Chicago Theological Seminary is one of seven Seminaries of the United Church of Christ and our roots are in the Congregationalist tradition, a predecessor of the UCC. While the UCC represents the largest single group of students at CTS, over half of our students come from other Christian traditions, as well as Unitarian, Jewish, and Muslim communities. The faith traditions of our faculty are also diverse, including UCC, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, as well as a rabbi representing Reform Judaism.
Our relationship with churches is both reciprocal and mutually beneficial. Local congregations send us students, often providing support for their theological education. Many churches serve as important field education sites. And over the years, local congregations and their members have been generous donors to CTS, providing vital support for our educational programs and scholarship assistance.
In return, many CTS graduates go on to serve as pastors of local congregations, as chaplains in various church related institutional settings, and as leaders of faith based non-profit organizations. CTS takes seriously its responsibility in preparing the next generation of women and men for transformative religious leadership in church and society.
Theological education is not solely the task of seminary schools. Congregations and other organizations are essential partners in ministerial formation.
At CTS, we encourage outside ministries to become our partners in this mutually beneficial endeavor. We invite you to become a place where our students can do their all-important fieldwork.
All our M.Div. students must complete two units of Theological Field Education. One in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), where they explore and develop their own ministry practices while caring for persons in need. And another in Field Placement, where they serve within a congregation or a faith-related organization.
Becoming a Field Placement Site
We are constantly seeking organizations interested in hosting our seminary interns to the mutual benefit of all. We look for a rich diversity of sites and hope that they will uphold a similar expression of our mission, vision and commitments.
While CPE must take place at specific sites accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, field placement may take place in a variety of settings based on our students’ interests and needs. To that end, we are excited to partner with:
- congregations within the United Church of Christ and United Methodist Church, with whom CTS is affiliated;
- congregations from the rich diversity of other denominations – mirroring the diverse faith commitments of our student body;
- college and university departments of religious life and chaplaincy;
- health care organizations, such as hospitals, eldercare facilities, hospice agencies, etc.;
- faith-based and interfaith organizations such as homeless shelters, eco-justice organizations, arts programs, health and advocacy organizations, community organizing agencies, counseling centers, faith-based political advocacy groups, interfaith councils and more.
Each student will work with her/his supervisor to create a Learning Covenant, outlining the students’ role, responsibilities and objectives for the year.
Information for Supervisors
Field Placement Site Supervisors are important members of our CTS learning community; they are experienced clergy, religious and community leaders who have a great commitment to their ministries. They are guides for the journey; practical theologians, as well as teachers.
Students meet with their supervisors on a weekly basis, for their vocational and spiritual formation. These experiences will hopefully provide a dynamic and interactive relationship between two persons who seek to grow together in faith, thought, and action.
Information for Congregations/Organizations
It is important that congregations and organizations working with seminary interns have an understanding of what it means to be a teaching and learning community. There must be respect for the time the student’s supervisor must take for weekly supervision, and respect for the learning process – allowing students to spread their wings, explore and, at times, fail.
We encourage congregations to establish Lay Intern Committees to offer additional support and feedback to the student. A Lay Intern Committee typically has 3-5 members, who meet monthly with the student and are able to witness the student’s work in a variety of areas.
Do we need to provide a stipend or salary?
CTS does not require that field placement sites provide stipends for student interns. However, our students are – naturally -- delighted and grateful when such funds are available. In addition, the process of incorporating field placement stipends into your annual budget can be an important step in a congregation or organization’s development toward identifying as a teaching community.
If you are considering offering a stipend, any amount can be helpful. Some congregations simply do what they can to assist with transportation costs, others may help a student cover some of her/his tuition, and some offer an amount recommended by their denominational or national body. If you need help finding funds, many denominations have small grant available to help offer financial assistance to students. Rev. Crowder is glad to talk with you, as well, if you have further questions or concerns about stipends.
How do we begin?
If you are interested in the ministerial formation of our future leaders, please contact Rev. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder at 773.896.2423. If you are ready to express your interest formally, please complete this Site Description Form, and email, fax or mail to Stephanie at:
Mail: 1407 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
Stephanie will contact you to arrange a site visit so we can learn more about your organization – and you can learn more about CTS and our field education program. In the meantime, please feel free to download our current Theological Field Education handbook.
Once we have agreed to move forward in partnership, students will have access to your Site Description Form. as well as any other information you would like to provide. Students who are interested in your site will contact you directly. They will provide a Student Information Form, along with any other materials that you may request, such as a resume or other ministerial records.
Please note that CTS cannot guarantee that we will be able to place a student with your organization during any given year; our placements depend as much upon our students’ own vocational interests as they do the availability of partner sites and supervisors. Our students are also aware that their interest in a particular organization does not guarantee placement at that site.
We are grateful for your interest in Theological Field Education at Chicago Theological Seminary. Together, as a community, let us indeed strengthen our response to God’s call!
Resources for Local Congregations
CTS is committed to creating Leaders for the Next -- and you are our partners in this mission. We’d like to hear how we can assist you in building your ministries. We would also like to extend the resources of the academy to you as you continue your important work. It is our hope that this webpage, dedicated to our local congregations, is one small step toward continuing to build and grow our relationships with partner churches.
The Seminary has several rich resources open to you. Explore!
- Become a Field Education Site and help train a new generation of church leaders!
- Continuing Education offered through CTS
- Library Privileges
- Chapel Services: Worship is central to community life at CTS. Through worship we encounter the divine and celebrate the many gifts we have each been given. Through prayer, song, dance, as well as the preached word, we engage in worship as a diverse community seeking to both share and learn from each other. The central worship event happens in the 4th Floor Chapel each Wednesday at noon during the fall and spring semesters. To view the schedule of upcoming chapel services, visit our Community Calendar.
- Faculty & Staff Speaking/Preaching engagements
- Challenge & Response (a biannual news magazine for the CTS community)
- Post a Job Opportunity
- Partner Congregations
- Attend a Class
- Visit our the Seminary Coop Bookstore
- Sign up for CTS e-Newsletter and other seminary publications