Most professions have some form of in-the-workplace training. For ELCA candidates of Word and Sacrament Ministry and Word and Service Ministry, an internship is a required part of the educational process.
Prior to the internship year, candidates complete two academic years of seminary study and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). The internship consists of approximately 2000 hours at an approved site. The synod and seminary arrange the internship which includes an internship supervisor and ministry site internship committee as integral parts of the process.
The ELCA requires candidates to complete satisfactorily an approved internship, which consists of supervision in a context designed to contribute to the formation of pastoral identity and the development of competencies for rostered minister. (“The Candidacy Manual,” section 6.6.5)
The NC Synod Candidacy Committee is also involved with each candidate throughout the process including a visit during their internship. An assigned committee representative meets with the intern, the supervisor, and the internship site committee. This gives an in-person opportunity to learn how things are going from all perspectives. In addition, there are mid-term reports and final reports completed by the intern, the supervisor, and the site committee.
Analyse Triolo recently completed her internship at Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan. This congregation is active in social justice issues, and provides pre-school and after-school programs to the community. Candidacy Committee member, Carole Demmy, visited Analyse at Trinity in February, 2017. The visit consisted of time spent with the intern, Analyse, her supervising pastor, the Rev. Heidi Neumark, and the Internship Committee.
Ms. Triolo writes in her final internship evaluation:
“When I first began discerning my call to ministry I was absolutely terrified because I could not see how I could be big enough or strong enough to handle the demands that ministry calls for. Thankfully I’ve learned just how little my own call is about me and how much more so it is about cultivating relationships that allow God’s people to work together to do the work of ministry together, rather than in isolation. Throughout my seminary and internship experience I’ve had my call to love and to care for God’s creations affirmed at every turn. I have also learned that having a call to ministry is in no way limited to a call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament or Word and Service, but is instead a calling to do the work of God’s mission in the world by extending that love and care into every facet of our existence, and not just our occupations.”
Internship in preparation for professional ministry in the ELCA is an opportunity to put life experience and education into practice in an actual setting where ministry is done every day.
—Story by Carole Demmy