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Varieties of Field Experience

Congregational Staff Positions


Field Education in a congregational setting is provided for the student in a congregation where there is a pastor trained in supervision and willing to partner with the faculty of the Practical Theology in Congregations (PTC) course. This is a part-time placement (14 hours per week), and is required for the MDiv degree.

The congregational position provides experience in a broad range of pastoral work including worship leadership, preaching, pastoral care, mission, Christian education, youth, and administration. Because such positions require biblical, theological, and pastoral understandings, these positions are open only to second and third year students.

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Church Supply Positions


Students who already serve as full or part-time pastors in a congregation are required to engage in a year of field education with supervision. Ordinarily this year of required supervision is done during the second year of seminary. Their current place of ministry may be used as the site for Practical Theology in Congregations (PTC) class. They will be required to work concurrently with an individual supervisor provided by their denomination or in group supervision with a supervisor provided by the seminary.

After successfully completing the two units of PTC and the year of supervised ministry, the student may be given two additional field education credits for previous ministry work. See "Policy on Field Education Credit for Previous Ministry."

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Internships


At Louisville Seminary, most Field Education experiences, which are part-time, are called "placements." Full-time experiences (40 hours per week) are called "internships." For students who wish to take a year’s full-time internship, the Field Education Office provides information on congregations and agencies qualified to work with a student. The internship is open to students who have satisfactorily completed three semesters of academic work and two units of field experience.

In addition, a three (3) credit independent study must be completed during the internship. Upon returning from such an intensive experience, students usually find themselves highly motivated for the remainder of their academic preparation. They are also guided by a clearer understanding of areas in which they need to do further work.

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Agency Placements


Students work in various agencies such as retirement and nursing facilities, social agencies, and social issue related ministries.

A limited number of field education placements are available with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Center where students work in various divisions and program agencies and gain a national perspective through working with experienced servants of the church.
 
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Clinical Pastoral Education


CPE provides another category of field experience. The Field Education office strongly recommends that each student take advantage of the opportunity for a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at some point during the seminary career. Some denominations require CPE. This training facilitates the clarification of pastoral identity and the development of skills for ministry in times of personal crisis.

(See "Policy on Clinical Pastoral Education")

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