Announcing Seminaries that Change the World: Class of 2015

Institutions of Distinction, Inspiration, Engagement, and Collaboration

The Center for Faith and Service at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago is pleased to announce the 2015 list of Seminaries that Change the World. This year, twenty-seven 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 Selection Process

A year ago, when Seminaries that Change the World was launched, a link was featured on the front page of the website 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:

Andover Newton Theological School, MA
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, TX
Bethany Theological Seminary, IN
Brite Divinity School, TX
Calvin Theological Seminary, MI
Candler School of Theology, GA
Christian Theological Seminary, IN
Columbia Theological Seminary, GA
Earlham School of Religion, IN
Fuller Theological Seminary, CA
Garrett–Evangelical Theological Seminary, IL
Hartford Seminary, CT
Iliff School of Theology, CO
Luther Seminary, MN
Lutheran School of Theology@ Chicago, IL
McAfee School of Theology, GA
McCormick Theological Seminary, IL
Princeton Theological Seminary, NJ
Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, WA
The School of Theology, University of the South, Sewanee, TN
Union Presbyterian Seminary, VA
Union Theological Seminary, NY
University of Chicago Divinity School, IL
Virginia Theological Seminary, VA
Wake Forest University School of Divinity, NC
Wesley Theological Seminary, DC
Yale Divinity School, CT

The list is also published at: stctw.org

About the Center for Faith and Service

The Center for Faith and Service, at McCormick Theological Seminary, is an initiative to challenge and change the church to be present, relevant, and engaged with a generation that defines itself by its involvement in community service and commitment to social justice. The Center's work towards this initiative involves: convening Seminaries that Change the World colleagues in a movement that leads the church and the nation into deep engagement combining service, advocacy and social justice; creating new energy around theological education, and engage seminary and dignity school students around the country into conversation with service-minded young people; visiting and lifting up congregations engaged in their local communities; reaching out to young adult volunteers and connecting them with supportive local congregations; engaging seminarians at McCormick Theological Seminary, and other local seminaries and divinity schools, with local and global issues affecting our communities at the intersection of faith and service. 

About McCormick

McCormick is one of 12 schools related to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is an accredited member of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States and Canada and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The seminary, located among the Hyde Park cluster of theological schools, including the University of Chicago, is affiliated with the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS). As one of the nation’s most respected seminaries, McCormick prepares women and men from all denominations and backgrounds for Christian ministry and service, advancing a model of education that is cross-cultural, urban, Reformed and ecumenical.

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