The Center for Faith & Leadership

Where intentional friendships rooted in Jesus change the world.


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.

Our History

IMG_0338The Center is a living room for Fredericksburg and the Mary Washington campus. 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.

Our People

Carey Sims


Contact Carey

Carey serves as Co-Director of The Center for Faith & Leadership and as a coach and spiritual director for 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.

Becca Covington

Associate Director

Contact Becca
Becca Covington gives leadership to outreach and discipleship efforts that help bring a unified Christian witness among young adults at the University of Mary Washington and in Fredericksburg. She is passionate about people and integrating life and ministry into one. Becca attended the University of Virginia and received a BS in Civil Engineering. Upon graduating in 2014, she felt the call to serve in ministry through Young Life, an organization she had volunteered with in college. She moved to Fredericksburg to work with adolescents at local middle and high schools, as well as students at UMW.  Becca deeply loves the Fredericksburg and UMW community and desires more young adults to experience personal relationship with Jesus.

Support Becca’s work among us HERE.

Gannon Sims


Contact Gannon

Gannon serves as Co-Director and pastor of The Center Community and as Director of Ministry Formation with Fresh Expressions US  where he works with church and community leaders across the nation and around the world to create new ways of being church in living rooms, at dinner tables and even in places like dog parks. He also coordinates the Fresh Expressions efforts of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, an association of 1400 churches in Virginia and 24 other states. Gannon 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 full-length album. Check it out at

Come and see

Believing we are created for communion with God in all things, we offer creative

opportunities for prayer, discipleship and deep relationship.