The Baptist Commons

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Recognizing the School of Divinity’s role as a vital institution in fostering excellence in leadership among diverse communities of Baptists committed to justice, reconciliation, and compassion, the Baptist Commons forms students, engages alumni, and cultivates relationships with supporters to deepen the distinct Baptist heritage of our ecumenical learning community.

With the retirement of Dr. Bill Leonard, Wake Forest University School of Divinity is marking a transition from the particular Baptist heritage that shaped its founding. Amidst the school’s broad, ecumenical future, its Baptist heritage holds value for students, alumni, and the institution itself. School of Divinity graduates have thrived within Baptist life, where alumni have served in significant positions of leadership in local churches and in larger denominational bodies. School of Divinity graduates have been among the strongest voices for progressive change and inclusion within their Baptist denominational bodies, and the school has been noted for its influence in shaping such a perspective. This success is not only a point of pride for students and graduates, but also a mark of the success of the School in assisting students with meaningful opportunities post-seminary. Though the School of Divinity is not a Baptist institution, it is an important link to the University’s Baptist roots and religious origins. The maintenance of this sense of a Baptist heritage at an ecumenical seminary is important to continuing in shaping a hopeful future. 

Baptists committed to justice, reconciliation, and compassion.


The Baptist Commons provides:

  • Networking – assisting Baptist students with network development and placement post-graduation, helping students to find meaningful and realistic/strategic placements of employment while supporting their long-term ministry goals. Helping the school to build its network for purposes of student and donor recruitment.
  • Community Building – meeting monthly with Baptist students for dinner and/or hosted conversations on issues particular to Baptist life with invited guests.
  • Vocational Formation – providing opportunities for mentoring and internship at our respective churches, while assisting the Office of the Art of Ministry in internship and vocational programming for Baptist students, including an intern cohort for Baptist students.
  • Education and Enrichment – coordinating periodic events or classes each year within the scope of Baptist Studies. Options could include weekend travel courses, as well as on-campus courses over the span of a weekend. Developing a Baptist Studies Certificate conferred on graduates that have completed elective coursework in Baptist Studies.


  • Alumni Relations – maintaining a healthy alumni network for Baptist Students, including hosting the annual Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) reception event and developing comparable gatherings at other annual denominational meetings. Assisting in the coordination of annual Alumni events including the potential of a gathering or lecture series targeting Baptist students and alumni.
  • Peer Learning and Practical Support – cultivating communities of practice among peers in ministry and connecting them with mentors and other practitioners in the field for practical and spiritual support.
  • Advancement – Under the direction of the Office for Advancement, assisting in the recruitment and cultivation of donors within our Baptist network that are interested in the distinctives of the School of Divinity.

Two School of Divinity alumni who serve as pastors of established Triad churches serve as Co-Coordinators of the Baptist Commons, drawing on the valuable Baptist heritage of the school amidst its ecumenical future:

Rev. Emily Hull McGee (MDiv '09), Pastor at First Baptist on Fifth, Winston-Salem NC
Rev. Emily Hull McGee (MDiv '09), Pastor at First Baptist on Fifth, Winston-Salem NC
Rev. Alan Sherouse (MDiv '05), Pastor at First Baptist Church of Greensboro, Greensboro NC
Rev. Alan Sherouse (MDiv '05), Pastor at First Baptist Church of Greensboro, Greensboro NC

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Upcoming Events Hosted by the Baptist Commons:

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