Contextual Education I

  • 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 tutored and mentored children and youth in after-school programs. Learn more »

  • Congregational Ministries with Refugees

    Through Congregational Ministries with Refugees, students had 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 with newly arrived refugees, serving as a chaplain in a prison or detention center, 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.

For the 2022-2023 academic year, most Contextual Education site work will take place in person, with ongoing public health protocols in place at each site. The webpage for each individual Con Ed I site includes information about the type of work students are engaged in, as well as the days and times that work takes place and any additional site requirements. A limited number of opportunities for fully remote Contextual Education site work will be available to students who need this accommodation. If you are unable to participate in in-person Contextual Education site work, please contact the Office of Contextual Education to discuss options at

In Fall 2022, Con Ed I Reflection Groups will meet in person, either on campus or at the Con Ed I site. You can find the scheduled times and locations for these class sessions in the table below and on the webpage for each individual Con Ed I site.

For Spring 2023 Con Ed I Integrative Seminars, you can expect a schedule similar to the corresponding fall CEI Reflection Groups, conditions allowing.  


Incoming students may choose a site for their Contextual Education I placement from the following list in which they work four hours per week. Instructions on how to enroll will be sent to all incoming students in the summer before their first semester. Each site hosts a limited number of Candler students, and enrollment for sites and corresponding reflection groups (held in the fall) will close once they reach capacity. In the spring, students will participate in an Integrative Seminar with their Con Ed I group.

SiteSite Work HoursReflection Group (Fall)
Arrendale State Prison

Wednesday 9:30am-1:00pm

Wednesday 1:30pm-3:00pm 

On Site


**COVID vaccine required.

In person; some remote/hybrid work.

Monday–Friday 10:00am – 7:00pm and some weekend services; Weekend hours may be expanded as the semester progresses.



Church of the Common Ground

**COVID vaccine required.

In Person

Sunday 12:00pm–2:00pm; Monday 10:00am–12:00pm; Wednesday 10:00am–12:00pm or 3:00pm–5:00pm

Tuesday, 3:00pm–4:30pm


First Presbyterian Church Community MinistriesIn Person

Monday-Thursday, 12:00pm-4:00pm

Tuesday, 3:00pm–4:30pm


Georgia Division of Reentry ServicesHybrid in-person and remote work.Students will work on site every other week, and will meet with clients remotely on weeks when they are not on site.

Wednesday 9:00am-1:00pm

Monday, 4:00pm-5:30pm


Metro Regional Youth Detention, Department of Juvenile JusticeIn person as conditions allow, with some remote work possible.

Thursday 3:30pm–7:30pm



New American PathwaysIn person; some tutoring may be remote. Site can accommodate students who need fully virtual site hours, with permission of CEI Director.

After-school program: Monday–Friday 3:45pm–6:30pm; English at Home tutoring: 1-2 hours/week to be scheduled based on tutor and mentee availability.

Friday, 10:00am–11:30am


Mercy Community ChurchIn Person

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 8:00am–12:00pm; Sunday 9:00am–1:00pm

Tuesday, 3:00pm–4:30pm


Toco Hills Community Alliance

In Person

**COVID vaccine and booster required.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 9:30am–4:30pm, Friday  9:30am–2:00pm 



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 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 number of 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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"By pushing you to reflect, explore, and investigate the intersection between vocation and your passions, skills, and gifts, Contextual Education I is one of the many programs here at Candler that will transform and refine you so that when you leave this place, you are wiser, stronger, and kinder than you were when you entered it. Thanks to my Contextual Education experience, I am now a more confident good, and faithful servant with a clearer direction and a greater sense of calling for what God has put me on this earth to do. "
-Gabby Wilkinson, MDiv '24