Building on the work and ministry she began in McCormick’s AADVENT and Common Ground projects, the Reverend Laura Mariko Cheifetz (M.Div., Class of 2005) has accepted the newly created position of Director of the Leading Generations initiative for the Fund for Theological Education (FTE), headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Her work with FTE begins March 15, while McCormick’s search for a new Director of the Common Ground Project is already underway.
In her new position, Cheifetz will connect the growing network of pastoral leaders, theological educators and Christian leaders who have participated in FTE’s programs, which aim to increase the number of gifted and diverse young people considering vocations as pastors and scholars. She will also direct grant activities to support Transition into Ministry (TiM), a Lilly Endowment Inc. program that provides leadership development resources to pastors in their earliest years of ministry, fostering in them pastoral leadership practices that enrich congregational life during the transition from student to pastor.
A 2001 FTE Ministry Fellow, Cheifetz has served McCormick since 2005, leading and administering two Lilly Endowment-funded projects, which have not only helped the seminary forge relationships with Asian American, African American and Latin@ faith communities, but also supported the ongoing work of McCormick’s dedicated racial-ethnic ministry centers also serving these audiences. As Director of AADVENT—Asian American Discipleship for Vocational Empowerment, Nurture and Transformation—she led a program designed to encourage Asian American young adults to consider calls to Christian ministry. In the Common Ground Project, McCormick expanded the scope of AADVENT to gather African American, Asian American and Hispanic pastors and young adults to explore vocation and cross-cultural ministry.
“Laura’s work has represented the growing edge of McCormick’s mission,” says Dr. Luis Rivera, Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We are recruiting and training a diverse people of God who are able to confront our most challenging contemporary issues with cross-cultural ministries of reconciliation, justice and transformation. She has been an invaluable colleague and partner in this work, and we are pleased that she will be bringing her gifts for leadership to the Fund for Theological Education.”
For more information about the Common Ground Project, visit www.mccormick.edu/common-ground-project.