The Center will focus on developing innovative programs for local congregations and serve as a platform for creating and coordinating joint activities among seminaries and divinity schools. In making the announcement, the Rev. Dr. Frank Yamada, president of McCormick Theological Seminary said, “The Center will be a national effort that is dedicated to challenge and support the church to be a telling presence in the lives of young adults, especially those involved in community service and social justice.” “McCormick is extremely excited to be part of this initiative and to welcome the Center’s founding director, Rev. Wayne Meisel, to the McCormick community,” Yamada added.
Rev. Wayne Meisel, who currently serves as the Director of Faith and Service at the Cousins Foundation in Atlanta, GA., will become the first director of the Center. Meisel is a nationally recognized leader in the community service and service learning fields. As a presidential appointee, Meisel was one of the primary architects of AmeriCorps, the originator of National Youth Service Day and a founding board member of Teach for America. For over twenty years Meisel served as the Founding President of the Bonner Foundation. Meisel is a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and describes himself as an “AmeriCorps Chaplin”.
Meisel states that "We want the church to be present in the lives of young adults and for the gospel to be an affirming, instructive and sustaining force for them. We believe that the church offers a platform to change the world and we seek new leaders to do just that." Meisel added, “We also believe seminaries and divinity schools can play an important role in identifying, recruiting, and training those leaders. I am tremendously excited to be doing this work with McCormick and grateful to President Yamada and the McCormick community.”
The programing that Meisel launched under the name of FAITH3 (Faith Active In The Head, Heart, hand) will be transferred to the Center for Faith and Service. At the congregational level the center will be training and certifying clergy to serve as National Service Chaplains, establishing Houses of Hospitality, and circulating the Vesper Curriculum. At the seminary level, some of the initiatives include Seminaries that Change the World, The New Faces of Ministry Tour, and Community Engagement Fellows. For a more detailed look at these and other actives of the Center, please visit the website faith3.org.
McCormick has been long known for its commitment to be a prophetic voice and its commitment to engage in the world. “The establishment of the Center for Faith and Service, along with a number of other new initiatives, re-enforces McCormick’s reputation for leadership in developing innovative and cutting edge programming,” Yamada added.