Perkins School of Theology Announces Dr. Paul Barton as Director of Mexican American and Hispanic-Latino/a Church Ministries Program and Regional Course of Study School

DALLAS (SMU) – Perkins School of Theology/Southern Methodist University has named Dr. Paul Barton as director of the Mexican American and Hispanic-Latino/a Church Ministries Program. In addition, Dr. Barton will be nominated to serve as director of the Regional Course of Study School, under the auspices of The United Methodist Church. Both appointments will be effective July 1. As an aspect of being director of the two programs, he will also have the title of Professor of Christian History and Missiology.

    Dr. Paul Barton


Dr. Barton, associate professor in the history of American Christianity and Missiology and director of Hispanic Church Studies at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin since 1999, is a noted expert in the history of Hispanic Protestantism in the southwestern United States. A scholar and teacher, he has authored numerous works, including the book “Hispanic Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists in Texas,” several theological commentaries and articles, and is currently working on a new history of the Rio Grande Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church under the auspices of the denomination’s General Commission on Archives and History.

He serves as vice-president of the Asociación para la Educación Teológica Hispana, which promotes theological education for the Hispanic community, and has been co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Evangelical Studies Group since 2012. An ordained United Methodist minister and clergy member of the Rio Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, Dr. Barton has also served as pastor of four Latino/a congregations and as a campus minister.

He has close ties with Perkins School of Theology, earning the M.Div. degree from Perkins in 1988, and the Ph.D. degree in 1999 through the Graduate Program in Religious Studies, a cooperative effort of Perkins and SMU’s Dedman College. Dr. Barton has previously taught in both the English and Spanish language Course of Study Schools at Perkins. In addition, his late parents—Dr. Roy Barton, director of the Mexican American Program and the Spanish-language Regional Course of Study School from 1974-1995, and Rosa Marina Barton, an employee of the Intern Program and Course of Study School from 1974-1990—were longtime members of the Perkins community.

Dr. Barton was selected through a national search process, chaired by Perkins Professor Hugo Magallanes. Among the members of the Search Committee was United Methodist Bishop Michael McKee, who is a member of the Southern Methodist University Board of Trustees and who chairs the Perkins Executive Board. Dr. Barton succeeds Dr. Philip Wingeier-Rayo, who has accepted an appointment to the faculty of another theological school.

“Paul Barton is known throughout the denomination for his expertise in Hispanic and Latino/a Christianity,” said Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence, “and I am confident that he will make an outstanding contribution to the mission of Perkins School of Theology as director of two programs that are crucial for effective theological education and ministry in this region of the United States and beyond.”

The Perkins School of Theology Mexican-American and Hispanic Latino/a Church Ministries Program, founded in 1974, prepares church leaders for effective ministry in Spanish-speaking contexts and cultures. In addition, the program recruits, prepares, and provides continuing education for people in ministry with Hispanics-Latinos/as. The Regional Course of Study School—offered in both English and Spanish tracks—is a program of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church. The five-year curriculum of the Basic Course of Study provides theological education for all licensed local pastors not enrolled in a seminary degree program.


Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, and Doctor of Ministry, as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.