About
Earlham School of Religion

Rooted in the Christian Quaker tradition of contemplation that inspires action, ESR prepares theologically diverse students for a pluralistic world.

Shining God’s light in service of others

Earlham School of Religion’s curriculum unites spiritual formation, academic study, social engagement and vital ministry.

In our classrooms, you will find faculty who take seriously the idea of a community of learners and students who bring with them a wealth of wisdom and experience. As an ESR student, you will be challenged to reevaluate basic assumptions, articulate a theological stance and live into a unique and creative ministry that truly impacts the world.

Our Mission

Rooted in the Christian Quaker tradition of contemplation that inspires action, Earlham School of Religion prepares theologically diverse students for a pluralistic world. Our curriculum unites spiritual formation, academic study, social engagement and vital ministry.

Answering the call to ministry

Preparation for ministry is the product of a holistic education that challenges the intellect and deepens the Spirit. We strive to provide an environment where both can flourish.

Large group of religious life students gathered around

Leadership and governance

Our approach to business and decision-making draws deeply upon our Quaker heritage. Faculty, staff and students participate jointly in shaping learning and community at ESR.

Alumni lives and outcomes

Whether they’re working as ministers or teachers, entrepreneurs or social workers, our alumni are finding creative ways to serve and minister in today’s world.

Our history

Earlham School of Religion was accredited in 1969 by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and by the North Central Association through affiliation with Earlham College.

Earlham School of Religion was opened on an experimental basis by Earlham College in the autumn of 1960. An M.A. in Religion was offered for the first two years. Then, the Board of Trustees authorized the expansion of the program to include a three-year Bachelor of Divinity degree. The B. Div. is now called either the Master of Ministry degree, a name many Quakers prefer, or the Master of Divinity degree, preferred by some who wish the name to correspond to that of other seminaries.

The founding and advancement of ESR fulfills a longtime dream of many Friends, who saw the need for a seminary based on Quaker values and practices.

Lauramoore House

Lauramoore Guest House & Retreat Center is a beautifully preserved 14-room Italiante-style home built in 1860. Located less than a mile from the ESR campus–about a 15 minute walk–it offers convenient accommodations for visiting students, Board members and other guests of ESR, Bethany and Earlham College. Originally a private residence, then for many years a nonprofit retirement home, in 2010 Lauramoore Friends Home, Inc. gifted the property to Earlham School of Religion.

What kind of student enrolls at Earlham School of Religion?

An ESR education will provide you with the tools to discern and create your own path to ministry. You don’t need to be clear on your theology or know where a seminary education will lead you to enroll as a student at ESR. You only need to have the desire to change the world through the unique form of ministry you’ve been created to provide.

We invite you to explore our programs, learn more about theological education in the manner of Friends, and see why ESR has been selected a Seminary that Changes the World. We also invite you to learn more about our sister seminary, Bethany Seminary, another historic peace church seminary (Church of the Brethren), which shares a campus with ESR. Students benefit from shared courses with Bethany professors and students, as well as a variety of joint community activities.

Together, ESR faculty and students engage in intense and thoughtful academic study. We seek a deeper connection with spirit. And we use the fruits of discernment–a value at the heart of Friends’ principles–to experiment with new, vital forms of ministry.

ESR faculty, administrators, staff, students, alumni and friends are at the forefront of scholarship, leadership and renewal among Friends, and throughout the ecumenical world. ESR’s curricula and events contribute to sharpening our community’s ability to discern God’s word and share it with the broader world.

In addition to welcoming students from a variety of diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds, ESR affirms its commitment to equality of opportunity for all individuals who desire the type of theological education offered within the context of the School’s mission statement—including on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

Our location

Located on the 800-acre campus of Earlham College, ESR is nestled in the small city of Richmond, in Wayne County, Indiana. Richmond and ESR share a mutually beneficial connection, and our location allows for the best of both worlds—big city amenities aren’t far away, and outdoor activities abound.

Next steps

Ministry isn’t just a vocation or a calling—it’s a way of being in this world, seeking to make it whole. Earlham School of Religion is ready to support you in answering your own call to ministry, whatever shape it takes.