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Photograph of Mario Bolivar Mario A. Bolivar Student
United Thological Seminary is a place where I can continue my spiritual growth
and intellectual transformation without being overwhelmed. It is a place...
Read More
Photograph of Elaine Stubblefield Elaine Stubblefield Student
I believe that God sent me to United to prepare me for pastoral ministry. I chose United because of its...
Read More
Photograph of Brett Dearnell Brett Dearnell Student
I came to United Theological Seminary because of its interest in church renewal.
I have seen United stand in the...
Read More
Photograph of Dr. Harding Rev. Dr. Kevass J. Harding Alumnus
Getting my Doctor of Ministry at United helped prepare me to write my first book, Can These Bones Live: Bringing Life to a Dying Church. My time at United taught me... Read More
Photograph of Mary Kelly Mary Kelly Alumna
I made so many enduring friendships during my time at United, and I continue to call upon my former classmates to offer me wisdom and advice. United helped me to... Read More
Photograph of David Hood David Hood Alumnus
United has built into me a passion for excellence in leadership and a drive to be in the business of developing young talent for future ministry... Read More
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Privacy Policy


Thank you for visiting United Theological Seminary's website. United does not collect personal information about visitors to our website unless you choose to provide that information to us. United does not sell, exchange or release information gathered from your visit to our web site to parties outside the seminary without your consent. Once we obtain your consent, we consider it valid until revoked by you.

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If you visit our website, we automatically gather and store the following information about your visit so that we can track the use of our website in order to make improvements. This information is stored and used in the aggregate only, and is not used to contact you personally:

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You may set your browser to refuse cookies from any website you visit. If you so choose, you may still gain access to most of United's website, but you may not be able to take advantage of some of the interactive elements offered.

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United Theological Seminary's website will only collect personal information which you knowingly and voluntarily provide by, for example, sending emails, completing membership forms, registering for classes, events, or other programs, or responding to surveys. If you provide us with personal information, we will normally respond to your inquiry, request or order. We may also contact you to provide information about college activities, programs, membership and development opportunities and special events that may interest you.

United will only share information about you to other parties when one or more of the following conditions apply:

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Student directory information may be released without the student's written consent. Directory information includes: name, address, email address, I.D., photo, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in United activities, dates of attendance at United, degrees, certificates and awards received, and the most recent previous educational institution attended. If you do not want your directory information released, you must complete a form requesting it not be released and file the form with the Registrar.


Within our website there are links to non-United websites. When you link to third party websites, you leave our website and no longer will be subject to our privacy policy. United is not responsible for the privacy practices nor the content of non-United websites, and such links are not intended to be an endorsement of non-United websites or their content.


If you have questions about this Privacy Policy, please contact us via email at

Mario A Bolivar Spotlight

United M.Div. Student

Photograph of Mario Bolivar

United Theological Seminary is a place where I can continue my spiritual growth and intellectual transformation without being overwhelmed. It is a place where I am allowed to challenge my beliefs but not bury them, grow in faith and let the Spirit guide me through every phase with the help of all the resources of mentors, educators, colleagues and the community. United is an almost perfect atmosphere for an effective foundation in my call into ministry.

At United, I am not just another student – I am known by name as God knows all of us by name. I have a feeling of belonging and pure camaraderie in friendly volleyball, base Nerf ball, faculty/student games, ecumenical outdoor worships, group prayer, discussion and study, Christmas ball, stand-up comedy, and hallway theology discussions. I am reaffirmed every day that I am loved.

I am a Youth Pastor in a midsize Presbyterian Church. If there is something I've discovered at United it is to celebrate our differences and rejoice in our similarities; that's why a group of youth leaders from the city of Troy, Ohio, and I have formed a group we like to call ACT – Activities of Churches of Troy, a friendly get-together of youth leaders who are working together to bring their youth groups closer with ecumenical activities such as retreats, mission and fellowship opportunities.

United has helped me value and expand my concept of community of faith; I've been encouraged to learn from other forms of ministry and denominations and to develop my own, which helps me transform and improve my ministry and my life as well with the sole purpose to seek the glory of God.

