She was observing the congregation's happy celebration of Simchat Torah, which marks the end of one year's cycle of reading the Torah. People were dancing with and unfurling the Torah scrolls. And then, incredibly, a scroll was placed in her arms, and she began to dance...

MDiv student Rachel Abdoler had begun her internship at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, which allowed her many remarkable opportunities to learn and lead, with Senior Rabbi Dennis Sasso serving as her mentor. During the 2014-15 academic year, she divided her time between Beth-El Zedeck and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, both in Indianapolis. Across the country, MDiv student and House Scholar Danielle Cox were also immersed in Disciples-related and interfaith campus ministry at Chapman University in Orange, California. She worked with Director of Church Relations Nancy Brink; Associate Director Cisa Payuyo; and with Gail Stearns, Dean of Wallace All Faiths Chapel.

During the 2015-16 academic year, MDiv student Judith Guy served at First Christian Church, Greensboro, North Carolina. Alumna Lee Hull Moses, who is also President of the DDH Board of Trustees, serves the congregation as Senior Minister and was Judith’s teaching pastor.

The idea of the internship is to provide a Disciples Divinity House Scholar with an exceptional setting of ministry where the student can explore her or his vocation of ministry and leadership and hone abilities. Diverse opportunities are possible, from new congregations to venerable ones, and in regional, general, and ecumenical ministries. We look for innovative congregations and church-related organizations that have strong lay and pastoral leadership and that will provide opportunities for ministry and learning that would not be available if the student remained in Chicago.

Disciples Divinity House Scholars can arrange a full-time internship outside of the Chicago area between their second and third years of MDiv studies. DDH provides a monthly living stipend and for return visits to Chicago each academic quarter, while the congregation or organization provides housing and some other expenses.

It is a significant commitment for a minister and congregation or other organizations to offer an internship. It is also a significant gift to the flourishing of future ministry to be able to provide such a vital situation; to allow an intern to engage skills, gifts, and questions; and to offer the intern models of ministry, collaboration, vision, and action.

The “Saint Andrew Leadership Initiative” provided initial funding for internships. It was established by the late Paul Shumaker, who was a member of Saint Andrew Christian Church in Olathe, Kansas. Three Disciples Divinity House Scholars completed internships with founding minister Holly McKissick at Saint Andrew: Liz Myer Boulton, who became the founding pastor of Hope Church, Boston, and who is now the moving force of SALT; Patricia Duncan, now Assistant Professor of Religion at Texas Christian University; and Brandon Cline, now Senior Major Gifts Officer at Brite Divinity School.