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New ‘covenant agreement’ to provide more affordable seminary options for Young Adult Volunteers

Memorandum of Understanding deepens partnership between YAVs and Wesley Theological Seminary

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — The Young Adult Volunteer Program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Young Adult Volunteers — pictured in 2019 — at their national site in Washington, D.C. (Photo provided)

According to YAV coordinator Destini Hodges, the MOU is like entering into a covenant agreement with Wesley Theological Seminary, as the national D.C. site already works with the seminary as one of its community partners.

“Wesley helps the YAVs in D.C. think about what it means to be called into their community providing discernment and theological engagement exercises, helping them become better servant leaders,” she said.

Per the MOU, Wesley is providing a level of scholarship commitment to YAV alums and volunteers — including those who have served virtually. The Methodist seminary will provide early admissions decisions for those who have served and provide $8,000 a year — or more for those who  meet admissions criteria and have a YAV staff recommendation. The seminary will also work with YAVs to provide support, training and materials for leadership development.

“This agreement will not only benefit Wesley and YAV, but also those who might choose to get a different perspective and theological understanding for their seminary education,” Hodges said.

The Young Adult Volunteers’ part of the MOU includes distributing Wesley’s information and swag to the YAVs during their orientation. YAVs will also collaborate with the seminary on application deadlines and recruiter visits with the interns, campus ministers and young adult ministry leaders. Any information on YAV interns who express interest in Wesley at the end of their service will also be forwarded to the seminary.

Presbyterian Liz Pruchnicki is a recruiter for Wesley Theological Seminary and helped form the “covenant agreement” with Young Adult Volunteers. (Photo provided)

“We’re hoping that this agreement with Wesley might open the door for other seminaries who align with our core tenants to join us,” Hodges said. “Not only at our orientation, but to share their programs with YAVs and also enter an agreement to offer more affordable options to attend their seminaries.”

Liz Pruchnicki, recruiter in the Office of Admissions at Wesley, who is Presbyterian, believes the MOU, which deepens the partnership with YAV, will strengthen both organizations. With many YAVs going on to seminary after their service year, Wesley wanted to be a part of that ministry and leadership development training during their time in school.

Pruchnicki adds that what makes the partnership make even more sense is that there isn’t a PC(USA) seminary in Washington, D.C. So, she says any student who has interest in working for a nonprofit or in the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness, Washington. D.C., would be a great place to be.

“If you have an interest in these sorts of questions about faith, life and politics, we’re the right place to be,” she said.

Commissioning for Young Adult Volunteers is on Sunday. This will take place virtually on the YAV Facebook page with PMA President and Executive Director the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett giving the message.


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