Vanderbilt was not the first school to offer theological education in a prison. But it did pioneer the approach of having seminarians learn in company with prisoners.
You might be on a committee that thinks that a candidate needs that extra training before they ought to be ordained. They could use some time in a hospital setting or in a real world setting before they earn that REV before their name. If you are, then let me tell you something that the seminary student under your care can’t tell you: students can’t afford it any longer.
When I first came to Harvard, the weekly worship service was recognizably Protestant but flexible and welcoming. Over the years, our students have urged us toward new ways of gathering.
I'm a part-time student at a denominational seminary, where I'm working (very slowly) on an academic-track masters. It's generally been a good experience, but the school's not a perfect fit. Again and again, professors and coursework assume a ministry context.
"People need to hear the good news," says Katherine Willis Pershey of First Congregational Church in Western Springs, Illinois. "If the church doesn't take on this mission, I'm afraid—well, that's where that sentence can end. I'm afraid."
I wasn't sure how many people I would find at our first weekly Eucharist of the term. Driving was impossible, even if one mustered the will to dig out one's car for the third time in three weeks.