Graduate certificates offer flexible learning at a distance

Focus on Education

October 12, 2022 | Focus On Education | Volume 26 Issue 21
Annette Brill Bergstresser | Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Elkhart, Ind.
Adela Friesen Wedler

Adela Friesen Wedler of Edmonton had recently retired from teaching when an ad in the church news caught her eye.

“The ad said that students could take two courses at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) before applying for admission to a program,” she said. “Having recently retired, this intrigued me.”

Wedler noted that she had always been interested in Christian theology, Christian and specifically Anabaptist history, and Christian worship, and that she had studied on her own through working with the church, reading and attending workshops. So she seized the opportunity to try out an online course in fall 2019 through AMBS.

The next year, she was admitted into the seminary’s graduate certificate in theological studies program, and she graduated in April 2022. She’s now applying what she learned by continuing to volunteer in her home congregation, First Mennonite Church of Edmonton, and in area churches.

Wedler said she planned to take most of her seminary courses online and to come to campus for a semester or short-term course but, due to COVID-19, she had to do all of her coursework online.

“It was so interesting getting to know others from around the world as we studied and discussed together,” she said. “The courses reinforced what I knew but, more importantly, they led me to look at things in a new way, and made me realize how much more there was to learn.”

Wedler sees the program as good for people like her, who are, or want to be, involved in lay leadership in their congregations.

“The program is a great way of exploring one’s own passions or interests, as it is self-directed,” she said. “It’s a great way to test out what the future may hold, or a good stepping stone for those who are considering ministry.”

As Wedler noted, students may take up to two courses for credit at AMBS without having been admitted to a degree or certificate program. Non-admitted students get 50 percent off tuition for their first three credit hours. Students in master’s-level programs at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg or Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont., receive 50 percent off tuition for all AMBS courses.

Learn more or apply online at

Adela Friesen Wedler

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