It is a fairly well-known fact that embarking on a traditional, residential seminary program is an expensive proposition. In a 2013 report on the state of the seminaries, Church Pension Group noted that the average tuition at an Episcopal seminary was about $14,500. Once things like books, health insurance, and living expenses are added, that number grows substantially. For example, Virginia Seminary lists its total cost of attendance for full-time Master of Divinity students between $24,500 and $35,000; and a year at Yale-Berkeley adds up to over $46,000.
The challenge of funding seminary education is not unique to the Episcopal Church. One Roman Catholic diocese in South Dakota has come up with a unique solution to help with it: a car show.
“When you think of a parking lot party with a pig roast and fast cars, you probably don’t think of the Catholic Diocese. And that’s not the only surprising thing you’ll find at the Holy Smoke Car Show at O’Gorman this weekend.
“’The Seminarians will be doing a trike race, that’s called the chase for the challis. So they got their part to play for their education,’ said Father Shaun Haggerty, St Lambert’s Pastor/ Vocational Minister for Diocese of Sioux Falls.
“… This is the third year for the Holy Smoke Car Show. They raised $38,000 last year, and hope to get over $50,000 this weekend.”
This editor wonders: What would be a uniquely Episcopal way of accomplishing the same task?