Mission, Purpose, and History

Hood Theological Seminary seeks to prepare women and men for leadership in the Christian church, a church that finds itself in the midst of an increasingly diverse society. Founded and sponsored by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (A.M.E. Zion) Church, the Seminary has a special—but not exclusive—interest in training those who minister with and among historically marginalized communities, and those who work in a pastoral or secular capacity during their seminary education. The African American church’s historic insistence on recognizing the social, political, economic, and global implications of the gospel, the A.M.E. Zion identity as the “Freedom Church,” and the Methodist focus on scriptural holiness with personal and social responsibility shape the emphases in the theological curriculum.

While the Seminary thus affirms and celebrates its rich heritage, it also welcomes people of other races and denominational backgrounds into its community. United in the crucible that is seminary life, the diverse members of the Hood community gain a better understanding of their own unique contributions to the Body of Christ, learn to value the different contributions of others, and stand together as a witness to the righteousness of God. This formation of an interdependent community works together with the Seminary’s rigorous academic curriculum to promote the liberating, holistic transformation of self and society under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Hood Theological Seminary is a graduate and professional school sponsored by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (A.M.E. Zion) and dedicated to the education and preparation of men and women for leadership in the various ministries and vocations of the Christian church.

The Seminary bears the name of a renowned bishop of the denomination, James Walker Hood, who inspired others in the denomination to join with him in creating an institution for the training of Negro youths for the Christian ministry. In 1879 those pioneers created the Zion Wesley Institute in Concord, NC. Three years later, by invitation of the citizens of Salisbury, they relocated the Institute to this city. Under the leadership of its first president, Dr. Joseph Charles Price, the Institute was chartered by the State of North Carolina in 1887 and renamed Livingstone College in honor of Scottish physician and explorer of central and southern Africa, Dr. David Livingstone.

Hood obtained independence from Livingstone College in 2001 and became a free-standing seminary with its own Board of Trustees. Dean Albert J. D. Aymer was appointed and inaugurated as its first President.

In 2002, the A.M.E. Zion Church purchased property to house the new seminary campus designed to accommodate the growth of the Seminary, and in the fall of 2005, Hood Theological Seminary officially relocated to the present site. With the new campus and strong support from church, alumni and community, Hood Theological Seminary is poised for a bright second century providing theological preparation for effective ministry in a diverse society.

For a comprehensive biography of James Walker Hood, refer to the NCpedia article by John L. Bell, Jr.