During the first year of the M.Div. program, students enroll in Contextual Education I unless they are enrolled in the Teaching Parish or Episcopal Studies track. Students choose one of ten sites where they will work with ten other Candler students, four hours per week throughout the academic year.
Each week that group of students meets together. In the fall that group meets for 90 minutes each week with the Site Supervisors for the Reflection Group. Some of those weekly Reflection Groups meet on campus while others meet at the site. In the spring, the group’s faculty advisor joins the Supervisor for the weekly two-hour Integrative Seminar that meets on campus. The site work combined with the weekly seminar accounts for two-academic credits per semester.
Another component of Contextual Education I is the Pastoral Care (PC501CE) course. Students will enroll in this course in either the fall or the spring semester, depending on the site they choose. The PCE501CE course provides pastoral care skills needed for the site work while integrating practices of ministry with theoretical and theological education.
As a result of the year of site work and related course work, students are expected to gain the ability to engage in praxis-reflection learning; that is, the communal practice of integrating ministry with theological reflection. Students have the opportunity to expand their self-understanding of vocation and ministry, deepen their understanding of the work of the church in the world, and reflect on critical theological notions such as theophany, incarnation, justice, friendship, hospitality, and moral agency, as well as civic and congregational leadership.
In the summer as incoming students enroll in their fall courses through the Registrar's Office, they simultaneously select their Contextual Education site and enroll in the corresponding Reflection Group (CE 551a) and Contextualized Pastoral Care (PC501CE) course that is paired with their particular Con Ed site. The Registrar will give students instructions in this enrollment process prior to the enrollment period. The Reflection Group (CE 551a) is two credit hours and the Contextualized PC501CE course is three credits. The Contextualized PC501CE course is taught by Candler faculty and contextualized with the Con Ed sites in mind. Teaching Parish and Episcopal Studies students will also enroll in one of the Contextualized PC501CE courses, as well as the Reflection Group designed for those students.
The Candler Contextual Education web site identifies the ten Con Ed sites, their locations and distance from the Emory campus, the Site Supervisors, and other critical information about the site. Students can view on-line the hours available to students to fulfill their weekly four-hour and on-site requirements. Students will know from the fall schedule of course offerings the day and time of the weekly Reflection Group (CE 551a) and Contextualized Pastoral Care courses.
Students will remain at the same Con Ed site in the spring semester.