Palmer On Mission: Nurturing Spiritual Growth and Community

In the first week of January 2024, on the heels of New Year’s celebrations, the U.S. cohorts of the Maestria en Estudios Teológicos (Master of Theological Studies) in Latino/a Ministries gathered for their residencies on the St. Davids campus. This degree program prepares students for pastoral ministry and church leadership; it is not only taught in the Spanish language but is contextualized to the needs of Latino/a communities. In addition to the U.S. cohorts, there are nine international cohorts.

The residency weeks offer not only academics but a space for students to build community through table fellowship, worship, and even sharing a King cake during this Epiphany season! Now in their second year of the program, students of the 2025 U.S. cohort described their experiences. “Amazing. I get to connect with God in an authentic way, and learn how to pursue God in daily life,” says Cheryl. Josué offers 3 words: “growth, wisdom, and transformation.” The experience of spiritual growth was a recurring theme among the students. “It has been edifying my relationship with God,” Carlos says with a grin. 

Many, like Pedro, are looking forward to serving as pastors and continuing to develop their preaching skills following graduation. Others see their theological education shaping their work beyond the clergy role. Cheryl wants to continue in the arts, and use drama and theater to share the Gospel. She adds that, “connecting with people’s hearts is an important part of ministry.” Victoria says, “Maybe I’ll join the mission of Palmer Seminary some day.”

Palmer’s mission, The Whole Gospel for the Whole World through Whole Persons, is evident in the life and work of these cohorts. Many shared that the online/remote format of the program made it possible for them to pursue theological study. Dr. Mayra Picos-Lee, Program Director asserts, “the combination of online with face-to-face residencies are both critical aspects to the formation of scholars, community leaders, and pastors, allowing students to complete their studies with the accompaniment of a community.”  She shares, “the residencies are a time for joy and celebration. We study, struggle, pray, sing and eat together while realizing God is always good and always providing.” Pedro put it simply, “I’ve made friendships for the rest of my life.”