Date: May 25, 2021
The opportunity to learn and reflect on the experiences of contextual ministry will be ongoing for most students. Especially given the very different experience of Contextual Ministry (CXM) during the COVID-19 pandemic, many students will continue to participate in their ministry sites, to learn from the many decisions and practices that will be part of shifting back to in-person ministry.
Supervisors and Lay Support Teams are key teachers, mentors, and companions in this learning experience. They journey with students as they live into their growing identities as spiritual leaders. Supervisors and LST members guide, encourage, and teach the various aspects of ministry practiced in their community to students. They are conversation partners in the critical work of theological reflection and skills assessment, supporting seminarians as they lean into their growing edges and offer their well-honed gifts and skills to the work of ministry at their sites.
Paul B. Pedersen, in writing about culturally competent counseling, describes the cultural reality of caregivers and care seekers as a gathering of thousands, where all who we have encountered and learned from are present. These cultural teachers provide depth and richness to our practice of ministry.
For each student engaged in CXM their supervisors and LST members become part of this resource of cultural teachers available to strengthen their ministries. The learning undertaken by seminarians would be poor without their participation and we at Virginia Theological Seminary are grateful to them for their service in the ongoing formation of these ministers of the Gospel.
The Rev. Canon Altagracia Perez-Bullard, Ph.D.
Director of Contextual Ministry and
Assistant Professor of Practical Theology