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 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.

In Fall 2020, Con Ed I Reflection Groups ideally will meet in a low-frequency hybrid format. This means most weekly class sessions will be conducted via Zoom, with the possibility of several sessions conducted in-person as conditions and University policy allow. Students who must remain fully remote for health reasons will be able to participate in any in-person sessions via Zoom. You can find the scheduled times for these class sessions in the table below and on the webpage for each individual Con Ed I site.

For Spring 2021 Con Ed I Integrative Seminars, you can expect a schedule similar to the corresponding fall CEI Reflection Groups, conditions allowing. The format for spring classes will be determined as the spring semester approaches.

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 a limited number of 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 (Spring)
Arrendale State PrisonW 9am-2pmWednesday 2:30-4:30pm
Campbell-StoneM-F 10am-7pmThursday 3-5pm
First Presbyterian Church Community MinistriesMost in-person work will be Monday-Wednesday from 12-4, with some additional options for prep work while guests and clients are not on campus and some possible remote work.
Tuesday 3-5pm
Buckhead Christian ChurchM-F 8am-4pm. Work will be flexible and scheduled according to students’ availability. Tuesday, 3-5pm
Motherhood Beyond BarsM-F 10am-6pmWednesday 2:30-4:30pm
Georgia AppleseedM-F 9am-5pmWednesday 2:30-4:30pm
Georgia Division of Reentry ServicesW 9am-1pmWednesday 2:30-4:30pm
Urban Recipe

On site

W & F, 9:30am-12pm, 1:30-4 pm; some hours on Monday, as arranged



Metro Regional Youth Detention, Department of Juvenile JusticeThurs 3:30-7:30pm; for virtual visitation, some Saturdays and Sundays, 7:30-10amTuesday 3-5pm
New American PathwaysStudents will be matched with clients based on their schedules and mutual availability. Clients tend to be available in the morning, late afternoon or evening, and tend to prefer weekdays.Friday 9-11am
Gateway CenterOn site M 10am-4pmTuesday 3-5pm
Church of the Common Ground

On site

S 12-2pm; M 10am-12pm; W 10am-12pm or 3-5pm

Tuesday 3-5pm
Mercy Community Church

On site

M/W/TH, 8am-12pm; T, 12-2pm; Su, 9am-1pm

Tuesday 3-5pm
Toco Hills Community Alliance


On site

Monday and Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Monday 2:30-4:30pm
Truly Living Well

On site 

Mondays, 9 am-12pm, and some Wednesdays, Friday, or Saturdays for volunteer experiences at the farm.

Tuesday 3-5pm
Black and Green Agenda

Weekly team meetings will be scheduled for weekdays(M-F10:00 am -4:00 pm)Remote work will be flexible as students get engaged in their projects. Some evening and weekend meeetings, but will take place no later than 8:00 pm weekdays and mid-afternoon on Saturday.

Tuesday 3-5pm

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 zoom, 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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"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