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McCurry and Norris to Lead NCSS 2014-16

Aug 22 2013

Mike McCurry and Kristopher Norris will serve as interim co-directors of Wesley Theological Seminary’s National Capital Semester for Seminarians for 2014-16. NCSS is a semester-long, intensive program of study in ethics, theology and public policy that attracts students from across the country each spring semester. McCurry and Norris are filling this role while the regular NCSS director, Wesley faculty member Dr. Shaun Casey, is on extended leave at the U.S. State Department.

Mike McCurry adds the duties of NCSS co-director to his capacity as an adjunct member of the Wesley faculty. He is better known in Washington as the former White House press secretary to President Bill Clinton from 1995 to 1998. He also served as spokesman for the Department of State from 1993 to 1995. An active lay leader in his local congregation, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Kensington, MD, McCurry joined the board of governors of Wesley Theological Seminary in 2000.  While serving on the board, McCurry enrolled as a student at Wesley, concentrating on the relationship between Christian ethics and politics, and completed his Master of Arts degree in May 2013.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University.

McCurry serves on numerous boards or advisory councils including Share Our Strength, the Junior Statesmen Foundation, the Children’s Scholarship Fund, the White House Historical Association, and the Global Health Initiative of The United Methodist Church. He is Co-Chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which organizes the fall general election debates between the major candidates for president and vice president of the United States.

Kristopher Norris previously served as an adjunct professor at University of Mary Washington and Mercer University. Also, he has served as a teaching assistant and a research assistant at University of Virginia and research assistant at Emory University. He served as pastor of Hope Fellowship Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. from 2007-08. He is the author of the book Pilgrim Practices: Discipleship for a Missional Church (2012) and co-author of Church Politics: How Congregations Engage (and Avoid) Politics (forthcoming 2014). In 2012, he received a $10,000 research grant from The Project on Lived Theology to conduct theological research with an undergraduate partner on the political practices of five national congregations, leading to a book project with Cascade Books. Also, he is a graduate fellow with The Project on Lived Theology.

Norris is a candidate for a Doctor of Philosophy degree in religious studies from University of Virginia. He received his Master of Theology from Candler School of Theology in 2009, his Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School in 2006, and his Bachelor of Arts from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2003.

Wesley equips Christians for leadership in the church and the world. The NCSS program takes advantage of Wesley’s location in the nation’s capital and long history of scholarly work on the intersection of faith and politics. NCSS students immerse themselves in the ethical and spiritual dimensions of faithful political engagement. Coursework includes opportunities to interact with policy writers and implementers, and gain hands-on experience in policy research, advocacy and implementation. The NCSS program is open to any student who has completed at least one year of a degree program in an accredited seminary and is recommended by his or her home seminary.

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