Students at Meadville Lombard are given a unique experience to learn about ministry and spiritual leadership through the lens of real interaction with an actual congregation and nonprofit organization.
Each student in the Master of Divinity degree program at MLTS is matched with a congregation for a part-time, two-year internship. The minister at the internship congregation is considered a “Teaching Pastor” whose purpose is to be a supervisor, mentor, coach, and model for how to be effective in Unitarian Universalist ministry. During the internship, students become involved in the life of the congregation and “learn by doing”: that is, exploring how to enter into the life of a congregation, understand its people and values and, ultimately, learn how to minister to the spiritual and advocacy needs of a congregation.
A Teaching Mentor serves as a mentor for a MALS student in Community Studies. The role of a Teaching Mentor is to reflect with the student on what they are learning and how it connects with their work/ministry. The mentor will be a community leader, lay community minister or other religious professional. The biggest difference between a Teaching Mentor and a Teaching Pastor is that the student will not be serving in an internship role for the Teaching Mentor.
Current Teaching Pastors and Mentors are entitled to audit one class tuition-free each year at Meadville Lombard (registration fees apply). For more information, please contact the Director of Contextual Ministry.
Community Studies (first year) Internship: We ask you to meet with the student twice a month for at least an hour.
(Teaching Pastors only) For a MDiv student's two-year internship at a congregation, we ask you to meet with the student for at least an hour every week.
The internship starts right after the Fall Ingathering at the end of August, and runs through the end of the church year.
Students are expected to work 20 hours per week at their congregational internship.
You can use this time to help the student integrate what they are experiencing in their community or congregational internship and what they are learning in the class with their vocational interests. You can use the weekly topics in the syllabus as a guide for conversation, and there is a list of possible discussion topics in the back of the Teaching Pastor Handbook, which will be given to you when you become a Teaching Pastor.
We strongly encourage that students be paid for their internship. If that is not possible, you must be in contact with the Director of Contextual Ministry to explore other options.
We do not have a standard expectation for how many times a student should preach. Students need and want as much experience as they can get. If opportunities to preach in your congregation are few, try to find opportunities for the student to preach in the area.
As a Teaching Pastor or Mentor, you are eligible to audit one class tuition-free. You are still responsible for administrative fees. Please register as a student-at-large with our registrar, Lynn Penn-Hargrove, email@example.com. She will then give you instructions to access the course registration.