Contextual Education I

  • Candler students are ready to go out and be the hands and feet of Christ in the world through our Contextual Education program!

  • Graduation at Arrendale

    Candler students gain ministry experience and incarcerated women learn leadership skills at Arrendale State Prison. Learn more »

  • Lutheran Services of Georgia

    At Inspiritus (formerly Lutheran Services of Georgia), Con Ed I students can tutor and mentor children and youth in after-school programs. Learn more »

  • Congregational Ministries with Refugees

    Through Congregational Ministries with Refugees, students have the opportunity to build relationships with refugee families. Learn more »

Contextual Education I

In the first year of Contextual Education, MDiv students enroll in a social service or clinical setting, unless they are enrolled in the Teaching Parish or Episcopal and Anglican Studies track. During this time, you will be introduced to ministry in various forms, whether that experience is through working with low-income families to meet their housing needs, building relationships between parishioners and newly arrived refugees to the Atlanta area or in another setting.

At the end of the first year of Contextual Education, you will have gained:

  • Ability to integrate theological learning with ministry practice.
  • Broadened ideas of vocational identity and calling.
  • Expanded notion of church and of ministry while forming skills for leadership in ministries of justice and reconciliation.

Incoming students may choose a site for their Contextual Education I placement from the following list. Instructions on how to enroll will be sent to all incoming students in the summer before their first semester. Each site hosts 10-12 Candler students, and enrollment for sites and corresponding reflection groups (held in the fall) will close once they reach capacity. The integrative seminars are held in the spring.

SiteSite Work HoursReflection Group (Fall)Integrative Seminar (Spring)
Arrendale State PrisonM 9:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. plus one Sun service during the yearM 1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. (on-site)W 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. (Candler)
Campbell-Stone ApartmentsSun-Sat between 10 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.Th 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Candler)Th 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Candler)
First Presbyterian Church Community MinistriesM-Th 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Occasionally: Sun 6:30 a.m - 9:00 a.m. and M-Th 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
T 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (on-site)Th 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Candler)
Gwinnett Medical CenterFall: W 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Spring: more flexibility
W 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (on-site)T 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Candler)
Employment Class: Wed, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.; or Afterschool Program: Mon-Thurs, 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm (select one day/week) plus one Saturday detention visit per semester; or Cultural Mentors: 3-hour weekly home visits for cultural mentorship (to be scheduled by student) plus one Saturday detention visit per semester.
T 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Candler)T 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Candler)
Metro Regional Youth Detention, Department of Juvenile JusticeTh 3:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.W 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Candler)T 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Candler)
Northlake Ministries with RefugeesW 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.T 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Candler)T 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Candler)
Transitional Center/Helms FacilityW 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.W 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (on-site)W 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (on-site)
The ShrineSandwich Ministry & Food Pantry: Mon/Wed, 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.; Atlanta Homeward Choir: Tues/Thurs, 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. & Wed 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.; St. Francis Table: Saturday, 7 a.m. - 12 p.m.Thursdays, 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Candler)Thursdays, 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Candler)
Toco Hills Community AllianceM 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.; Tues/Wed/Thurs 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.M 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. (Candler)M 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Candler)

Curricular Requirements

  • Stewards of Children
  • CE551a. Contextual Education I Site Reflection (first semester only; 2 hours)
  • CE551b. Contextual Education I Integrative Seminar (second semester only; 2 hours)
  • PC501CE. Contextualized Introduction to Pastoral Care (fall or spring, 3 hours)

Reflection Groups
In the first semester, students meet weekly, on campus or at the site, for a 90-minute reflection group led by the site supervisor. Site supervisors have advanced theological education, and are therefore equipped to mentor students and provide constructive evaluations at the end of each semester. (CE551a, 2 hours)

Sites and corresponding reflection groups will close for enrollment as they reach their maximum of 10 students.

International Students

International students who qualify for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) may enroll in Contextual Education I in their first year of the MDiv program. For more information, contact the Contextual Education handbook and the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). International students must receive authorization prior to their first visit to the Contextual Education I site.

Completion Requirements

All site work and reflection group assignments must be completed no later than one week following the last day of classes. Failure to receive a passing grade from the teaching team (site supervisor and teaching faculty) will require a student to re-enroll in all parts of Contextual Education I the following year. Only upon successful completion of the site work and the reflection group will a student receive the four (4) hours credit for Contextual Education I. (Note: Students receive an "In Progress" (IP) grade for the fall semester. Only when both semesters have been satisfactorily completed will a satisfactory (S) grade be awarded for each semester.)

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"Con Ed I has reaffirmed what I want to do with my life. I have a heart for working with underserved groups and plan on going into social justice ministries, so it's great to have a practical, hands-on component where I take what I'm learning in class and apply it, whether that's pastoral care techniques, or the history of the church and why we believe what we believe as Christians."
-Jessica Turner, Emmaus House, Atlanta, MDiv '16