YDS awarded $135,000 grant for internships

The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation has awarded Yale Divinity School’s Supervised Ministries program a grant of $135,000 over three years in support of student internships, with a special focus on encouraging placement of interns in churches and community programs that welcome and serve the LGBT community.

At YDS a number of students are committed to ministry that is welcoming of LGBT members, as well as to service in the LGBT community.  At the same time, YDS is in a location with a number of churches and programs that model welcoming and serving the LGBT community and that can serve as internship placements for students seeking to gain skills and find their voices in a progressive and welcoming context.
The $135,000 Carpenter Foundation grant will provide current use funds, to be used to continue stipendiary support for 12 program interns annually for three years at $3,500.00 per intern per year and $3,000 per year for supervisory training and support.  Among the grant making goals of the Philadelphia-based foundation is “support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons of faith, or endeavoring to insure faith communities' understanding, affirmation, and inclusion of such persons.”

Yale Divinity School requires all M.Div. students to complete an internship in Supervised Ministries—a longstanding feature of the M.Div. curriculum, founded on the conviction that theological education cannot be complete without an intense and closely mentored engagement with the practical everyday realities of ministry.

Supervised Ministries internships are field experiences designed to enable students to grow as leaders in the art and craft of ministry. In the process, students are challenged to find their own personal and professional identities, and to find and begin to shape personal voices to express these identities in their ministry.

The Program is grounded in strong, mutual partnerships with churches, educational institutions and community agencies. All programs involve up to 400 hours of learning and service, and all are conducted under the supervision of trained, experienced supervisors.

In recent years, part-time interns have engaged in such activities as leading small group ministries for adults with mental illness, preaching, leading campus ministry retreats, and organizing congregations to better serve the homeless; summer interns have led mission trips, advocated for equitable housing for persons with HIV/AIDs, visited parishioners in prison, and worked alongside migrant farm workers seeking an end to human trafficking.

LGBT students in the process of formation for ordained ministry face unique challenges.  The Carpenter Internships promise to enhance a strong commitment to strengthening ministries of inclusion.

YDS students recently produced a video about LGBT experiences for the national “It Gets Better” project.  Click here to read about the video and to view it.

Posted: 07/05/2011