Merry Lea Sustainability Leadership Semester

Environmental Sustainability Leadership concentration

For: Students in the Master of Arts: Theology and Peace Studies (MATPS) program and the Master of Divinity (MDiv) Theological Studies: Peace Studies major

Group of students studying

Residency program: Fifteen week-residency at Goshen (Indiana) College’s Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center in Wolf Lake, Indiana, living in intentional community with a mix of graduate and undergraduate students.

For more details, read an overview of the program on Goshen College’s website and an article in the GC student newspaper.

Purpose: To build leadership skills in community development around environmental sustainability that is grounded in practical experience, utilizing theological frameworks for interpreting appropriate sustainable responses

Coursework: Three four-credit hour courses over 15 weeks taught by Merry Lea professors and staff, including:

  • Empowering Sustainable Communities
  • Integrated Social and Ecological Systems
  • Leadership Experience in Sustainability

MATPS students participate in the Sustainability Leadership Semester in their third semester of study (or equivalent). Following their semester at Merry Lea, they’ll complete the MATPS Integrative Seminar on the AMBS campus, using connections cultivated during the Merry Lea experience.

MDiv students participate in the Sustainability Leadership Semester during their third year of study (or equivalent). They also take Ministry in Church and World and complete the Supervised Ministry Experience to meet MDiv program requirements.

“I think the SLS can be a great experience for pastors. It would especially benefit seminarians who are interested in leadership roles in other contexts because it provides a framework for working on complex problems in the public square.” —Luke Gascho, former Executive Director, Merry Lea

Housing and meals

AMBS students live at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center the entire semester. There is not sufficient room for families to live on site with students. Students share eating and cooking arrangements, plan weekly menus and shop together.

Although tuition costs will not be different during this semester, room and board fees will be charged at the normal Merry Lea/Goshen College rate, which is typically higher than the AMBS student apartment rate.

Registration and tuition

AMBS students register for this semester through the normal registration process after consulting with their advisor and pay AMBS tuition rates and fees.


AMBS students complete an application process for consideration by the Merry Lea program. Directions for completing this process are available through the AMBS Registrar.