Theological Field Education
Welcome from the Director
Theological Field Education (TFE) is where what is learned in the classroom, and what one brings from life experience, meets the needs and hopes of the wider church. In the process, students learn new skills, develop new competencies, and grow in their ability to be engaging and dynamic leaders in the church and in the world. TFE at General Seminary is an exciting and synthetic experience; the choice of a field education site, made together with the Director of Field Education, is itself an exercise of theological self-reflection. Sites are chosen based on the call experienced by the student. This call can come in the form of recognizing a desire for new dimensions of pastoral experience, or in the form of seeking to use skills already won in new and exciting ways. In either case, the student will be called to growth in the process, and to expand the horizons of what is known and done in and for the church and world. Our past and present field education sites include urban and suburban Episcopal and Lutheran parishes (including "emerging church" congregations), prisons, schools, the Seamen's Church Institute, Interweave Center for Wholistic Living, the Ali Forney Center, the New York Fire Department and other diverse settings for ministry. Students are always encouraged to bring forward new and engaging ideas for consideration.
Mentorship is an important aspect of TFE. The student's primary mentor helps in determining learning goals, particular tasks to be accomplished, and in determining evaluative criteria for quality, progress, and achievement together with the student and the Director of Field Education. Students serving in parishes are encouraged to seek a Lay Committee in addition to the primary mentor (who is typically but not always a clergy person) for an enhanced experience of feedback and evaluation.
If you have questions or would like more information, please contact me; I look forward to hearing from you.
The Rev. James H. Reho, Ph.D.
Chaplain and Director of Pastoral Care, Deployment, and Formation
Director of Field Education
tel: 212.243.5150 ext. 296
We ask students and mentors to abide by these deadlines:
- Learning-Serving Contract forms are due by the last day of classes of the term before field education commences. A new Contract is not required for Easter term for students who are remaining in the same field education site for an academic year.
- Learning-Serving Covenant forms are due no later than three weeks after the first day of classes. The Learning-Serving Covenant must be completed by this date to receive TFE credit. A new Covenant is not required for Easter term for students who are remaining in the same field education site for an academic year, although it may be modified based on the first semester's experience.
- Term End Evaluation forms are due in to the Director's office no later than 3:00 p.m. on the last day of exams of each semester. For Michaelmas 2012, this date is Friday, December 14.
These and all other Department of Field Education forms are found at the bottom of this page.
Theological Field Education is a guided learning experience, under qualified supervision, that focuses on developing pastoral skills, knowledge, and habits for the work of ministry. It has three fundamental dimensions: a) Practical experiences, b) reflection upon those experiences, and c) integration with the student's course work in seminary. The New York metropolitan area offers a rich environment for experiencing and participating in ministry in diverse contexts and neighborhoods, and students are invited to explore the varied possibilities available.
- Education, spiritual formation, and new programming
- Church admnistration, management, and stewardship/finances
- Preaching and liturgical leadership/planning
- Pastoral care, counseling, and spiritual direction (the latter for students pursuing the Certificate in Spiritual Direction)
- Public leadership, social ministries, and community organizing
After this period of reflection, students may contact/visit various parishes or other ministry sites (including, but not limited to: prison ministry, spirituality centers, service and care organizations, and emergent ministries) and be in conversation with the Director of FIeld Education. New ideas for field educataion experiences are always welcome! The Director of Field Education is available to help in this discernment process and should be contacted early by the student to partner in exploration and conversation. Once the student has chosen a site and has spoken with the Director of Field Education about his/her choice, s/he is invited to complete a Learning-Serving Contract form between the student and the mentor. While most students take TFE courses during the academic terms, intensive field education courses over the summer or January term are also possible. Please contact the Director if you are interested in these.
There is a small stipend in the form of a scholarship contribution that is required of the field education site. This is both to deepen the commitment of the site to the seminarian and to allow the site to hold the seminarian to greater accountability. Unlike other seminary stipendiary systems, ours is based on a distributist system that eliminates inequality: struggling organizations are allowed to pay substantially less than financially healthy organizations, and all monies given to the Theological Education Scholarship Fund are distributed equally among students. Financially healthy ministry sites are asked to contribute $700.00 for the academic year for a student taking TFE 1 & 2 (a minimum of six hours of student work per week), and $1500.00 for the academic year for a student taking TFE 3 & 4 (a minimum of 12 hours of student work per week). In addition to this contribution, ministry sites are asked to reimburse students for their transportation costs. Struggling ministry sites (defined as sites dependent upon grants to pay operating expenses, and/or parish churches with "mission" or "emergent" status) are asked to contribute much less: $200.00 for the academic year for students taking TFE 1 & 2, and $500.00 for the year for students taking TFE 3 & 4. These stipend amounts, much less than those of neighboring seminaries, are due to the Office of the Chaplain with the End of Term Evaluation for the Michaelmas term.
Placement work is expected by the weekend of the first day of classes each semester. If for some reason this is not possible, please contact the Director of Field Education as soon as possible. The Learning-Serving Covenant is due withing the first three weeks of the experience and will be based on setting, and measuring success in, goals relating to the fivefold list of ministry core competencies. The Evaluations are due on the last day of classes of each semester. Below you will find the current Theological Field Education forms as .pdf files for printing.