The contextual education program at The School of Theology provides an avenue for dialogue between the heritage and disciplines of faith and the congregations and people served.
In the program, students apply classroom education and theory to a particular ministry context and then reflect on that experience in the classroom, in colloquy groups, and in on-site meetings with a trained clergy mentor.
Learning occurs most effectively within a systemically balanced program of study, action, and reflection. This balance is a critical part of the formation of clergy as a “wholesome example” to the people of God. The education harvested here will set a pattern for a balanced and faithful commitment to prayer, study, and action in the student’s future life and ministry.
There are five components to contextual education.
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
Clinical Pastoral Education provides professional education for ministry by bringing theological students into supervised encounter with persons in crisis. Out of this intense involvement with persons in need, and feedback from peers and teachers, students develop new awareness of themselves as persons and of the needs of those to whom they minister.
Theory and Practice of Ministry Courses
Contextual education I and II plenary classes and colloquy groups provide an opportunity to put theory into practice and be used as the foundation for field education. Students read and discuss writings on congregational models and dynamics systems, theories and models in developing multicultural congregations and social justice ministries.
Field education provides a safe and accountable practice field for the student to learn and exercise skills of ordained leadership at an accredited field education site under the direction of a certified clergy mentor. The profiles for field education sites are far ranging in number, size, diversity, and within commuting distance of the School.
A student may choose to fulfill part of the field education requirement by participating in
a summer residential immersion experience of eight to 10 weeks in his or her sponsoring diocese or in another approved location.
Cross-Cultural Field Education
Cross-cultural field education helps students begin to reflect on their ministry in a post Christendom era by seeing the world and their racial, religious, and social group from another culture’s perspective.