The Center for Faith & Leadership
We believe that intentional friendships rooted in the witness of Jesus and the power of his resurrection can transform a university, a city and a generation.
Life is about more than our individual calling or brand. It’s meant to be explored in community with others and in alignment with an attitude of prayer and worship in all we do.
Because faith is often caught, not taught; we create space for hospitality, recreation and relationship where it’s okay to ask questions and to wrestle with the deeper truth. We’re a place to call home, a creative center for entrepreneurship and the arts; and a sacred center for still and quiet.
At The Center, we’re reaching out. We value collaboration over competition seeking unity among followers of Jesus and promoting a greater understanding of what that means for everybody.
The Center is a living room for Fredericksburg and the Mary Washington campus. It’s a place to call home where faith and leadership go hand in hand. It’s filled with memories of mission projects, study sessions, and home-cooked meals.
We got our start in 1948 when Mr. and Mrs. William Chesley gave their home to the Fredericksburg Baptist Church for use as a center for students at Mary Washington College. Over the years, the ministry known as the Baptist Student Union grew and the house was expanded. In December 1981, the doors of a new student center opened creating more space for events and interaction. In September 2012, we began experimenting with ways to help young adults intentionally connect in a new era of mission as The Center for Faith and Leadership. This new focus led to projects and collaborative partnerships with The Washington Arts Group, Fredericksburg City Schools, The Fredericksburg Start-Up Community and a local English Language School for international students. Today, we’re seeking the transformation of the city and the university through deep relationships in collaboration with churches, campus ministry groups and community organizations. The world is changing. The future is uncertain. But we’re creating the future as we believe it will be by following Jesus, who is at the Center of it all.
Carey serves as co-director of The Center for Faith and Leadership and as a strategist for the Spence Network where she’s developing the next generation of Christian leaders. Carey is passionate about pioneering fresh expressions of church in the local community and developing new economic models that lead to ministry sustainability. As a Co-Founder of the Good Turn Earth Company and as a licensed fitness instructor, she is particularly interested in the intersection of theology and economics and how the church can make local impact, proclaiming the gospel through innovation and enterprise. Carey earned the Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and International Studies from Randolph-Macon College, the Master of Business Administration from Regent University and the Master of Divinity from Duke University. Carey loves long walks, making food and sharing intentional conversation around the table.
Gannon serves as Co-Director of The Center and is Director of Ministry Formation with Fresh Expressions US. He coordinates the Fresh Expressions efforts of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, an association of 1400 churches in Virginia and 24 other states. He earned the Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Speech Communication and a minor in Music from Baylor University and the Master of Divinity degree from Duke University. Prior to entering seminary, Gannon worked as a legislative aide in the US Senate and as a public affairs officer in the anti-human trafficking office at the US State Department. He has served in various roles at several churches, Baptist, Presbyterian and Anglican. He can often be found with his hands in the dirt or writing music with friends. Gannon recently released his first first full-length album. Check it out at GannonSims.com.
Luke gives leadership to evangelism, discipleship and efforts that help bring a unified Christian witness among young adults at University of Mary Washington and in Fredericksburg. He’s pioneered Brotherhood, a weekly gathering of young men that started out with a few guys around a ping ping table and he’s passionate about spiritual awakening on college and university campuses. He’s also our social media whiz.
A Fredericksburg Native, Luke holds the BA in Religion, Philosophy and Communications from Christopher Newport University where he worked as an intern in the athletic department and led Thrive, a unified gathering of Christian worship for the benefit of the Christopher Newport Community. Support Luke’s ministry among us here.
Rachel is discerning her calling at the intersection of business and ministry. She is passionate about helping students and young adults develop as whole-life disciples of Jesus. She’s our business whiz and keeps us on task. She was selected as part of the 2018 Uptick Cohort, a leadership development experience offered by the Spence Network.
A Michigan native, Rachel holds the BBA in Business Management with a Human Resources Concentration from James Madison University where she led Young Life and helped start a local business from scratch. A gifted musician, she sings with The Walking Roots Band. Support Rachel’s ministry among us here.
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Believing we are created for communion with God in all things, we offer creative opportunities for prayer, discipleship and deep relationship.