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Four Presbyterian seminaries receive social justice and service honors

Center for Faith and Service announces 2017-18 Seminaries that Change the World

The Vernon S. Broyles Jr. Leadership Center on the campus of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. (Photo by Gregg Brekke)

CHICAGOThe Center for Faith and Service at McCormick Seminary, announced today its annual list of Seminaries that Change the World (STCTW). 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. The list was announced on the Huffington Post in an article entitled “Tradition and Innovation: Seminaries that Change the World 2017–18.”

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) related seminaries Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Columbia Theological Seminary, McCormick Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary are among the 32 schools nominated this year.

Seminaries that Change the World was created by PC(USA) minister the Rev. Wayne Meisel, one of the architects of the AmeriCorps program and founder of the Bonner Scholars program, 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.”

As part of its selection process, the center looks for schools that are providing scholarship support to students engaged in community-based service, innovative degree programs, field education internship opportunities, issue-based courses, and job placements in both traditional and new expressions of ministry.

In his article, Meisel states, “In this collection of schools, I have found institutions that are educating and training some of our most inspiring leaders for critical roles in local, national, and international communities.’

He goes on to say that “These seminaries and divinity schools are living into the tension of tradition and innovation. Visionary leaders are not merely reacting to the new realities, but also charting a new course that anticipates opportunity and moves boldly in that direction, bringing others along in the process. The world cannot afford seminaries to resign themselves to reduce their footprint. Rather than be defined by market forces, the leaders of these institutions are interpreting the shifts and are moving us forward accordingly.”

In these changing times Meisel concludes, “While theological education was primarily designed to train individuals to be leaders of the church, today seminaries are called to educate and launch leaders to have an ethical and faithful grounding in all that they do — whether within or outside of the walls of a church.

Other 2017–18 seminaries nominated to the Seminaries that Change the World list include:

Bethany Theological Seminary
Boston University School of Theology
Brite Divinity School
Calvin Theological Seminary
Candler School of Theology at Emory
University Christian Theological Seminary
Drew Theological School
Duke Divinity School
Earlham School of Religion
Ecumenical Theological Seminary
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
Howard University School of Divinity
Iliff School of Theology
Luther Seminary
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University
Jesuit School of Theology in Berkley
Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry
Seminary of the Southwest
The School of Theology at Sewanee, The University of the South
Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University
Union Theological Seminary
The University of Chicago Divinity School
Vanderbilt Divinity School
Virginia Theological Seminary
Wake Forest Divinity School
Wesley Theological Seminary
Yale Divinity School

About the Center for Faith and Service:

Based out of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, The Center for Faith and Service works to develop new programs and identify existing resources that support the church to be present and relevant in the lives of young adults. Through a variety of initiatives, including Seminaries that Change the World, the center partners with seminaries, summer camps, colleges, youth corps, denominations and local congregations to create programs and resources that help young people connect their passions for service and justice with their faith.

To learn more about the center and its programs, visit
More information about Seminaries that Change the World can be found on

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