Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

10/2 2020

Inside the PTS Curriculum: History of The United Methodist Church

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The “Inside the PTS Curriculum” series gives you an inside look at what students are learning in their courses at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Each article focuses on one class, its subject matter, what students can expect to learn, the required texts, and the kinds of assignments students can expect. We’ll let you know whether the course is required or available for the Master of Divinity (MDiv), the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theological Studies (MTS). Each article will include the professor’s bio.

This week’s course is: “History of The United Methodist Church.”

David Morse PTS


About History of the United Methodist Church

During this term, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary students will be learning about The United Methodist tradition with Dr. David Morse in the class “History of The United Methodist Church.” This course is open for students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), or Master of Theology (MTS) degree program. It is being offered in partnership with Wesley Theological Seminary.

This course will introduce students to the narratives that form personal and corporate identity for United Methodists today, including founders’ stories, phases of the denomination, and major developments. Some of these stories may run counter to present perceptions of the denomination. Students should note that this course fulfills the UM History requirement for election to probationary membership and commissioning in the United Methodist Church as specified in The Book of Discipline 2016. In addition to United Methodism, students will also learn about other Christian traditions that trace their heritage to John Wesley.

Students will participate through assigned readings, class attendance, and two examinations. The required texts for the course include Wesley and the People Called Methodists by Richard P. Heitzenrater and American Methodism: A Compact History by Russell E. Ritchey, Kenneth E. Rowe, and Jean Miller Schmidt.


About the Instructor

Dr. David Morse is adjunct professor of Methodist Studies at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. After studying at Houghton College, he received a B.D. from Harvard University, a D.Min. from United Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Duquesne University. He has served as a pastor for several United Methodist congregations in Pennsylvania, including 11 years as senior pastor of Monroeville United Methodist Church.

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