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Church Relations

A covenant is a traditional agreement made and honored by people of faith, affirming a shared purpose. It affirms mutual trust and concern, in the expectation that each party will remain steadfast in support of these common beliefs and values.

Schreiner University embodies the conviction that God is glorified in a humanity that is fully alive. We affirm the whole of life as the appropriate subject matter of learning. In company with over sixty Presbyterian-related colleges and universities in America, Schreiner conceives its educational purpose to be an expression of the commitment to love God with all our mind.

Founded in 1923 as Schreiner Institute through the united efforts of Capt. Charles Schreiner and the Presbyterian Church, the University has remained affiliated by choice and by covenant with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) even as its educational role has changed over time. Schreiner University is now a primarily residential liberal arts university that carries out its educational purpose in the conviction that the pursuit of knowledge is integral to the Christian mission of worship and service. The pursuit is undertaken in the context of thoughtful interactions among a diverse community of faculty, staff and students, a process that empowers students to discover and assimilate knowledge in personalized learning experiences. Schreiner University is committed to “learning by heart.”

Commitments of the Covenant Partners
This covenant is between Synod of the Sun, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and Schreiner University. It is a reaffirmation of our historical commitment to quality education that addresses the spiritual as well as intellectual needs of persons as they prepare to become caring citizens in a complex world. Both the Synod of the Sun and Schreiner University recognize this covenant as the official agreement describing our primary relationship.

By this Covenant:
1. Schreiner University affirms itself as integral to the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
2. Schreiner University is committed to the student as a person; accordingly, the University will incorporate ethical character formation as an essential part of the educational experience, and will work with each student to achieve his or her educational potential, by nurturing their intellectual, spiritual, physical and social development.
3. Schreiner University will carry out its educational mission in freedom and integrity, confident as a community of learners that no truth is alien to the truth of God.
4. Schreiner University will offer programs of study in the liberal arts, professional fields and selected graduate disciplines as well as addressing the educational needs of the region.
5. Schreiner University seeks to affirm the values of inclusiveness and diversity in its faculty, staff, student body and trustees.
6. Schreiner University will foster, where feasible, programs that provide leadership for the church and will, when possible, make its facilities available to church-sponsored groups.
7. Schreiner University will provide visible evidence of this covenant relationship with the Synod of the Sun, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), including, but not limited to, the following:
a. An ecumenical campus ministry program directed by a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) campus minister
b. Consistent representation of campus ministry and church relations at all Board of Trustees meetings
c. A director of church relations
d. A director of church vocations
e. The Presbyterian Heritage Grant program
f. The Presbyterian Pan American School Agreement (PASA) program
g. The study of religion and a religion major as components of a liberal arts education
h. Encouraging students to be involved in regular worship, positive co-curricular life, and service to the community

By this Covenant:
1. The Synod of the Sun affirms Schreiner University as integral to the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
2. The Synod encourages its congregations and members to pray for the students, faculty, staff and trustees of the University
3. The Synod will interpret to its constituents the significant role of Schreiner University in the church’s mission in higher education. The Synod will encourage its constituents to support actively student recruitment and the giving of regular and special benevolent gifts, grants and bequests to Schreiner University.
4. The Synod will encourage Presbyterian congregations to participate in Schreiner University’s Presbyterian Heritage Grant program and Pan American Schreiner Agreement, which benefit students attending the University. The Synod will also support Schreiner University through its annual budget.
5. The Synod will encourage Schreiner University to make regular reports at Synod meetings, through Synod publications and directly to presbyteries, congregations and individual church members within the Synod.
6. The Synod will encourage the use of the Schreiner University campus and resources for Synod and presbytery events.
7. The Synod will provide support for students and staff, whenever possible, to attend regional and national Presbyterian-related events.

Symbols of this Covenant
The Synod entrusts to the Board of Trustees of Schreiner University the responsibility of acting in historical continuity with the expressed purpose of the founders and according to their bylaws.

A. The Board of Trustees of Schreiner University will provide that a majority of the board at any given time be members in good standing of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
B. A representative of the Synod will attend at least one regular stated meeting of the Schreiner University Board of Trustees each year and act as informational liaison between the University and the Synod.
C. At least annually, a Synod representative will meet with the director of church relations and/or the campus minister to review and reflect upon the efficacy of the covenant.
D. The Synod will appoint a visiting team no less often than every five years and commission this team to visit Schreiner University to examine the covenant relationship, to evaluate the practice by both the University and the Synod of their covenant obligations and to make suggestions concerning the reformation of the covenant relationship.


What it Means ...


In February 2013, the Presbyterian College Chaplains Association was invited to contribute to the discussion of what it means to be Presbyterian-related. The chaplains responded with the following statement and explanation of what it means:

Because we are Presbyterian-related, our institutions value learning, faith, service, and connection to each other, the Church, and the world, honoring the dignity and worth of every person.

Because our Presbyterian heritage has always valued learning and the pursuit of truth and knowledge, we support education for all people regardless of faith tradition for the uplifting of society.

“Learning, faith, and service”
This order is important. We are schools, not churches, and our primary mission is education. Learning comes first. Nevertheless, as church-related institutions we are concerned to educate whole people for the whole world. We strive to graduate students who are not only academically well-prepared but also spiritually and socially mature participants in the religious and civic communities of which they are a part.

Although the term “civic engagement” is widely-used on our campuses, we decided that it is not a common term in the life of the Church. We believe “service” communicates this value more clearly to our church partners.

We value our relationships with the Presbyterian Church and with other schools who share a similar relationship. We are not, and do not wish to be, identical institutions. Yet we appreciate our common connections and commitments. We benefit from our mutual relationship, we are all grateful for the historic and ongoing support of the Presbyterian Church, and we are committed to maintaining that relationship.

Our connection to the world is both social and environmental. We seek to serve the whole world through our service to each student. We understand ourselves to be part of a global community of teaching, learning, and inquiry. We also work to exhibit, embody, and encourage environmental responsibility on our campuses and beyond. As was stated above, we strive to educate whole people for the whole world.

Our efforts to live out our commitment to learning, faith, service, and connection take place in the context of our ongoing and pervasive commitment to honor the dignity and worth of all people. Our schools are resources and instruments through which the Presbyterian Church (USA) serves the world as we serve each of our students in all their magnificent variety and particularity.

College presidents attending the 2013 meeting of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities unanimously affirmed this statement.