Date: July 26, 2022
Masters of Divinity students come to VTS with a wide variety of backgrounds and a wide variety of vocational goals. It is no surprise, therefore, that each of their contextual ministry placements varies widely as well. Over the years, we have curated more than 100 sites that students can consider for ministry placement. These include more traditional multi-staffed urban and suburban parishes, as well as church plants and parishes with no full-time staff at all. In addition, students can also elect to serve at sites such as schools, hospitals, prisons, retirement communities, and community organizations. For three credits, students are expected to spend around 160 hours at their ministry sites.
During the semester, the student meets with her or his supervisor weekly, and with a lay support team several times as well. These sessions are times for theological reflection as well as feedback on professional and personal development. Along with Colloquy (more below), the student thus has several rich venues for the kind of regular and deep reflection that supports growth.
In lieu of a year-long Formation and Advising Group, Colloquy is a dedicated block throughout the semester in which five to twelve Middler Seminarians and two facilitators gather weekly in confidential small groups to reflect on and further integrate CXM experiences into ministerial identity and practice. Following a prescribed structure, the groups explore and reflect theologically on experiences, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about ministry.
The goal of Colloquy is to develop the art and skill of theological reflection, on faith, identity, and ministry. This time of reflection and sharing and exploring allows an opportunity to reflect on God’s presence and activity in our ministries. The practice of theological reflection supports and challenges our desire to become faithful spiritual leaders. Specifically, theological reflection strengthens our ability to make decisions, act, and reflect on decisions and actions in light of our understanding of God.
The Rev. Melody Knowles, Ph.D.
Vice President of Academic Affairs & Associate Professor of Old Testament
Acting Director of Contextual Ministry (Spring 2022)