The CURE for Your Vocation

Follow current students and alums on the McCormick blog, The "Cure" for Your Vocation.

We have fun, too.

We're not all reading, writing, and study. We have fun, too! 

Young Adult Conferences

The Common Ground Project is committed to fostering, building
and strengthening the next generation of Native American, African
American, Latin@ and Asian American church leaders for communities.

Register now for the August Spoken Word conference!

Come together with a group of African American, Asian American, and Latin@ Christian young adults (ages 18-35) who are passionate about faith fellowship and being real! You will be accompanied by an amazing team of creative leaders who are passionate about faith, expression and creative engagement. Explore and develop who God is calling you to be, while exploring ways to engage God and express yourself creatively. The Common Ground Project is hosting this conference that explores creative expression at the intersection of faith and identity:



SPOKEN WORD / POETRY: August 13-15

Download a registration form and schedule below.

Featuring powerful and inspiring spoken word artists:

Nannette Banks





“It is through the power of the spoken word and active hand that we can begin to build, uplift, and heal.” The moment these words emerged from Elder Nannette Banks’ soul, she recognized her call to public ministry. From London to Cairo to Barranquilla, Nanette has had an opportunity to serve and engage with people and cultures around the world. However, Chicago remains her center and home for ministry. She serves as an Elder at Progressive Community Center the People’s Church and has maintained partnerships with the Institute for Positive Education as a Spoken Word Poetry instructor. She works extensively with the Neighborhood Writing Alliance as a group facilitator in Canada, New York, Minnesota, and Chicago. Her voice has been heard in print, on the radio, on stages and behind pulpits throughout Chicago and the Midwest. Elder Banks holds fast to the belief that prayer changes things therefore we must pray until things change.

Yvonne Gilmore Essig




Yvonne Gilmore-Essig
is a pastor, poet and lecturer. She is the Pastor of New Song Community Church in Columbus, Ohio and a poet/vocalist member of The Cornel West Theory, included on their 2009 debut release, Second Rome, on Sockets Records. As a student of the prophetic tradition, her voice is also included in the following publications: “Praise for the Mercy of God,” Winged Words: Prayers for Common Worship & Common Life and “Politics, Media Priests & Pulpits: Losing Grasp of What’s Real," WTF Split Ticket: Faith, Race & Politics. Recently, she wrote and performed a spoken word piece entitled “Tree,” commissioned by the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ for their 2009 General Assembly in Indianapolis, Indiana and was featured in an artistic collaboration entitled 'District Calling: Freedom' in December of 2009 funded by the D.C. Commission of the Arts & Humanities. Yvonne received her M. Div from the University of Chicago and her B.A. in International Relations from The American University. She is the grateful mother of two girls, Assata, 11, and Kharis, 6.



Friday, 13 August
4-6pm: Registration + Arrivals at McCormick (5460 S. University Ave.)
6-7pm: Dinner
7-7:30pm: Introductions+ Orientation
7:30-8:30pm: Opening Worship [Theme: We Are Co-Creators With God]
8:30-9:30pm: Small Group discussion

Saturday, 14 August
8-9am: Breakfast at McCormick
9-10am: Morning Worship [Theme: Breathing Life Into Places of Death]
10-11am: Plenary Discussion
11am-12pm: Small Group Discussion
12-12:30pm: Lunch
12:30-1:30pm: Workshop
1:30-2pm: Transportation to downtown Chicago
2-4:30pm: Creation time in downtown Chicago
4:30-5pm: Transportation back to McCormick
5-5:30pm: Check in with workshop group
5:30-6pm: Break!
6-7pm: Dinner
7-8:30pm: Break!
8:30-10pm: Performance at University Church (5655 S. University Ave.)

Sunday, 15 August
8-9pm: Breakfast at McCormick
9-10pm: Small Group Discussion
10-11:30am: Plenary Discussion
11:30am-12:30pm: Sending Worship [Theme: Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord]
12:30-1:30pm: Lunch
1:30pm: Goodbye!


Don't miss out! Download the registration form at the bottom of this page or request one from All housing, food and program costs are covered by The Common Ground Project. The registration fee has been reduced to $35. Travel scholarships are available (half of airfare, up to $200) -- just ask!