Theological Field Education

The Regis College Master of Divinity program offers a contemporary approach to preparation for ministry. Students are challenged to blend intellectual knowledge, critical thinking, spiritual reflection and practical decision making to create a balanced theology for ministry. The Master of Divinity program introduces students to biblical, historical, doctrinal, systematic, ethical, pastoral, spiritual and ecumenical studies, all integrated with a theological field education process involving ministry placements and theological reflection. Students are encouraged to engage in ecumenical, interfaith and cross-cultural dialogue. The program places great emphasis upon the interaction among students, faculty, administration and staff; a student’s relationships with the Program Director and the Director of Theological Field Education are of particular importance. During the first year, students also form a mentoring relationship with a member of the faculty who can help them develop their own particular interests. Students are urged to continue or initiate an on-going commitment to spiritual direction as part of their personal formation.

Theological field education explores the intersection in theological education between academic study and the practice of ministry. Supervised ministry provides candidates with an opportunity to gain professional competence, build a framework for raising practical theological issues, acquire a comprehensive and realistic view of the Church and its ministries, and develop a ministerial identity.

At Regis College, theological field education is based on some clear educational assumptions. The educational methodology is adult-centred and experiential (actions in ministry are reflected on theologically). It assumes that individuals are responsible for their own learning. It acknowledges that each person brings to the learning process his or her own particular history and set of experiences. Theological field education is based on the model of “educational partnership.” Participants are invited to discover and celebrate their own gifts and to respond to supervisory feedback intended to enhance leadership in ministry.

Students are invited to design their theological field education placements on a level commensurate with their previous ministerial experiences, selecting one or more of three levels of engagement:

Level One: Observer Ministry Placement
Characteristics: No experience, or limited experience in ministry.
Purpose: To familiarize the MDiv candidate with the context and dynamics of ministry.
Necessary Skills: Observing, listening, reflecting, reporting.
Requirements: 2-3 weeks observing and dialoguing with a practitioner in a chosen field of ministry.
Outcomes: A written report of the experience using the general methodology of analysis provided in “Contextual Analysis of a Theological Field Education Placement.” (Appendix F, Theological Field Education Handbook, Regis College).

Level Two: Intern Ministry Placement
Characteristics: Some experience in ministry.
Purpose: To enable the MDiv candidate to gain personal confidence, and to develop a pastoral sense of identity, authority and mission.
Necessary Skills: Self-directed learning; good listening skills; willingness to learn from others and to collaborate with others.
Requirements: Engagement in a supervised ministry placement.
Outcomes: To develop a process for reflecting upon one’s own ministry, using the contextual analysis and case-study method.

Level Three: Resident Ministry Placement
Characteristics: Extensive ministry experience.
Purpose: To provide the MDiv candidate with the opportunity to animate a project in a chosen ministry placement.
Necessary Skills: A high level of self-motivation, and organizational and collaborative skills.
Requirements: A pre-requisite for this level is a letter of reference from a previous supervisor who has worked closely with the candidate and can attest to their ministry experience. In collaboration with the Theological Field Education Director and the ministry personnel of a chosen site, the candidate will be required to develop and execute a project that will enhance the site’s services. This must be a project that can be sustained by the chosen site and not solely dependent on the skills and continued presence of the candidate alone.
Outcomes: A contextual analysis and written assessment of the placement.

PLEASE NOTE: If a candidate begins in Level 1, it is expected that they will move through Level 2. A candidate might also begin in Level 2, and do part of his/her practicum in Level 3.

To learn more, please contact the Director of Theological Field Education, Professor Margaret Lavin.