Thursday, August 23, 2012

Partnering for education and vocational discernment

TO:                  Educational Institutions: colleges, universities, seminaries, and theological schools

FROM:            J. Herbert Nelson, Director for Public Witness
                        Leslie Woods, Representative for Domestic Poverty & Environmental Issues

RE:                  On Becoming Partners in Training Servant Leaders

DATE:             August 23, 2012

We celebrate with you as you begin a new academic year of education and vocational discernment. We join with you in faith and eagerness to prepare new servant leaders and ministers for the church and broader society.  Because of this commitment to formation and vocational discernment, we would like to introduce to you our Internship and Summer Fellowship for Public Witness programs.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness in Washington, DC, believes that the formation of servant leaders and advocates is essential to our ministry.  Having maintained a presence in our nation’s capital since 1946, this office serves as the prophetic social witness and advocacy office of the PC(USA), representing the General Assembly’s statements on social justice and peace to national decision-makers and to Presbyterians across the country. In 2010, we revamped our internship program to provide more opportunities for young adults (and the young in spirit) to experience a broad range of experiential, professional, and vocational learning, and to study and engage in the ecumenical and interfaith political advocacy community in Washington, DC.

Our commitment to ecumenical and interfaith political advocacy is the cornerstone of our work. Members of our staff, together with other faith partners, advocate for legislation that achieves, or at least moves us toward economic justice and poverty alleviation; comprehensive immigration reform; an end to gun violence; Middle East peace; greater support and access for persons with disabilities; a torture-free world; fair (not free) trade policies; just and sustainable food and farm policies; environmental justice, and a host of other issues.

Further, we engage the PC(USA) in this work, empowering Presbyterians at all levels of the church to exercise their rights and responsibilities as Christian citizens of a wealthy and diverse nation.  We believe that this is an excellent training ground for persons desiring to learn more about social justice work in the twenty-first century.

As you prepare your students to be responsible citizens and leaders in society and/or the church, whether ordained or lay, we hope you will consider us as a partner in your task to educate, equip, inform, and transform the minds and lives of the theological students in your care.  Our Internship and Fellowship for Public Witness programs are excellent opportunities for your students to gain new experience and new knowledge, and we are happy to comply with institutional requirements, including field education/supervised ministry requirements, so that students may receive academic credit for their service with us.

Please invite your students to visit our website or to contact our Internships coordinator, Leslie Woods at leslie [dot] woods [@], by email or by phone at (202) 543-1126.  Please distribute this information to interested students and encourage them to apply.  We look forwarding to partnering with you in the education and formation of your students.