A recent article in The Christian Century by Celeste Kennel-Shank features Bexley Seabury Seminary’s revised M.Div. program, which integrates field education throughout seminarians’ education. The Chicago seminary's newly relaunched M.Div. program requires students to work with faculty, pastors, congregational leaders, and parishioners in a real-world context as they simultaneously take courses, both online and in person.
Bexley Seabury, a federation of two Episcopal seminaries, has already been through a financial crisis since its inception in 2012. The federation's leaders see the new degree program as risky but necessary for the success of the school.
In the program’s new model, each seminarian is matched with a supervising clergy member who works with the seminarian throughout the program's three years, offering training and mentoring in a congregational setting. In the program's final year, seminarians complete paid internships on the parish staff.
KyungJa Oh, director of field education and formation at the school, anticipates that the program will change and evolve as she receives feedback from program participants and partners. This flexibility is key, she says. For the new model to be successful, the school must “be very careful that we are not removing a rigid program and inserting another rigid program.”
It will be interesting to see how the school’s new M.Div. develops and how students, clergy, and parishioners respond as they participate. We’re also interested in hearing from you, the readers, on other programs you know of that may be doing similar work. Has your school come up with other innovations to meet seminarians’, parishioners’, and clergy’s evolving needs?
You can read more about Bexley Seabury’s program at The Christian Century.
Photo Information: Bexley Seabury, located on the campus of Chicago Theological Seminary. Photo courtesy Chicago Theological Seminary.
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