Native Ministries Program

Master of Divinity Degree by Extension

The Native Ministries M.Div. by Extension Program is the only degree program for persons engaged in ministry in First Nations communities that is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in Canada and the United States. At the present time, the program includes students from the Anglican, Presbyterian, and United churches in Canada and from several denominations in the United States.

Partnership with First Nations Peoples and the Churches

This innovative degree program was developed in partnership with First Nations people. The primary location and context for learning is the community in which the student lives and serves. This context is crucial for the student’s effective engagement with the social, cultural, political, and religious values of First Nations communities. Denominational authorities are also indispensable partners. They nominate candidates and provide the necessary infrastructure for the delivery of the degree program. This infrastructure includes the identification of tutors, the allocation of suitable meeting places for course and seminar sessions and the arrangements of a suitable ministry location for the student. Certain tutor and student costs are also borne by the sponsoring denomination. The guidelines and standards for this infrastructure are established by the School.

Throughout their enrolment in the degree program, students normally continue to exercise some congregational ministry. In this fashion, students need not leave their cultural context, and their communities are not deprived of individuals who are already providing congregational leadership.

Length of Program

It takes between five and six years to complete the Native Ministries Master of Divinity by Extension program. Students are also expected to attend the Native Ministries Consortium Summer School. Once a student has completed the foundational course of the program, they will be evaluated and the remaining curriculare requirements determined.


VST’s Native Ministries Program Committee, which includes members appointed by the Native Ministries Consortium, has primary responsibility for the M.Div. by Extension program.

Native Ministries

The Extension curriculum encourages its students to reflect on the cultural vessel in which the Gospel came to their people and how the Gospel applies in their own culture. Students are asked to reflect theologically on the nature and calling of the Church and the understanding and significance of the Gospel to their own tradition and to the history of their people. This reflection takes place in a curriculum which uses a variety of educational media and approaches, including:

• audio-visual materials
• texts
• lectures
• self-directed projects
• tutor-assisted studies
• seminars

This course of study takes place in the student’s own community, in tutorials and seminars conducted by tutors and the School’s permanent faculty at regional sites, and in courses taught in the annual Native Ministries Consortium Summer School.

More information on the NMC Summer School is available on our Native Ministries Consortium Summer School page.

The School’s permanent faculty offer instructional resources that provide tools for historical research, biblical interpretation, theological reflection and social analysis. With these tools, students rooted and living in their own communities, apply their knowledge and skills to ministry amongst Native people.

A complete description of the program is available through the Native Ministries Program Office. To contact the Native Ministries Program office, use the online Request for Program Information form or contact us by phone at 604-822-9480 or By Email.

The Rev. Dr. Paula Sampson, Director
Email Paula

NMP Office
Email the NMP Office

Return to the Native Ministries page