Nashotah House

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Nashotah House Theological Seminary
Established 1842
Type Private graduate institution
Dean Steven A. Peay
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 50 on campus/100 hybrid and graduate
Location Nashotah, Wisconsin, United States
Campus Rural
Nickname The House, The Mission, Black Monks
Affiliations Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS), Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU)
Foreground: Michael the Bell; Background: The Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin, Nashotah House
Foreground: The Red Chapel and the Blue House, Nashotah House

Nashotah House is an Anglo-Catholic seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin, approximately 30 miles (50 km) from Milwaukee, situated within the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee. The seminary opened its doors in 1842 and received its official charter in 1847. The institution is independent and generally regarded as one of the more theologically conservative seminaries in the Episcopal Church. It is also officially recognized by the Anglican Church in North America.

Degree and certificate programs

Nashotah House offers a variety of degree and certificate programs aimed at training clergy and lay leaders for ministries in the Anglican Communion:

It also offers a one-year certificate program in Anglican studies, geared toward students who have received an M.Div. from a non-Anglican institution and wish to be ordained within the Anglican tradition. The M.A. in Ministry degree may be earned through a combination of residential and online study. The M.Div., M.T.S., S.T.M., D.Min. and M.A. in Ministry degrees are accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS).[1]


Nashotah House was founded by three young deacons of the Episcopal Church; James Lloyd Breck, William Adams, and John Henry Hobart, Jr., who were all recent graduates of the General Theological Seminary in New York City, at the bidding of Bishop Jackson Kemper. Gustaf Unonius was the first graduate.

Nashotah House was, from the beginning, a center for High Church thought and discipline. Breck, the first dean, was highly committed to the principles of the Oxford Movement. Later, noted professors such as James DeKoven would bring Anglo-Catholic worship and practice to the seminary. This began with the daily celebration of the Eucharist as well as the use of vestments, candles, and incense.

Nashotah House considers itself to be within the orthodox Anglo-Catholic tradition. Overall, the faculty support traditional theology and conceptions of Christian doctrine in opposition to liberal theologies. Graduates themselves come from a variety of jurisdictions both inside and outside of the Episcopal Church. Nashotah House sees its mission to form priests and church leaders from all over the Anglican Communion.

On 3 April 2009, an historic building which was part of the Nashotah House seminary property was destroyed by fire.[2]

Main buildings

The property of the Nashotah House Theological Seminary covers 365 acres (148 ha) of land.[2]

The main buildings of the seminary include:

  • Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin
  • Sabine Hall (faculty offices, student housing)
  • James Lloyd Breck Refectory
  • Shelton Hall (student housing)
  • Lewis Hall (administration and faculty offices, the Saint Francis Oratory)
  • Kemper Hall (classrooms, student housing, gymnasium)
  • Webb Hall (faculty and guest housing, the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul)
  • Frances Donaldson Memorial Library
  • The Sprout House Daycare Center

There are also apartments for both single and married students, and several houses for the dean and other faculty, as well as maintenance facilities.

Construction has been completed on a substantial addition to the refectory. The newly dubbed Adams Hall includes a large meeting hall and additional classrooms.

Student life

Nashotah began as a community inspired by traditional monastic life of prayer, work and study. James Lloyd Breck's vision was to create a center for Christian formation in the (then) wilderness that would also be movement to propagate other communities for the purpose of evangelizing the frontier. Today, much of this vision remains intact and students still live a Benedictine cycle of prayer,work and study. The life of the Seminary seeks to form the character of priests and leaders into the image of Christ. Various students have been involved in mission work around the Anglican Communion as well.

"Seminarians are invited to participate in an ascetic, disciplined, prayerful season of spiritual growth in Christ" in which they "practice the Benedictine Rule of daily prayer, labor, and study."[3] All students have work crew assignments - cleaning bathrooms, mowing lawns, sweeping floors and taking other chores. Daily routine includes Morning Prayer, Mass, breakfast, classes, lunch, and Solemn Evensong. Always anticipated on the campus is the annual St. Laurence Cup, a flag football game played against students from Sacred Heart School of Theology and St. Francis Seminary (Wisconsin).[4] The formerly annual Lavabo Bowl game was played against Seabury-Western Theological Seminary which no longer matriculates students for the traditional Master of Divinity degree.[5]

Ambrose Institute

The goal of the Ambrose Institute, a ministry of Nashotah House, is to form lay and clergy partnerships for the purpose of returning to their parishes and congregations with a common theological language, a shared vision, and practical skills for promoting Gospel-centered, mission-driven ministry in and through God’s church.

Toward that end, clergy may enroll in the Ambrose Institute for ongoing education but must be accompanied by at least one lay leader from their church. Similarly, lay leaders may attend the institute as training for ministry but must be accompanied by at least one of the clergy from their own church. Each congregation may send more than one clergy or lay leader for participation in the institute as long as there is at least one lay and one clergy representative present.


In February 2014, Bishop Edward L. Salmon, Jr. invited Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, to preach at the school. The decision was condemned by the seminary's largely conservative supporters who cited Schori's tactics of suing parishes that left the ECUSA over doctrinal matters, as well as what they considered her heretical views. In response, two bishops who were members of the Nashotah House Board of Trustees resigned or distanced themselves from the school.[6]

Notable alumni

Notable faculty


  1. Nashotah House - Degree Programs
  2. 2.0 2.1 McCrady, Melissa and Sorgi, Jay (2009-04-03). Fire Destroys Historic Seminary Building. Retrieved on 2009-04-03 from
  3. A Holy Renaissance
  4. The Missioner, Advent 2009 "Sacred Heartbreaker: Anglicans Fall to Romans 14-6", p. 7.
  5. Seabury-Western Theological Seminary As of late 2008 the seminary no longer matriculate students for the traditional Master of Divinity degree.
  6. Mary Ann Mueller, "Katherine Jefferts Schori's Invitation to Nashotah House Stirs Hornet's Nest", VirtueOnline, February 22, 2014. Accessed February 26, 2014.

External links