We received the unfortunate word last week that Trinity will not be assigned an intern for the 2018-2019 school year.
Seminary education is changing rapidly and looks very different than it did even just 10 years ago. Now, over half of the students studying at Luther Seminary in St. Paul are participating in “Distributive Learning.” That is, the majority of their classes are being taken online, and they live in their home communities. This is very different than it was when I studied, and everyone moved to St. Paul to study.
For the upcoming school year, there were 71 individuals who were eligible to be interns through Luther Seminary. But 55 of them geographically restricted, to do internship in the communities where they already lived. That left only 16 available for traditional internship sites like Trinity. And of course, there were far more sites available than that.
When my friend, Tim Coltvet, who directs the program at Luther called to let me know, he felt bad about having to make the call. “Trinity is a great internship site! We all feel badly that there isn’t a good match for you this year.”
Now, there is a small chance that if anything changes in the next couple of months, that they could call us back with a possibility. But those chances are slim.
Trinity’s Personnel Commission and Congregational Council will need to wrestle now with the question of whether our internship program is still sustainable. We have had a fantastic history. Our current intern pastor, Madison, is Trinity’s 60th intern!
However, as you probably remember, this isn’t the first time this has happened:
- In 2014, we were not assigned an intern. We were blessed that Christopher Leach was willing to stay and serve an additional year after his internship was complete.
- In 2015 we were initially told that we would not have an intern. However then because of a unique situation, Andrew Lewis, a student at Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, needed an internship site in Minnesota, so Luther Seminary called us back and asked if we would consider that option.
So now, with no intern in 2018, it means that in 3 out of 5 years, we were told no, and in 2 out of 5 years, that became a reality.
Our problem is that we don’t think that our pastoral staffing can be dependent from year-to-year on if we have an intern or not.
So Trinity’s leadership is going to need to wrestle with this, pray and seek God’s will for our future.
We will definitely keep the congregation “in the loop” as our conversations progress. In the meantime, I have full confidence in our leadership to make the best decisions, and in our staff to keep things running smoothly.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!