Andover Newton once again named to ‘Seminaries that Change the World’
For the second consecutive year, a seminary of the United Church of Christ has been recognized as one of two dozen seminaries throughout the nation that shape the world through the commitment of individuals who engage in justice work.
Andover Newton Theological Seminary, in Newton Centre, Mass., outside Boston, is one of 27 institutions named by the Center for Faith and Service to its 2015 list of Seminaries that Change the World, announced on Monday, Feb. 23. ANTS was recognized last year as part of the founding class of Seminaries that Change the World.
According to the Center for Faith and Service, this group of institutions is theologically, politically and geographically diverse, yet shares a common commitment to work together to strengthen and advance theological education. The selected 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.
“The very title, ‘Seminaries that Change the World,’ is a provocative reminder of what theological education has meant in the past and what its purpose and promise is for the future,” said Rev. Wayne Meisel, executive director of the Center for Faith and Service. “The 2015 class of schools has demonstrated a commitment to invite, welcome, support, train and launch individuals into the world as community leaders.”
A year ago, when Seminaries that Change the World was launched, institutions were selected based on the Center for Faith and Service’s familiarity with the school. This year, interested institutions were asked to fill out an application to demonstrate a commitment to engage in the world.
“Wayne Meisel is a visionary who has a great track record of serving as a catalyst—helping form Americorps, for example,” said Alison McCarty, director of admission and recruitment at Andover Newton. “When he knocked on our door talking about seminaries that emphasize service to the community it was a natural conversation for Andover Newton. After all, active service has been a hallmark of this school since 1807—we truly are the oldest and the boldest.”
“This year the Seminaries that Change the World selection process required us to apply, but the many ways our school connects to the community, both in the classroom and outside it, meant that applying was a joy,” McCarty said. “When it comes down to it, changing the world one leader at a time has always been at the core of what we do here. It’s a privilege to have been selected again this year so we can continue to work with this cohort of superb schools that share our mission.”
In addition to Andover Newton’s inclusion in the list, the UCC plays a prominent role at two other seminaries. At Brite Divinity School, in Ft. Worth, Texas, the Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock co-directs the school’s Soul Repair Center and is a leading voice for the compassionate care of veterans. Brock, who was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), was one of the theological reflectors for the 2013 General Synod in California.
At Iliff School of Theology, in Denver, four UCC pastors were recently honored during the seminary’s alumni banquet for for their contributions to Iliff and the greater community. The Rev. Paul Davis, minister for outreach at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Parish in downtown Portland, Ore., directs the meals program at his congregation and was recognized by Iliff for his contribution to a specialized ministry. The Rev. Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, honored for her contribution to the academy, is the director of the Center for Analytics, Research and Data for the UCC. The Rev. Tisa Roberts, cultivating pastor of Chadash Community UCC in Aurora, Colo., is a church planter, pastor, environmental/food justice activist, and coach honored as an outstanding recent alumna. The Rev. Nancy Rosas, minister for spiritual formation at Washington Park UCC in Denver, was recognized for her outstanding contribution to parish ministry by Iliff.
Read about the full 2015 class of Seminaries that Change the World.
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