Kerri Allen, a third-year Master of Divinity student from St. Paul, Minn., who is anticipating her graduation in May, has been invited to serve in a two-year Pastoral Residency Program at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. She will be the first graduate from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary to be among a long line of pastoral residents asked to serve in the congregational program.
The Pastoral Residency Program is an initiative of Lilly Endowment and coordinated by the Fund for Theological Education to foster a healthy transition from seminary studies to various ministry fields. In the Transition-into-Ministry Program at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Allen will be nurtured as a new pastor to develop good “leadership habits and practices that will enrich and deepen congregational life,” according to the FTE website. In addition to the congregation-based programs, institution-based programs work with institutions and denominational agencies to offer programs and research projects in the formation of newly graduated seminarians.
Lilly Endowment Inc. reports that it has invested $38 million, since the program was initiated in 1999, and made grants to 31 institutions and congregations, including Chicago’s Fourth Presbyterian, where The Rev. Dr. John Buchanan is Head of Staff. The Transition-into-Ministry Program is similar to a medical school “residency” model, in which new pastors serve in a “teaching congregation before assuming leadership of their own church.”
Allen, who admits to ignoring God’s call ministry for many years before enrolling in seminary, will graduate from Louisville Seminary in May. Prior to attending LPTS, she served as a political appointee in local, state, and federal government.
“Being at LPTS has helped me explore how our faith intersects with my life-long passion for advocacy and social justice. I continue to believe that our faith should define who we are, and that our advocacy should be a reflection of that faith. Social advocacy is one demonstration of our core values. The institution and scholars at LPTS maintain that same passion and focus, and that passion and focus are reflected in the vigorous intellectual discourse and deep pastoral presence on campus,” she said.
"Kerri Allen has been a gift of grace to Louisville Seminary, and we lift her to God in faith, hope, and love as she prepares to serve a truly faithful and exemplary congregation. Kerri embodies the historic gifts of Christian ministry: the minister as pastor, preacher, teacher and leader,” said Louisville Seminary President Dean K. Thompson upon learning of Allen’s appointment.
In anticipating the residency in Chicago, Allen said she is excited to have an opportunity to serve in a church with a rich history of urban ministry engagement.
“Fourth has a rich history in the City of Chicago and in the Presbyterian Church. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to begin my service in ministry at Fourth with the diversity of their pastoral staff and the significant presence, mission, and outreach that Fourth has in Chicago,” she said.