Started UPSem 2016: Rev. Eric Tang (MDiv 2021)

  1. Started UPSem 2002: Rev. Lori Raible (MDiv 2006)
  2. Started UPSem 2003: Rev. Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown (MDiv 2008)
  3. Started UPSem 2004: Rev. Nadine Ellsworth-Moran (MDiv / MACE 2011)
  4. Started UPSem 2005: Rev. Noe Juarez-Loayza (MDiv 2010)
  5. Started UPSem 2006: Rev. Lorenzo Small (MDiv 2013)
  6. Started UPSem 2007: Rev. Ken Fuquay (MACE 2011 / MDiv 2015)
  7. Started UPSem 2008: Rev. Jonathan Davis (MDiv 2014) 
  8. Started UPSem 2009: Rev. British Hyrams (MDiv/MACE 2016)
  9. Started UPSem 2010: Rev. Charmaine Smith (MDiv 2017)
  10. Started UPSem 2011: Rev. Vikki Brogdon (MDiv 2016)
  11. Started UPSem 2012: Rev. Dr. Doug Harr (MDiv 2018)
  12. Started UPSem 2013: Martin Pruitt (MDiv 2018 / MACE 2019)
  13. Started UPSem 2014: Rev. William Joseph “Joey” Haynes III (MDiv 2019)
  14. Started UPSem 2015: Rev. Gail Henderson-Belsito (MDiv 2020)
  15. Started UPSem 2016: Rev. Eric Tang (MDiv 2021)
  16. Started UPSem 2017: Rev. Marina Luckhoo (pursuing MDiv)
  17. Started UPSem 2018: Jason Smith
  18. Started UPSem 2019: Ryan Atkinson
  19. Started UPSem 2020: Sedae Slaughter (pursuing MACE)
  20. Started UPSem 2021: Matt Wiedle (pursuing MDiv and MACE)

The following is part of a series of 20 profiles that represent each year that Charlotte has been enrolling students. 

Shiloh and Mount Pleasant United Methodist Churches Personal Financial Representative
Kernersville, North Carolina

Born in Singapore to Malaysian parents, Rev. Eric Tang (MDiv 2021) spent most of his childhood in Kuala Lumpur, only returning to Singapore for high school. Tang came to the United States to attend college and graduated from Louisburg College, North Carolina State University, and Campbell University.

Already a Licensed Local Pastor in The United Methodist Church upon enrolling at Union Presbyterian Seminary Charlotte, Tang’s work in the church as a part-time pastor is what compelled him to seek a second master’s degree. “As a local pastor, I was able to offer encouraging messages and build enthusiasm in my congregations, but I discerned I needed a richer and firmer foundation. Without any formal theological education, I felt like I was just at the tip of the iceberg. Further studies would allow me to go deeper in my messages and thereby develop my mind in the resources of Scripture and get better equipped as a leader. This training is especially important considering today’s lightning-fast changing world. With a theological education, I hoped I would be able to ‘read’ the situations of today more clearly and faithfully.”

Tang’s choice to study to be a more effective pastor was not a difficult one to make. For Tang, the choice centered on what kind of studying he should do and where. Through encouragement by the seminary admissions office and that of another United Methodist pastor, he settled on UPSem Charlotte as the best fit for him, especially as a seminarian who needed to work while studying without having to relocate. “The program is set up extremely well to cater to bi-vocational pastors. Driving distance was reasonable, and the campus is beautiful.” Once enrolled, Tang discovered that not only was the campus beautiful but so was the experience. He recalls, “The cohort model for learning is ideal. We have built amazing friendships. The level of knowledge and expertise of the faculty is also fabulous. And the staff, wow, what a great team!”

After graduation, Tang has continued his bi-vocational work in insurance and financial services, living in Kernersville with his wife and their dog. Their three adult children live close by.