Date: May 24, 2021
Deeper wisdom, and sharpened skills come from the experiences of Contextual Ministry, grounded in faith and rooted in knowledge. For some students, the year of formal learning through contextual ministry has just come to an end, and for others, it is just beginning with summer intensives and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). For all, it is an opportunity to engage in learning that seeks to weave together the gifts and experiences of ministry prior to seminary and the knowledge they are gaining through the rigors of coursework.
The Contextual Ministry (CXM) sites are as diverse as the student body itself and represent the variety of ways people are called to proclaim the gospel. Throughout this year students are serving in congregations and schools, in prisons and hospitals. The challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic have meant learning to do ministry in creative ways. Communication tools, old and new have been deployed for the arts of preaching, pastoral care, and formation. Telephone chaplaincy, blogs and podcasts, electronic newsletters that are also mailed, and the recording of liturgies and sermons are now all experiences with which our seminarians are familiar.
As we all eagerly look forward to returning to worship in person, learning in small groups without a screen, and enjoying deep conversations over coffee, we have a deeper understanding of the essentials of ministry and how to increase access to the gospel that we are called to share. Our students will continue to mine this past year of CXM for a good while, integrating lessons learned as they engage the world as spiritual leaders.
The Rev. Canon Altagracia Pérez-Bullard, Ph.D.
Director of Contextual Ministry and
Assistant Professor of Practical Theology