This video about AEHS, made in 2012, features its founding director, the Rev. Dr. Jo Bailey Wells, who now serves as chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The vision of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies (AEHS) is to help nurture and form the next generation of leaders in and for the church, enabling them to become so steeped in the classic tradition that they will be faithful, flexible, and imaginative as they apply it, even in confusing and turbulent times.
Anglican/Episcopal students who study at Duke Divinity School should expect to be nourished and stretched in many dimensions—academic rigor, ecclesial confession, radical service, and personal holiness. This reflects our Lord’s commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Although a significant stream of Anglican faculty and students has been present at Duke Divinity School for decades, the establishment of AEHS in 2006 reflects the recent growth in the number of Anglican/Episcopal students attending the school, as well as a wider ecumenical interest in the Anglican heritage and its contemporary expressions.
A House within a School
Those who participate in AEHS, who themselves form a diverse group, work out the meaning of their Anglican identity within a wider ecumenical perspective (a predominantly United Methodist seminary) and across a broader intellectual canvas (a divinity school situated at the heart of a leading university). Through the serious study of theology and the embodied practices of common worship—and in an environment of committed fellowship and engagement—they experience profound spiritual formation and transformation.
Formation within a Framework
The house oversees academic courses in varying disciplines relating to Anglican theology and practice. It fosters field education in relevant parish, social, and clinical locations and encourages reflection on the experience. Yet spiritual formation and transformation cannot be neatly packaged into only courses and credits. Thanks to the relative intimacy of AEHS (approximately 50 students in a range of master’s and doctoral programs), our events are often informal, sometimes spontaneous, and always relational. AEHS oversees spiritual formation through both individual and corporate commitments, with the aim of integrating the personal and professional, the academic and practical, the devotional and ecclesial.
Along with a commitment to daily morning prayer, these three elements of AEHS programming—academic, experiential, and formational—form the core requirements of the Certificate in Anglican Studies. For those students who are in the ordination process, these elements have proved ample for equipping students for the General Ordination Examinations and for ordained ministry.