Announcing Seminaries that Change the World: Class of 2015
Institutions of distinction, inspiration, engagement and collaboration
The Center for Faith and Service based out of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago is pleased to announce the 2015 list of Seminaries that Change the World. This year, twenty-six institutions were named. This group of institutions is theologically, politically and geographically diverse, yet shares a common commitment to work together to strengthen and advance theological education. In a time when religious leadership is essential, the role of these seminaries and divinity schools becomes increasingly important. Collectively, we are looking for those individuals who want to change the world and who see that the connection between faith and service is critical. We believe that theological education offers powerful preparation for local and global leadership roles in all areas of society.
The selected seminaries and divinity schools have demonstrated great innovation in theological education, in integration with classical approaches for learning, even as they navigate negative stereotypes about organized religion and work to expand narrow definitions of traditional ministry. Seminaries that Change the World is part of a movement to reclaim the important historic role that theological education has played in promoting community and justice while training and launching local and world leaders in all areas of society.
The very title, Seminaries that Change the World, is a provocative reminder of what theological education has meant in the past and what its purpose and promise is for the future,” said Rev. Wayne Meisel. The 2015 class of schools has demonstrated a commitment to invite, welcome, support, train and launch individuals into the world as community leaders.
Meisel, an ordained Presbyterian Minister, has a long and distinguished career in the world of community service, service learning and civic engagement. He was appointed to serve on the President’s Commission on National and Community Service, where he is credited for being one of the architects of the AmeriCorps Program. He also served as a founding board member for Teach for America and is the Founding President of the Bonner Foundation. Currently, he directs the Center for Faith and Service, which develops innovative programming for churches and denominations and seeks renewal of theological education through the reintegration of faith and service.
Seminaries that Change the World is by no means an exhaustive or exclusive list. It represents a collection of institutions that came forward on their own initiative and who have demonstrated that they welcome idealistic and committed individuals who have demonstrated their engagement in the world or who seek to gain experience in justice work.
The Wake Forest University School of Divinity is a growing, dynamic and ecumenical theological institution that prepares men and women to be religious leaders in a changing world. The School currently offers the Master of Divinity degree and several dual degrees in law, bioethics, counseling, education, and sustainability offered jointly with other schools of the University. Through imaginative courses and diverse programs of community engagement, students are equipped to be agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion in Christian churches and other ministries. The School also offers continuing education opportunities through its Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative and Faith-Based Nonprofit Leadership Program.
The Selection Process
A year ago, when Seminaries that Change the World was launched, a link was prominently featured on the front page that described how a school could be considered for the class of 2015. In 2014, institutions were selected based on our familiarity with the school and the confidence we had built regarding each school’s commitment to community engagement. This year, interested schools were instructed to fill out an application to demonstrate a commitment to engage in the world. Applications required signatures from faculty, administrators and at least three students.
Applications were reviewed by Center for Faith and Service staff. In some cases, additional information was requested. The final step in the process was an official commitment by the president or dean of the institution to be part of a consortium of seminaries and divinity schools that would work together to recruit, train and launch a generation of world-changing leaders. There are no dues; the price of admission is participation. Through Seminaries that Change the World, we seek to convene the “community of the willing” to work together in our common cause to strengthen theological education so that it might transform faithful individuals to lead in the world.
The 2015 class of Seminaries that Change the World includes:
Center for Faith and Service Contact:
Wayne Meisel – firstname.lastname@example.org; 609.651.5095
School of Divinity Media Contact:
Mark Batten – email@example.com; 336.758.3959