Historic commitment to field education is the focus of 150th Convocation
Louisville, Ky., August 1, 2002
– Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary was one of the first theological schools to offer field education. For more than 50 years, the Seminary has integrated practical experience with classroom instruction, providing hands-on training in supervised parish, counseling, social agency, hospital, and prison ministry.
On September 12, 2002, Louisville Seminary will celebrate its historical commitment to field education at the opening Convocation of the 150th academic year. The service will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Frank H. and Fannie W. Caldwell Chapel, located on the Seminary campus.
Dr. F. Morgan Roberts, interim director of the Field Education program will deliver the convocation address, The Making of a Minister,
based on the scripture First Corinthians 2:1-8.
Roberts was pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pa., from 1984-1994. In his retirement, he served churches as interim pastor, including First Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Ky. A member of the Seminary’s Board of Trustees since 1970, Roberts relinquished his post on the Board to direct the field education program following the May 2001 retirement of Dr. George Carter.
Integrating theological study with practical ministry can be a key component of a seminarian’s educational process. Students often discern their particular focus for ministry through the experiences they have in the field.
Louisville Seminary’s Field Education
commitment is unique among other seminary programs in that multiple units of field education are required for all Master of Divinity students; as much as four units are taken beginning as early as the first semester of seminary. The program allows students to gain experience in a variety of ministry settings. During one year a student may serve in a parish and during the next year serve as a hospital chaplain or work at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) national offices. While the program is demanding, field education is the primary reason given by students for their choice of Louisville Seminary, and it is the most valuable education experience cited by its alumni/ae.
As early as 1897, Louisville Seminary began an offsite ministry called the John Little Mission. Six seminarians rented a former lottery building on Preston Street, where they led worship and taught Sunday school. Nearly 50 children from Louisville’s Smoketown area attended each week. The historic enterprise led to two Presbyterian Churches – Grace and Hope, now Grace-Hope Presbyterian Church – and the ongoing Presbyterian Community Center.
In 1941 the Seminary began a more formal program of field education. With the help of Presbyterian bodies in Indiana, Louisville Seminary created the Todd-Dickey Rural Training Parish to address concerns about the future of small churches and the lack of ministers to serve them. One student was placed in each of the 12 congregations, and C. Morton Hanna became their mentor and supervisor of the program. By 1944 supervised field education became a requirement for graduation.
During the Fall Convocation, Louisville Seminary will honor the many historic relationships that have been built through the Field Education program. The ability to offer such a comprehensive field program would be impossible were it not for the congregations, local hospitals, counseling and social service agencies that create meaningful positions and the supervisors who provide training and mentoring. In the same way, some ministry sites could not survive without the support and leadership of the Louisville Seminary students who serve there. The Field Education program reaches ministry needs throughout Kentucky, Indiana and as far away as Illinois and Ohio.
Convocation is an annual event that is free of charge and open to the public. For more information, contact the Office of Communications at extension 460, or by e-mail
, or visit the 150th web pages