Teaching Sunday School & Ministry
All Saints is a small (150 active members with a ASA of 52 in 2014) Episcopal church in suburban Cook County. We are a somewhat progressive church (best described as “moveable middle”) that serves a white, middle to upper-middle-class community and prioritizes Christian formation, pastoral care, and outreach. The style of worship would fall on the low end of the “broad church” spectrum of Anglican worship – communion is celebrated weekly, but in a relaxed and informal manner. Following a difficult period with a former pastor, All Saints is in “recovery mode” in many ways, but is overall a healthy community that cares deeply for its members. In 2014 the church called its first female permanent pastor (the Rev. Kate Spelman; see below), with the hopes of helping the church rebound from declining membership and attendance. Energy and satisfaction with the church seems remarkably improved. The church body contains many multi-generational families and folks who have belonged to the church for many decades, but appears to be working towards major change, imagining itself as a part of the wider Western Springs and Cook County communities and seeking new ways to serve its neighbors (while continuing to ask “Who is my neighbor?”). We encourage students to view our website or our active Facebook site www.facebook.com/allsaintsws to see our church in action. (We find Facebook easier to update and a better platform for interactive online outreach!)
STUDENT PLACEMENT OPPORTUNITIES:
This site is a good introduction to the problems and blessings of small church ministry. The average attendance of an Episcopal church was reported at 61 for the calendar year 2014; during the academic year we are just around that size. An intern will be given the opportunity to preach, teach, lead small groups of children and adults and to innovate programming as their passions and the church’s needs align.
STUDENT PLACEMENT EXPECTATIONS:
We are currently attempting to hire a part-time person to manage our Sunday school for children. Provided that this hiring process is successful, the intern will be free to pursue their own process of discernment. If not, they may end up providing significant support to our small Sunday school. However, the intern will still be welcomed in the pulpit and every effort will be made to make the internship rewarding for the student.
PHILOSOPHY OF STUDENT SUPERVISION:
It’s been said that seminaries teach students to be seminarians, and churches teach students to be pastors. All Saints is a uniquely compassionate and earnest place, with a real interest in caring for clergy and preparing them for ministry to the Church and world. Lay people are actively, theologically engaged and the parish’s small size affords many opportunities for small group ministry and active feedback. All Saints has proved tolerant of experimentation in many areas, especially worship and formation. We would be happy to form a lay oversight committee to provide additional feedback and support for the intern, as desired.
I am a natural extrovert, and prefer to lead by consensus and conversation rather than command. I’m happy to have a church council that challenges and provokes me, and have worked in the past year to move them beyond thinking of themselves as a rubber stamp committee. However, I have low tolerance for ambiguity, and prefer to create and assign specific tasks with measurable outcomes, which makes me grateful for the structure and accountability of the learning agreement. I have been heavily influenced by the idea that church can be a “learning community” where experimentation and innovation is desired and failure is to be embraced when it occurs as an opportunity to learn and improve. I am constantly looking for ways to improve my leadership and pastoring, and look forward to learning from my intern, too.
Yes, we will offer a stipend. We anticipate being able to provide $1,500/semester, subject to budget wrangling.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS:
All Saints is accesible via Metra BNSF line (departs from Union station).
OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION:
Well! There’s a lot. But most of it would be best explored in an in-person conversation. We’d like to reiterate that we are happy to consider students from all backgrounds/faith affiliations, as well as those with diverse interests and motivations for pursuing the MDiv. More important is to find someone energized by in-person ministry and willing to try and fail as we mutually discern the best way forward for All Saints and create a rewarding internship year.