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Warren Wilson College, named after Warren Hugh Wilson, was founded by Presbyterians in 1894 as a mission school to offer elementary instruction to rural Appalachian boys. Since its founding, the College has maintained a relationship with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The roots of this historic relationship continue to nurture the College's commitment to community, social responsibility, the value of work, and openness in the pursuit of truth. In the Presbyterian spirit of ecumenicalism, the College welcomes relationship with other communities and individuals whose faith leads them to participate in the mission of the College.
One of 62 members of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, Warren Wilson College believes that scholarship and faith can enhance each other, when engaged in a mutually respectful and symbiotic relationship. The opportunity to study liberal arts in a context of religious affiliation provides a broader, richer educational experience, helping learning relate to issues of faith and life, and encouraging students to consider their future as a pursuit of a calling and purpose in service of the common good.
The Office of Church Relations was established by President Reuben A. Holden in 1973 with the establishment of the first board of trustees in order to maintain the College's relationship with the Presbyterian Church. At the October 2009 meeting of the Board of Trustees, a proposal was adopted to expand the College's faith relations outreach beyond the Presbyterian Church (USA). While the College still honors and values its relationship with its many Presbyterian Church partners and individual supporters, it also seeks relationships with faith communities that wish to support its mission, including international and multicultural awareness. The mission of Faith Relations is to establish, enhance and sustain cordial and mutually supportive relationships between Warren Wilson College, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and other faith communities. The Director of Development and Faith Relations serves this mission with the assistance and guidance of the Church and Faith Relations Council, consisting of faith community leaders and laypeople.
Warren Wilson College is an outreach partner with many churches and faith communities through global missions and higher education ministry. Congregations and individuals have established annual and endowed scholarships to assist need-based students to afford their education.
The Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church and College Chapel provides students with opportunities for worship, study and service, encouraging the community to value moral and spiritual development. Its facilities are open for use by all spiritual life groups on campus. The Pastor of the Church also serves as College Chaplain. A full-time Director of Spiritual Life helps support and encourage faith and vocational exploration. The Director of Development and Faith Relations engages congregations, individuals, and faith-affiliated foundations, and manages the College's outreach to faith communities and individuals near and far.
With the global environmental crisis now receiving serious attention in our nation and across the world, churches are beginning to understand their obligation to significantly improve how they approach their own impact on the world both individually and through their church life, and they are wanting their church to provide ideas and leadership in this quest. In response to this long-awaited change, the College's Office of Faith Relations began a dialogue with the national Presbyterian Church (USA) by hosting an Eco-Sermon Challenge that invited clergy to submit sermons exploring a Christian understanding of humanity's place in creation. We are posting all seventeen sermon entries with the permission of their writers, sharing their hope that they will help other church leaders feel more conviction about their environmental faith commitments.
If your congregation is interested in learning more about environmental stewardship and sustainability, consider visiting Warren Wilson College for a Green Walkabout for Churches through the College's Environmental Leadership Center (ELC).
For additional information, please contact:
Director of Development and Faith Relations
P.O. Box 9000
Asheville, NC 28815-9000