Office of Contextual Education
Contextual Education is an integral part of the degree programs offered at PLTS. Our office oversees the field education requirements for various degree programs, including: Teaching Parish, Clinical Pastoral Education, Cross Cultural Experience, Internship, and the Evangelism and Justice concentration.
Teaching Parish is a field education component of the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree program that provides students the occasion to explore and discover the joys, challenges, and opportunities for ministry and leadership in the congregation. Teaching Parish is concurrent with classroom work and allows the student to apply and contextualize what they are learning and discovering in the classroom. This concurrent nature also deepens the learning in the classroom as the student brings new questions and insights from the parish to the classroom.
Clinical Pastoral Education
Clinical Pastoral Education is a program of supervised, experience-based learning in pastoral care certified by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). CPE brings theological students and ministers from different denominations and faiths into supervised clinical settings in which students provide care for persons in crisis. Through feedback from peers and teachers in the group setting, students develop new awareness of themselves as persons and of the needs of those to whom they minister.
Cross-cultural experience is a required and supervised emersion experience which ordinarily takes place over the course of three weeks during the January intersession in a student‘s second year, and after completing the Ministry Across Cultures class. Groups of five or more students immerse themselves in specific sites by participating in the day-to-day and worship lives of diverse congregations and communities including African-American, Latino, Asian, Indigenous, and multicultural contexts.
Candidates for ELCA ordination are required to complete a 12 month, full-time internship in a congregation or a combination agency-congregation site, under the supervision of an experienced pastor. The purpose of internship is to facilitate the development of vocational skills and pastoral formation. Supervising pastors work with students in the various areas of pastoral ministry and reflect with them about their learning and growth in regular supervisory sessions.
Evangelism and Justice Concentration
This concentration is meant for students who have an interest in focusing more deeply on how to share faith stories effectively in the changing dynamics of the new century as well as exploring new ways of doing and being church that are welcoming of and in service to those who traditionally have been marginalized by the mainstream. This will happen through a combination of classroom work, salon discussions, training sessions with ELCA staff, and networking with those engaged in such ministries within the larger church.