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Columbia Named as a Seminary of Change


The Center for Faith and Service and Faith3 have launched a new website "Seminaries that Change the World," as a resource for a generation that yearns for change.

Eighteen seminaries and divinity schools have been designated as "Seminaries that Change the World" in an effort to demonstrate to those considering graduate school that theological education offers powerful preparation for local and global leadership roles in all areas of society.

These seminaries and divinity schools have demonstrated great innovation in theological education, in integration with classical approaches for learning, even as they navigate negative stereotypes about organized religion and work to expand narrow definitions of traditional ministry. Seminaries that Change the World is part of a movement to reclaim the important historic role that theological education has played in promoting community and justice while training and launching local and world leaders in all areas of society.

“This is a shout out from the roof tops that this connection between seminary and justice work is worth paying attention to,’’ said the Rev. Wayne Meisel, who selected the schools after visiting theological campuses across the country over the past three years. In his view, the 2014 class of Seminaries that Change the World has demonstrated a commitment to invite, welcome, support, train and launch individuals into the world as community leaders.

Meisel, an ordained Presbyterian Minister, has a long and distinguished career in the world of community service, service learning and civic engagement. He was appointed to serve on the President’s Commission on National and Community Service, where he is credited for being one of the architects of the AmeriCorps Program. He also served as a founding board member for Teach for America and is the Founding President of the Bonner Foundation. Currently, he directs the Center for Faith and Service, which develops innovative programming for churches and denominations and seeks renewal of theological education through the reintegration of faith and service.

"Seminaries that Change the World" is by no means an exhaustive or exclusive list. It represents a collection of institutions that Meisel and his team believe are prepared to welcome idealistic and committed individuals who have demonstrated their engagement in the world or who seek to gain experience in justice work.

In addition to the schools explored, current seminarians who are deeply committed and involved in their communities are profiled on the website, and common myths about theological education are addressed. The website also offers detailed information about each school’s degree programs, courses and faculty, as well as information about tuition and financial aid.

While the selection of the class of 2014 was made by Meisel, next year’s list will expand to include a diversity of faith traditions and schools will be chosen through an application process. Application instructions are listed on the website.

The 2014 class of "Seminaries that Change the World" includes:

Andover Newton Theological School 
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary 
Candler School of Theology 
Christian Theological Seminary 
Columbia Theological Seminary 
Duke Divinity School 
Earlham School of Religion 
Fuller Theological Seminary 
Luther Seminary 
McAfee School of Theology 
Princeton Theological Seminary 
The School of Theology at Sewanee 
Union Theological Seminary 
University of Chicago Divinity School 
Vanderbilt University Divinity School 
Wake Forest University School of Divinity 
Wesley Theological Seminary 
Yale Divinity School

For more information, see Wayne Meisel's article in the Huffington Post here.
Or see the "Seminaries that Change the World" website here.

Michael Thompson
Director of Communications

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