Teaching Parish

  • Office of Contextual Education
    (510) 559-2713
  • Leslie Veen, Director
    (510) 559-2749
  • Amanda Nelson, Administrative Assistant
    (510) 559-2713

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.

What does the student do?

Teaching Parish takes place over three semesters of the M.Div. program. For those in residence for the first year it will begin during the spring semester of the first year, and fall and spring semesters of the second year. For those completing their first year of studies online, it will begin in the fall of the second year and continue through the following spring and fall semesters. During these semesters the student is expected to spend six hours per week participating, leading, and observing in the ministries of the congregation. Some examples of what a student might do range from preaching, worship leadership, pastoral care, community organizing, and meeting facilitation. Throughout the three semesters the student is expected to facilitate two meetings per semester with his or her Teaching Parish Lay Committee, meet at least once a month with the supervising pastor, and complete the Student Teaching Parish Evaluation at the end of each semester.

What is expected of the congregation and pastor?

The pastor of the congregation acts as the student’s supervisor and is expected to meet with the student at least once a month; these meetings provide time to reflect on how the work is going, highlighting both areas of strength as well as areas for growth. A Lay Committee of at least three lay members of the congregation is also established, and is expected to meet with the student at least twice each semester to reflect with the student on areas of strength as well as areas for growth. Both the supervising pastor and the Lay Committee are expected to complete evaluations at the end of each semester.

To apply to become a teaching parish site, please complete this application and return it to the Contextual Education office.

Teaching Parish Forms
Teaching Parish Manual