If you are considering United, you should take a time for prayer and meditation, and right before the Spirit guides you to make a decision, stop by for a friendly visit. If you want a guide, let me know and I will gladly show you around.

Elaine Stubblefield Spotlight

United M.Div. Student; Teacher at Heritage Hill Elementary School. Cincinnati, OH; Youth Coordinator at Zion Baptist Church, Cincinnati

Photograph of Elaine Stubblefield

I believe that God sent me to United to prepare for pastoral ministry. I chose United because of its scholarship, reputation, and at that time it afforded me the opportunity to matriculate to seminary while maintaining a full time career in education as well as serving in my local congregation. The evening classes and especially the June intensives have provided me with great learning and formation in my walk with Christ. I have enjoyed all of my classes at United and especially benefitted from relationships established in my Ministerial formation and Integration classes. One experience worth noting is when we formed groups and presented in my church renewal class. I had the opportunity to go deep into another culture, experience its story along with sharing its worship style and even food with the class. I have taken away much that I will use as a pastor.

As an educator and Youth Coordinator in my local church, I work very closely with young people of different cultures, languages, and faith backgrounds. What I have learned at United has directly impacted my ministry with youth. I serve to empower young people in Christ, by providing a discipleship, fellowship, and service model which enables them to walk out their faith for this present age. I also work with families; sharing my faith and assisting them with parenting skills and teaching families strategies that will equip them to live productive lives.

Finally, as I reflect on my learning, I realize that academic knowledge without spiritual growth is empty. I have grown in my faith while at United. Moreover, I have tested ideas, wrestled with doctrine, and am coming out with a more developed theology and a deeper commitment to the ministry for which God has called me. Although I see through the glass, darkly, I am more certain of who I am in Christ and what my mission is for such a time as this. I have developed a humble confidence and an assurance of God's presence and leadership. The race isn't over. Thank you United for all you have done with me. I am, yet I am becoming... To God be the glory!!

Brett Dearnell Spotlight

United 2nd Year M.Div. Student

Photograph of Brett Dearnell

I came to United Theological Seminary because of its interest in church renewal. I have seen United stand in the history of the Christian faith, building relationships with the present church, and looking to where the church can go. I appreciate this view for a seminary as they train the future leaders of the church. My favorite experiences at United have come when I have been challenged to identify what it is that I believe. Through classes like Integration I have learned to question and identify beliefs due to cultural context versus a truer understanding that has come through study and articulating my faith in a diverse group.

I am currently working as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at Shiloh United Methodist Church on the west side of Cincinnati, Ohio. As I have taken online classes, hybrid classes and traditional classes, my capabilities to lead youth and college-aged adults has grown. Through this growth I have been able to help all of the students, and myself, gain a deeper relationship with the Lord while becoming a better leader of the church.

One of the most important things I have learned from being a student at United is how to seek out how Christians are similar instead of the differences within denominations. This ecumenical view has helped me find professors and friends of many different denominations help shape my understanding of what it is to be a United Methodist pastor.

Rev. Dr. Kevass J. Harding, '06 Spotlight

Lead Pastor, Dellrose United Methodist Church, Wichita, KS

Photograph of Dr. Kevass

Getting my Doctor of Ministry at United helped prepare me to write my first book, Can These Bones Live: Bringing life to a Dying Church. My time at United taught me, in one word, perseverance! "The race is not given to the swift nor the strong but to those who endure to the end."

My fondest memory is graduating from United, actually receiving my degree while my family watched in support. I will never forget that day, December 15, 2006!

Current students, stay the course and keep your hand on the plow! And if you are an incoming student, there is light at the end of the tunnel! “The one who had prepared a good work in you shall bring it to completion!�

For those students thinking about joining; what are you waiting for?

Rev. Mary A. Kelly, '05 Spotlight


Photograph of Mary Kelly

My present appointment is as Lead Pastor of the Urban Ministry Team of Buffalo, New York. Our team oversees three congregations in the City of Buffalo: Central Park, University, and Cleveland Hill United Methodist Churches. We're in our second year of ministry to these diverse, active congregations. I am one of three clergy who share pastoral responsibilities among our charge; in addition, I handle the administrative work for all three churches. (My role as the Administrative Assistant at the former United/Buffalo program really honed my skills for this appointment!)

