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Seminary Students Dig into Ministry

Rene Hostetter Rene Hostetter leads a chapel on AIDS awareness at EMS.

By Laura Lehman Amstutz

As second-year Eastern Mennonite University students anticipate the start of the new school year, they usually think about one thing – the internship. Seventeen second-year seminary students began internships this fall.

The internship is part of the "Formation in Ministry" course, required for students in the three-year master of divinity and two-year master of arts in church leadership programs.

This year’s internships are varied. Two students are working with EMU campus ministries, several are involved with local emerging churches, and one student is working at a camp and retreat center for part of her internship.

Linda Alley, who is also director of the Congregational Resource Center at the seminary, is focusing her internship on spiritual formation at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren where her husband Robert is pastor.

"Since my internship focuses on spiritual direction rather than pastoral ministry, my big question is 'How does the ministry of spiritual direction work in a congregation?'," said Alley, "I hope to answer that question as I visit, lead worship, meet with various smaller groups and offer individual spiritual guidance."

Mike Metzler is working with The Table, a developing church on EMU's campus. One of his primary goals is to work at preaching in a way that invites conversation and response from the congregation. Another goal, he said, is “to learn to care for myself in the midst of ministry.

"My ministry feedback committee was firm in helping me see that I can only give care if I can first receive it from myself and others," Metzler said.

"I'm most excited not by what I'm doing but who I'm doing it with," continued Metzler. "I’m excited about the community of people present at The Table and the things that we’re learning together as we gather around the biblical text and discern who God is and who we are called to be."

Rene Hostetter is working in the area of spiritual guidance with EMU campus ministries.

"I’m working with student pastoral assistants on campus, nurturing their spiritual life through modeling, mentoring, discipling, and spiritual friendship," Hostetter explained.

"I have a huge passion for young adult ministries," Hostetter said. "This internship is one way to test and further discern that call. My passion is to nurture, guide, encourage and inspire young adults with God’s redeeming love and grace in order that they may experience God's healing and wholeness."

Several second-year students already have pastoral responsibilities in the congregations where they will get internship credit.

Tommy Crosby is beginning his second year as the senior pastor of West Augusta United Methodist Church.

Linda Alley leads worship at EMS.

"I think the structure of the class and the input from other classmates as we reflect together on what it means to be in ministry will clarify my work in the church," said Crosby.

"This class is providing me with time to reflect and to challenge myself to grow in the areas where I feel the weakest," he continued, noting that “spending more time in visitation” in his congregation is one of his major learning goals for the year.

"I have also felt a great sense of encouragement from the class and my feedback committee," said Crosby. "This encouragement is helping me become more confident in handling tough situations in the church.”

The internship requires spending at least 12 hours a week in a ministry setting and meeting with a supervisor and a feedback committee from that ministry setting.

Field education, such as internships in Formation in Ministry, provides opportunity for students to discern, test gifts and reflect on their practice of ministry,” said Kenton Derstine, director of field education at EMS .

For more information on field education at EMS contact Kenton Derstine 540-432-4565 or derstine@emu.edu.

posted 9/25/07