Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 1, 2013 was a significant date in VTS history. After years of visioning and preparation, the Ministry Residence Program was finally launched! Six intrepid M.Div. students arrived at their host congregations to begin full-time summer internships. After spending their first two years of residential theological education immersed in foundational studies, Emily Lukanich (Christ Church, Alexandria), Annie Pierpoint (St. Paul’s, Alexandria), Jean Beniste (St. Paul’s, K Street), George Wong (St. Luke’s, Bethesda), Megan Dembi (Christ Church, Kensington), and Melinda Artman (St. John’s, Ellicott City) now begin two years of cohort-based, intensive contextual theological education.

The summer internship is designed for MRP students to conduct a congregational study of their new learning environment, and to lay the groundwork for a senior year in a flipped classroom. Beginning in September, Emily, Annie, Jean, George, Megan, and Melinda will spend 30 hours per week immersed in congregational life. Supervised by an experienced rector, the first MRP cohort will work with the program director, the Rev. Alvin Johnson, parish leadership, Dr. Allison St. Louis and other VTS faculty, to complete a series of modules that satisfy their remaining degree requirements and equip them for effective ordained leadership. Areas of focused study will include: congregational administration, identity and dynamics; homiletics; Christian formation; liturgics; multicultural, ecumenical, and interfaith issues; and pastoral care.

Each week the MRP cohort members will return to campus on Tuesdays to participate in colloquy, seminars, and wider community life. They will take at least one regular course each semester and attend the Wednesday Seminary Eucharist whenever possible. Following graduation, MRP students will transition into a full-time paid ministry residency year in their host congregations.

Congratulations MRP Cohort One! Your willingness (and the generosity of the Lilly Foundation) to commit to “field education on steroids” is bringing new life to VTS and the wider church!

Lisa Kimball, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Dean of Students
Director, Center for the Ministry of Teaching