Summer break is here, and with it comes the opportunity for Candler students to take on the challenges and rewards of a summer internship tied to their ministry callings. Candler provides support for students before, during, and after the internship, which can range from local church ministry to nonprofit work, chaplaincy, music ministries, and more. Students earn course credit hours, and often a salary or stipend.

“Our internship program is set up so that students can pursue their interests, work with a faculty member and receive credit,” says Assistant Professor in the Practice of Practical Theology Thomas W. Elliott Jr., who also serves as director of ministry internships. “We’re developing community partnerships and fostering learning opportunities for students who have particular areas of interests.”

Students can pursue summer internship opportunities through Candler in three ways:

  • Candler Advantage Summer Internship in Congregational Leadership: Candler Advantage builds on two years of Contextual Education, taking rising third-year MDiv students outside of the classroom and immersing them in parishes of their choosing to more fully develop their pastoral leadership skills. Students submit a proposal on their plans for the internship and the congregation where they hope to serve.
  • Advanced Summer Ministry Internships: Churches partnering with Candler in theological education hire students for the summer, allowing them to gain advanced ministry training. Students apply, interview, and are hired directly by the partner churches.
  • Summer Ministry Internships: With guidance and direction from Candler faculty and staff, students find the ministry setting where they want to serve, and apply as necessary.

Similar to Candler’s Contextual Education curriculum, interns are paired with a faculty member who specializes in their area of ministry interest—such as congregational leadership, pastoral care, or Justice, Peacebuilding, and Conflict Transformation (JPACT)—and serves as an academic resource throughout the summer. Students also have a site supervisor at their internship placement.

Six of the 36 Candler students serving in internships this summer offer these reflections:

Richard Weinberg serves through Candler Advantage at Congregación San Juan Evangelista, an Episcopal parish in San Salvador, El Salvador. Among his many responsibilities, he’s leading Bible study, has preached in worship, and works with the church’s LGBT ministry group. “I’ve been challenged to new capacities, have been called upon to use my gifts with confidence, and have been continually humbled by my status as a privileged outsider.” Read more about Richard’s ministry in El Salvador. 

Haley Andreades has spent her summer interning with the organization A Christian Ministry in the National Parks, working in California’s Sequoia National Park, where she helps lead weekly worship services and seeks to care for guests and coworkers “in ways that let them know they are loved by God beyond measure and that they were created for meaningful relationships with God and with others.” Read more about Haley’s summer out west.

David Roth is a chaplain at Lenbrook Continuing Care Retirement Community in Atlanta, and has learned a great deal from his supervisor, Chaplain Robbye Jarrell. “I am confident that I will leave Lenbrook with a much deeper understanding of my own emotional capacity to do ministry in a context that witnesses the realities of aging, death, and grieving.” Read more about David’s lessons learned in chaplaincy.

Kiya Ward has spent ten weeks in Inagua, Bahamas, serving as visiting pastor of Wesley Methodist Church, where she has organized Vacation Bible School, Bible studies, a women’s conference, and weekly pastoral care visitations, just to name a few. “Within my first few days here, I quickly realized that I did not need to bring God to this island, for God was already very present. Instead, my goal was to make the presence of God felt.” Read more about Kiya’s ministry in the Caribbean.

Hillary Taylor works as a clinical pastoral education (CPE) chaplain at two Atlanta nonprofits, The Church of the Common Ground and the Emmaus House. “My experiences have taught me that we’re not so different from our brothers and sisters living on the streets. Those of us with socioeconomic means…just have the resources to cover up our brokenness, which is perhaps more insidious and sinful than panhandling for food in a public park.” Read more about Hillary’s experiences ministering in downtown Atlanta. 

Camille Henderson-Edwards interns with The Carter Center’s Human Rights Program, specifically the Mobilizing Faith for Women and Girls Initiative. There, she’s been assisting with projects that counter religious narratives used to justify human rights violations, especially against women and girls. “I made the decision to come to Candler because I knew that I would have opportunities, such as the Carter Center, to explore ministry beyond church grounds.” Read more about how Camille’s work at the Carter Center has influenced her calling.

(Photos: Clockwise from top right, Hillary, David, Haley, Richard, Camille, and Kiya.)