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The Payne History

Payne Theological Seminary is one of the oldest Black seminaries primarily concerned with the training of men and women for the ministry. The purpose of Payne has always been: to prepare men and women of faith to be spiritual leaders, intellectual leaders, and agents of constructive social change in the church and world.  Its origin can be traced to the Ohio Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which met in Columbus Ohio on October 18, 1844.  There a committee was appointed and empowered to select a site and erect a Seminary and Manual Training School.  In 1871, the Board of Trustees of Wilberforce University voted and approved the organization of a seminary to be named for Bishop Daniel A. Payne, who had interested the African Methodist Episcopal Church in a program of higher education.

Payne Theological Seminary was incorporated in 1894 as an independent institution "for the purpose of promoting education, religion, and morality by the education of persons for the Christian ministry and missionaries for the redemption of Africa and other foreign lands."  In 1954, the Seminary took steps to raise its standards by promoting a program exclusively on a graduate level.  Payne Theological Seminary was admitted to membership in the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in 1956.  In 1995, it became the fourth historically African American theological seminary to become fully accredited by the ATS.  In 2009, the ATS Commission on Accrediting announced that Payne had been elevated to a ten-year accreditation cycle.  Payne’s next accreditation visit will be in 2018.

Location: Payne Theological Seminary is located at the corner of Wilberforce-Clifton Road and Coleman Road in Wilberforce, Ohio.  Wilberforce is approximately three miles northeast of Xenia, Ohio, and 18 miles east of Dayton, Ohio.  It is situated within driving distance of Dayton, Springfield, Cincinnati, and Columbus.