Concentration in Christian Spirituality added to the M.Div. curriculum at VTS


Media Contact: Curtis Prather
Tel: 703-461-1782

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) is proud to announced that at the 2017 November meeting of the Board of Trustees, the board affirmed the VTS faculty vote that Master in Divinity (M.Div.) students can pursue their degree while specializing in the area of Christian Spirituality.

"There is significant evidence that plenty of people think of themselves as 'spiritual but not religious,'" said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, dean and president of VTS. "As the Seminary seeks to serve this population and find ways of demonstrating that the Episcopal Church can satisfy their needs, I am excited about this concentration. It is another resource to strengthen the church.”

This 12-credit concentration is deliberately cross-disciplinary, and enables students to shape their degree program according to how they sense God is particularly calling them to serve. Within the concentration, students will explore the cultivation and growth in holiness as the foundation for contemporary Christian spiritual practices. Against the background of biblical and classical texts and schools of Christian spirituality, special attention is given to the Anglican ascetical tradition and its enrichment through ecumenical and interfaith engagement. Students may explore the origins and performance of practices such as centering prayer, the “Jesus prayer,” lectio divina, breath prayers, types of meditation, spiritual direction as a form of pastoral care and formation, and others. A central feature of this concentration is a immersive experience for a week in a monastic community.

This concentration is the second to be offered by VTS, with a concentration in New Mission Practices recently approved as well. It, too, is 12 credits, and emerges from the conviction that Christian mission emerges from the communitarian and Trinitarian nature of God: God’s life and love overflowing in graced creation and re-creation. All Christians are called to participate in the ongoing boundary-crossing mission of God. The New Mission Practices concentration is designed to equip leaders with critical & constructive competencies for creative ministries in local, national, & international contexts & at the edges of traditional ministry. Most students in this concentration will serve in a field site placement in a parachurch context.

As part of the Washington Theological Consortium, M.Div. students at VTS can also elect additional concentrations offered at seminaries throughout the DC area, including Criminal Justice and Reconciliation, Ecology and Theology, Muslim-Christian Studies, and Ecumenism.


Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary is the flagship Seminary of the Episcopal Church. One of our first benefactors was Francis Scott Key whose poem provides the text for our national anthem. In the 194 years since being established, VTS has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including: the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those being ordained who received residential theological education. Visit us online at
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