seminary and sent to 1700 E. Meyer Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64131.  Earmark the check “Wetmore.”


NTS Honors Dr. Roger L. Hahn

During our recent meeting of the NTS Board of Trustees Dr. Roger officially stated his desire to step down as Dean of the Faculty, effective July 1, 2017. Dr. Hahn will have served in this role for 15 years—the second longest tenure among the seven persons who have been Dean of the NTS Faculty.

Click to read more ...