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Not all seminary grads take church positions

Not all seminary grads take church positions

A growing number of seminary graduates are exercising their ministries outside of churches according to this Washington Post article:

Alethea Allen, a Virginia resident, graduated this week from Wesley Theological Seminary in Northwest Washington after years of divinity classes. But she has no intention of becoming a[n ordained] minister.

Instead, Allen plans to keep practicing as a pediatrician in the Winchester area. Her seminary training, she said, will help her be a better doctor. Allen is one of an increasing number of divinity students who don’t plan to become pastors. Instead, they envision using their degrees to “minister” in any number of professions, from filmmaking to medicine to nonprofit management.

“I see what I’m doing as a form of ministry,” said Allen, 36. “Particularly with parents whose children are dying. I approach the situations more with my spiritual eyes open. This isn’t just a medical event taking place.”

How does education in your church enhance the ministry of all in the world?

h/t to frequent Daily Episcopalian contributor Eric Bonetti


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Weiwen Ng

Good, because there are many ways to minister to the world.

Some would say the institutional church is dying. Well, in dying, let us also transform ourselves and the way that Christians minister to others. I don’t know where the economic resources will come from to get people theological education if the institutional church dies out (and to be sure, I don’t think we’ll completely die out). But we’ll manage, somehow.

For my purposes, my way of ministering to others involves data analysis in health care. I don’t foresee being able to get an MDiv (as I need to either get a PhD or take more statistics classes). But I have taken pains, over my career, to familiarize myself with the religious language I need to make the case for economic justice.

Ann Fontaine

I think more than half the MDiv students at Harvard Divinity School are not seeking ordination for the ministry to which they feel called. They were looking at or had already worked with NGOs and other entities that serve the world. The Tom’s of Maine “Tom” is one well known example. Many were of what we often call the “nones” as well. Some were atheists – and though usually they were on the academic Masters track – they wanted to know how religion worked for people as it is such an important cultural force. We had people from all sorts of faiths besides Christianity as well. I don’t think this phenomenon is new.

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