|Department of Field Education facilitates and oversees a series of courses and programs involving the practice of ministry and reflection on both the practice and the context. Our hope is that the integration of practice with study will produce church leaders who pray and think theologically about their ministry. |
During the junior year, seminarians are encouraged to visit a variety of churches among the more than 60 parish field sites in the greater Washington area available each year. Experienced, trained supervisors, who minister out of a diversity of liturgical and theological traditions, serve in a variety of church settings: urban, suburban, rural; church-plants, multi-cultural congregations, historic churches; no staff and multi-staff. Through a process of reflecting on the visits with the director of field education and interviewing with supervisors, seminarians negotiate a field placement of twelve hours a week which begins in September of the middler year.
Other possible field sites include education, health, and prison institutions where a seminarian may take the role of chaplain. Positions in non-Episcopalian church institutions may also be negotiated.
Click here for Google Map of Field Ed Sites.
Satisfactory completion of nine credits (three semesters) of concurrent field education is the requirement for M.Div. seminarians, and most seminarians experience deeper involvement and learning by remaining in the same placement for two years. The seminarian-site contract is negotiated annually, however, and seminarians are encouraged to seek the site and supervisor which best provide experience and reflection related to their learning goals.
Some seminarians elect to fulfill part of this three semester requirement by doing a four-week January Term or an eight-week Summer Term of Field Education. Field Education in the January or Summer Term must be pre-registered and approved by the Field Education Director. Learning in field education, which is concurrent with academic courses, is achieved at several levels. Most obvious are the practical skills of ministry — the "how to" of learning. Growth in personal and professional identity is crucial — the deeper discovery of "who I am." The integration of their study of the Christian heritage and their practice of ministry occurs when the seminarian reflects theologically on events in ministry — "How is God active in all this?"
Field Education Colloquy is a weekly small group reflection seminar designed to facilitate learning on each of these levels with one’s peers. Accounts of actual events in which the seminarian has been involved become the basis of reflective learning, as seven or eight seminarians meet with three mentors: a faculty member, a lay person, and a parish priest, in both semesters of the middle year. Colloquy is a key opportunity to learn on the integrative level. Also, in the middle and senior years, each seminarian in field education normally has the opportunity to reflect weekly with an individual supervisor and monthly with a lay committee, comprised of parish members who are committed to assisting in the formation process.
Written evaluations completed by both seminarian and supervisor at the end of each semester become the basis of a grade (Satisfactory, Conditional, Unsatisfactory) assigned by the Director of Field Education.
To help defray the expenses of participation in the field education program, seminarians are offered grants from the Seminary. These grants are made possible by contributions to the field education program from participating field sites plus income from a special field education fund of the Seminary. Seminarians may not receive direct payment for services from a field site.