VISION FOR 2022
In 2022 Andover Newton Seminary will be recognized as the preeminent seminary for the education of church leaders in the (small “c”) congregational traditions. The reach of Andover Newton will be national and even international. Students and trustees will come from across the United States and beyond. Graduates will have dynamic ministries in a wide variety of settings throughout the country (and elsewhere). Andover Newton Seminary will send out not just outstanding graduates but also new knowledge about the nature and needs of ministerial leadership in locally governed faith communities. Virtually every prospective student from our constituent denominations who is able to relocate or who lives within driving distance of the campus will have Andover Newton as his or her first choice of seminary.
When searching for a new pastor, congregations associated with our constituent denominations will look for candidates with an Andover Newton credential, knowing they have received an exceptional preparation for ministry. Graduates of Andover Newton will have the reputation of being prepared to serve a congregation effectively on day-one after graduation. Similarly, congregations, faith leaders, denominational leaders, and thought leaders in religion will look to the new knowledge that Andover Newton creates as the most relevant and leading-edge thinking about ministry in congregations.
In 2022 Andover Newton Seminary will fully draw upon the resources of Yale Divinity School and the wider University for the benefit of our students. At the same time, Andover Newton will be fully established as a distinct entity with a unique mission within the wider YDS community, to the extent that it will seem as if Andover Newton always has been a “partner on the quad.” Andover Newton will demonstrate not just good institutional citizenship but also will be a beacon of warmth, hospitality, student-centeredness, and love for community that has a catalytic effect upon the whole of YDS.
Although our graduates will be the very embodiment of our mission, Andover Newton also will be a center of knowledge creation in the area of leadership in congregations. A full range of media will be used to share what we have learned and are learning. The family of traditions we serve—this unique way of being church—will find an invaluable resource in Andover Newton Seminary.
By 2022 Andover Newton will graduate 20-25 students per year. Their education will have been essentially tuition-free. If not immediately after graduation, then shortly thereafter, a majority of our students will assume positions of particular impact and significance in the life of our constituent denominations. Graduates and new knowledge that emanate from Andover Newton Seminary at YDS will enhance the reputation of the school in ways that bring us to the attention of prospective students, scholars, and donors.
VISION-SUPPORTING OVERARCHING GOALS
- Prepare graduates for ministerial leadership in congregations, institutions, and emerging forms of faith communities by providing a distinctive, rigorous educational program within the context of the YDS Minister of Divinity degree program
- Forge and cultivate lively, synergistic connections within Yale University and in the wider church, theological academy, and emerging religious movements
- Create leading-edge knowledge on the church and its ministry and ensure that this knowledge is transmitted and preserved
- Establish a reputation throughout the ecclesial and theological education world as the seminary best suited to candidates exploring a call to ministry who are seeking integration between outstanding ministerial and academic preparation
- Establish Andover Newton Seminary as a financially and programmatically sustainable institution, distinctive from yet fully integrated into Yale Divinity School
ROADMAP TO GUIDE THE JOURNEY TOWARD OUR ENVISIONED FUTURE STATE
GRADUATES PREPARED FOR MINISTERIAL LEADERSHIP
- Further our founding mission of educating excellent leaders for faith communities in ways that are ground-breaking
- Offer an educational program that prepares students for effective leadership in (“small c-“) congregational churches immediately upon graduation
- Provide an education that includes a rich mix of integrative experiences and content-based classes
- Utilize a competency-based assessment of knowledge and skills required for ministry
- Break down barriers to inclusion
LIVELY, SYNERGISTIC CONNECTIONS
- Establish and sustain generative connections within Yale University, other centers for theological education, the wider church, and emerging religious movements
- Nurture relationships with our historic partners, the American Baptist Churches (USA) and the United Church of Christ
- Create partnerships with pastors and other religious leaders who represent excellence in ministry in all its diversity—both so that our students can benefit from interaction with them and so that we might all learn from them what is happening “in the field”
- Be committed to students’ ongoing relationship to Andover Newton, extend hospitality and offer opportunities for lifelong learning
- Communicate with our constituencies through a variety of media to order to strengthen bonds and encourage support
SOURCE OF NEW, LEADING-EDGE KNOWLEDGE
- Develop research capacity to increase knowledge and to expand the scope of our impact
- Create leading edge knowledge on the church and its ministry that is valued by those in the academy and in congregations
REPUTATION AS GO-TO SEMINARY
- Be recognized as the preeminent center of theological education in our traditions
- Graduate students who have mastered the competencies necessary for ministry and who are prepared to offer excellent leadership on “day one”
- Build and cultivate a vibrant community at YDS that teaches students how to do the same in their communities, strengthening Andover Newton’s reputation as a school for both head and heart
- Sustain life-giving human interactions and create community wherever we go
A FINANCIALLY AND PROGRAMMATICALLY SUSTAINABLE INSTITUTION
- Draw fully upon the rich resources of the university to support and enhance the fulfillment of our mission
- Graduate students with minimal educational debt
- Maintain facilities both on and off the YDS Quad for our school to call home
- Broaden the base of potential donors who are excited about the mission of Andover Newton and how it is being fulfilled in our time
The partnership between YDS and Andover Newton is off to a strong start, and the chemistry between these two historically linked settings is creating some promising compounds. The benefits will extend beyond the Andover Newton-YDS boundary into the whole of the university and ecclesial worlds. YDS and Andover Newton are already becoming something more than the sum of their parts. Our strategy will carry this positive momentum forward in a healthy direction, and we go forward with the help of the God who imagined all involved parties into being and imagines a future that we can but glimpse from where we stand.
Andover Newton Seminary’s Board of Trustees voted on June 7, 2021 to adopt a refreshed version of the strategic plan it approved in May of 2018. In 2018, Andover Newton was still newly embedded at Yale Divinity School and had just hosted its last in-person graduation on its Newton, MA campus. Except for its mission to educate inspiring leaders for faith communities, much about its future was unformed or unknown.
Today, Andover Newton has graduated three classes of students from its New Haven, CT campus; secured a distinct location on the YDS Quadrangle; and formed new patterns. It has also weathered the test of Covid-19’s shut-downs and reflected deeply on the theological education implications of racial strife and political unrest rocking ministry contexts around the globe. Even though its five-year plan was relatively new, Andover Newton’s leaders needed an update to serve as map and guide.
The team that carried out the refreshment process included the following:
• Hannah Kane (trustee and board chair-elect for July 1, 2021) and Sarah Drummond (administration) (co-chairs)
• Mark Heim (faculty)
• Ned Parker and Tracy Edwards (administration)
• Dawn Jefferson (student; graduate and Jonathan Edwards Prize winner as of May 22, 2021)
• Tamara Moreland (at-large; newly elected trustee as of June 7, 2021)
• Don Ng, Tim Moore, and Judy Swahnberg (trustees)
The team studied the current strategic plan, connected with a wide array of stakeholders, and revisited each section of the plan with an eye toward updating it. Although the plan was deemed essentially sound, proportions and emphases needed adjustment in light of what has changed in the world, and the seminary’s role in responding to – and leading amidst – those changes.
Most notable among the changes were an increased emphasis on Gospel-centered social justice and antiracism, more language and attention to leadership development, and a stronger emphasis on the school’s track record of and value for innovation. A summary of the newly refreshed strategic plan will be made publicly available before the summer is out.
In the meantime, Andover Newton celebrates that good things that happen when thoughtful and devoted leaders gather, listen for the Spirit’s voice, and translate that voice into a set of plans for making real that for which both the mission and the times call.