Eastern Mennonite Seminary has been approved by the church's University Senate for the training of candidates for ordination. In 2018 this quadrennial approval was renewed. A significant number of United Methodist students are enrolled at EMS and are candidates pursuing ordination as elders and deacons.
The United Methodist Church maintains close contact with its students at EMS through classes in United Methodist studies and by frequent on-campus visits from United Methodist representatives such as the Harrisonburg District Superintendent, leaders from the Center for Clergy Excellence of the Virginia United Methodist Conference, and leaders from the West Virginia and other conferences.
EMS has established a partnership with Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC, in order to adequately provide needed United Methodist courses to EMS students, on the EMS campus or online. Wesley also provides a local part-time United Methodist adviser who has an office in the seminary building. This liaison assist students to track degree requirements as laid out by sending United Methodist conferences and the Offices of Ministerial Services.
The Wesley Seminary liaison, oversees or implements such activities as:
- Teaching or arranging for provision of UMC classes required by the United Methodist Senate;
- Relating to and mentoring UMC students;
- Contributing to a thriving UM ethos at EMS including appreciation for the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church;
- Consulting with EMS faculty and staff on issues relating to UMC students;
- Consulting with other Wesley or EMS faculty who teach UM courses.