Just prior to graduation in the spring of 2005, my husband Jayme and I welcomed our son William, whom we adopted from Korea as an infant. So I became a mom and a full-time pastor at about the same time! At that time, I was already appointed to one of my current congregations; soon after it became two, and now three. I was ordained Elder in the former Western New York Conference in June 2009. Because I have a deeply- held passion for city ministry, I consider it a great privilege to have been appointed to my present charge. At United, I received a thorough education in Wesleyan Doctrine and Methodist History: a treasure-trove of social justice and holy living! I continue to be inspired by the lives of our Methodist mothers and fathers who chose the city as their mission field.

My most memorable moment at United happened early on in the first weeks of my schooling. Just days after 9/11 I was scheduled to preach for the very first time in front of our students and faculty. I was very nervous, imagining that everyone was expecting something terribly profound. Like all newly-minted preachers, I eventually came to the understanding that the Word of God was enough.

United's former program on the Buffalo campus produced an extraordinary crop of servant leaders in a relatively short period of time, and I am immensely proud to serve alongside many of our gifted alumni/ae. I made so many enduring friendships during my time at United, and I continue to call upon my former classmates to offer me wisdom and advice. United helped me to understand the great value of our Methodist “Connection.�

Having worked closely with President Edwards for a number of years, I can wholeheartedly say that the value of a sound theological education cannot be understated! United's programs helped me to discover “who I am� as a whole person: spiritually and intellectually, I was challenged at every turn to become more reflective, more thoughtful, and more spiritually informed.

I advise those thinking about joining United to get on with it! Although demanding, the rewards of a high-quality theological education such as United offers are unparalleled. As for those already enrolled, the best advice I can offer is to care for yourself while in the midst of this incredible process! Managing the demands of school, family, and church often take a physical toll (seminary weight gain, anyone?) and it's important to put the self-care guidelines you'll learn in class into daily practice as soon as possible. The Church needs healthy clergy if we are to meet the demands of our 21st Century world.

Pastor Dave Hood Spotlight

Rev. David Hood '08, Campus Pastor, Fort McKinley Church, Dayton, OH

Photograph of David Hood

I am currently appointed to Ginghamsburg UMC in Tipp City, OH, as the Campus Pastor of Fort McKinley Church, Ginghamsburg's urban branch on the corner of Salem and Siebenthaler avenues in Dayton. Fort McKinley was a dying church of about 40 faithful servants when Ginghamsburg merged with them to revitalize the church and community. Today, just a year and a half later, Fort McKinley worships over 400 in three services on a typical Sunday and is making a huge impact in the community.

My role is Campus Pastor, which includes all preaching, leadership, vision and development of the Fort McKinley campus. I also serve on the Senior Management Team at Ginghamsburg in order to maintain consistent DNA across campuses. Fort McKinley Church is focused on being a Neighborhood Congregation that becomes the empowering center of the community. One major initiative that has been developed is Project Neighborhood, a focused and sustained mission initiative in the 15 blocks directly behind Fort McKinley. Project Neighborhood includes everything from cleaning gutters, mowing lawns, and fixing leaky faucets to intentional relationship building with the residents of the neighborhood. I began to get this vision while I was still at United when I went on my transcultural trip to S.C.U.P.E. in Chicago and saw firsthand churches that were outward focused and making a transformational difference in their communities.

United has built into me a passion for excellence in leadership and a drive to be in the business of developing young talent for future ministry and mission. United also provided a safe space for me to learn and grow. It was a place of both support and challenge the entire time I was there. My fondest memory of United has to be Graduation Day. I had worked for 4 years for that day and to be able to graduate with my friends and colleagues is a memory I will never forget.

My advice to those thinking about seminary is found in my life verse, 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth� My advice to current or incoming students is to “do your best,� because what we do as servants of Jesus changes the world.