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Four Presbyterian seminaries among top rated theological institutions

PC(USA) institutions join 31 schools named ‘Seminaries that Change the World’

by Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. (Photo provided)

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. (Photo provided)

LOUISVILLE – The Center for Faith and Service, based at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois, has announced the fourth annual list of Seminaries that Change the World (STCTW). Among the winners are four seminaries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Columbia Theological Seminary, McCormick Theological Seminary and Union Presbyterian Seminary.

“We are pleased that the many efforts of our students, staff and faculty, and indeed the work of the institution itself, have been recognized as we respond to God’s call to engage in and participate with the transforming work of God’s Reign in our world,” said Union Presbyterian Seminary president Brian K. Blount. “Our commitment to serving God in this way neither begins nor ends with this wonderful recognition, but we are delighted to be counted among such wonderful company.”

STCTW highlights a select group of seminaries and divinity schools offering innovative courses, programs, and opportunities for students seeking to engage in social justice and service work while in seminary. This year’s list includes 31 institutions, representing a broad range of theological and political perspectives.

The Rev. Wayne Meisel, one of the architects of the AmeriCorps program and founder of the Bonner Scholars program, created STCTW four years ago to act as a resource for service minded young-adults looking for ways to grow spiritually. Meisel, who now serves as the executive director of The Center for Faith and Service, explained, “At some point I learned that for many people, their faith inspired, sustained and deepened their commitment to community service and social justice. So I began a journey of looking for institutions where these individuals could connect their faith and service. The result is this list.”

The 2016-17 list of Seminaries that Change the World includes:

  • Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
  • Bethany Theological Seminary
  • Brite Divinity School
  • Calvin Theological Seminary
  • Candler School of Theology (Emory)
  • Central Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Christian Theological Seminary
  • Claremont School of Theology
  • Columbia Theological Seminary
  • Drew Theological School
  • Duke Divinity School
  • Earlham School of Religion
  • Ecumenical Theological Seminary
  • Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  • Hartford Seminary
  • Iliff School of Theology
  • Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  • Luther Seminary
  • McAfee School of Theology (Mercer University)
  • McCormick Theological Seminary
  • Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry
  • The School of Theology at The University of the South | Sewanee
  • Union Presbyterian Seminary
  • Union Theological Seminary in New York
  • University of Chicago Divinity School
  • Vanderbilt Divinity School
  • Virginia Theological Seminary
  • Wake Forest University School of Divinity
  • Wesley Theological Seminary
  • Yale Divinity School

As part of its selection process, the Center looks for schools that are providing significant scholarship support to students engaged in community-based social justice or service work. Innovative degree programs, field education internship opportunities, issue-based courses, and alumni job placement are also considered.

“So much of the talk about theological education and the church is shaped by a narrative of decline, but that is not my experience with our divinity students,” said Gail O’Day, Ph.D., dean and professor of New Testament and preaching at Wake Forest School of Divinity. “The Center for Faith and Service has recognized the positive energy and passion that seminary students can and do bring to the pressing issues of our day and tells a story of transformation and possibility that points a way forward for religious leaders and religious institutions.”

In collaboration with schools that are part of Seminaries that Change the World, the Center is sponsoring Theological Education Week, October 26 – November 1, 2016. Through this initiative, the Center will reach out to career service offices to offer programing and resources that educate career service professionals and undergraduate institutions about the new landscape and opportunities available through theological education.


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