ATLANTA – Mercer's James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology has been recognized as a “Seminary that Changes the World” for 2016-17 by the Center for Faith and Service.
Each year, the Center identifies 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.
McAfee's recognition as a “Seminary that Changes the World” reflects the School's ongoing work to influence racial reconciliation, foster interfaith dialogue, teach community development and launch well-rounded ministers.
“At McAfee School of Theology, our goal is to equip transformational leaders for the church, the community and the world,” said Dr. Jeff Willetts, dean of the School. “This recognition demonstrates that McAfee's vision for ministry preparation comports with the world's need in a dynamic and ongoing way.”
The Center for Faith and Service is an organization that works to help seminaries, service programs, denominations and local congregations connect faith with service and social justice work.
“Anyone seeking to change the world ought to at least consider seminary or divinity school as an option to grow personally in one's faith and to inspire, sustain and deepen his or her commitment to neighbor, community, country and the world,” said Wayne Meisel, executive director of the Center for Faith and Service. “Through their commitment to collaborate, this diverse group of schools named on this year's list of 'Seminaries that Change the World' embody the best of faithful and justice seeking communities.”
A Mercer hallmark since its founding in 1833 has been service to others, which is rooted in the University's faith-based mission. Mercer was a pioneer in service learning, integrating volunteerism and curricula long before the term came into vogue and was embraced by many other institutions. The University was one of the first institutions in the country to participate in the AmeriCorps program in the 1990s and the Upward Bound program in the 1960s.
Service to humankind is ingrained in Mercer's culture. It is found in its academic units – a medical school dedicated entirely to preparing primary care physicians for rural and other medically underserved areas of Georgia and a law school widely recognized for its contributions in the arena of public service – to signature programs like Mercer On Mission that deploy students and faculty across the world to alleviate human suffering.
An emphasis on service is also found in programs like Mercer Service Scholars, which engages diverse undergraduate students in substantive service to local and international communities while preparing them to become leaders on campus, in their professions and in their communities. It is found in the more than 100,000 hours of volunteer service that students contribute to their communities each year.
Mercer's commitment to service led the Princeton Review to name the institution as one of its “Colleges with a Conscience” in 2005. The University was selected to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, released by the Corporation for National and Community Service, in 2006, 2008 and 2014. Additionally, Mercer's Community Engagement Classification was renewed for 10 years by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2015.
McAfee carries out this ethos and vision through its commitment to educating and equipping ministers who are prepared to serve in a complex global context. The School's curriculum focuses on community development, a commitment to racial reconciliation and a desire to be a good neighbor. This focus creates a learning context that promotes thoughtful scholarship and enormously impactful action. In short, McAfee is partnering in God's work of changing lives and transforming communities.
For more information about “Seminaries that Change the World,” or McAfee School of Theology's unique programs, courses and scholarships, visit www.faith3.org.
About The Center for Faith and Service
Based out of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois, 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.
About McAfee School of Theology
McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University forms Christian leaders whose practice and scholarship, empowered by their passion for God and neighbor, change lives and transform communities. The School accomplishes this mission by: 1) integrating spirituality with service through: practicing spiritual disciplines that nurture us for Christian service; embracing ethnic, gender and theological diversity to enhance our spiritual growth and moral formation; creating opportunities to learn in community, experience transformation and risk action; 2) integrating theological inquiry with prophetic vision through interpreting the story of the Christian faith through sacred scriptures and traditions; connecting faith to global contexts in ways that engage personal, communal and political realities; critiquing the structures of our society from an informed prophetic voice; 3) integrating worship with witness through celebrating God's presence in worship as the source of the Church's call to community and global transformation; reading cultural contexts to create holistic strategies for ministry; proclaiming the love of God in Jesus Christ through dialogue and in partnership with others.