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News from the Hill November 13, 2013 | back to index

Andover Newton Theological School selected as a ‘Seminary that Changes the World’

Seminaries that Change the World

Andover Newton Theological School is among the 14 seminaries selected as the premier "class" of theological schools featured as "Seminaries that Change the World" by Faith3.  Schools were selected based on research conducted by Faith3 organizer Rev. Wayne Meisel, who was searching for seminaries actively engaged in service to the larger community.  Faith3, a holistic initiative to help make "church" present in the lives of young people, has launched a new program to help raise awareness of faith-based careers and graduate education in theology.

Connection to community is an important premise at Andover Newton.   According to Sarah B. Drummond, Dean of the Faculty & Vice President for Academic Affairs, "Those who give their lives to social justice need wellsprings from which to draw. For many of our students, that wellspring is a deep and abiding faith. We help our students to know their tradition’s story,  to tap that spring, and therefore lead with both substance and sustaining joy."

The particular hallmarks of education at Andover Newton that caught the attention of Faith3 staff include the school’s Peace Corps Paul D.  Coverdell Fellowship, required attendance at two Community Days each year, and faculty expertise and coursework in community-directed social justice.  Students at Andover Newton can pursue a concentration in Ethics & Social Justice regardless of the program they are pursuing, and a Certificate in Ethics & Social Justice (open to anyone interested in studying) can be earned with just five classes.

Read more at the Faith3 website.

Andover Newton’s programs attract students from all over the United States and the world.  Current student Father Hovnan Demerjian of St. Petersburg, Florida writes, "I am not surprised that Andover Newton has been chosen as one of the ‘Seminaries that Change the World,’ as it certainly has changed mine.  As a returned Peace Corps volunteer and Coverdell fellow at Andover Newton, I have been formed by its truly diverse and dedicated faculty and student body.  Just as my Peace Corps experience transformed my perspective as an American citizen, the Doctor of Ministry program at Andover Newton has transformed my perspective as a pastor."  Fr. Demerjian is one of three Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows currently enrolled at Andover Newton.

School President, Nick Carter, has been greeting prospective students for years with a particular call to action:  "We believe that vibrant and progressive communities of faith of all kinds can be revolutionary agents of hope and reconciliation in a broken world. Here [at Andover Newton] you can harness your calling and equip yourself to become a world-class agent of prophetic change.  Our goal is nothing short of transforming the world, one congregation at a time, one community at a time, and one leader at a time."  Among the courses offered at Andover Newton next spring alone are:

  • "Seminarians in the City" – a for-credit  class supervised by City Mission Society which involves a minimum of 10 hours per week of active engagement in the city of Boston through placement in a city social service agency or church and interacting with the people of that neighborhood.
  • "A Sojourn in an Immigrant Church: Exploring Identity, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism" – a course which requires students to engage in the worship and congregational life of a church organized around an ethnicity different from the students’ own
  • "Mercy and Justice in the Criminal Justice System"; and
  • "Occupy History: Leadership for Social,  Economic, and Religious Transformation"

Since the school’s founding in 1805 (an event which changed the world of theological education by creating the first graduate program for educating ministers),  Andover Newton graduates have been busy making all kinds of changes.  Notable alumni have included:

  • Adoniram Judson,  class of 1810, is one of the earliest notable Andover alumni and among the first U.S. missionaries sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. He later became a Baptist missionary to Myanmar, then known as Burma.
  • Thomas Hopkins Gaullaudet,  class of 1814, was the founder of education for the deaf in the United States,  established the first American school for the deaf, and was the principal developer of what became American Sign Language. Gaulladet College (now University) in Washington, DC, was renamed in his honor in 1893.
  • Calvin Ellis Stowe,  class of 1828 and later a faculty member at Andover, is considered one of the creators of the American public school system. He published widely on issues of public education and established the College of Teachers in Cincinnati. A prominent abolitionist, he was married to Harriett Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin,  and was an enthusiastic supporter of her literary career.

Andover Newton graduates have founded schools all over the world, including Wabash University, Grinnell College,  Union Theological Seminary (NYC) and Doshisha University (Kyoto).  Alumni have worked tirelessly in support of important initiatives, such as Claude E. Black, a prominent San Antonio civic leader who was instrumental in the Civil Rights movement, and Ferdinand Fuentes, founding executive director of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University.

Students, faculty and staff at Andover Newton are honored to be selected as a Seminary that Changes the World.   It is our mission to continue to educate leaders who are enlivened by rigorous study in a community embracing diversities of faith and life; devoted to the renewing of church and society through ecumenical witness and creative expression of the Gospel; and committed to enacting God’s ways of justice and love in the world.

For more information contact:

Alison McCarty,  Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow Administrator and Director of Admissions at Andover Newton Theological School

617-831-2431, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Wayne Meisel,  Executive Director, Faith3/Seminaries that Change the World
609-651-5095, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)