Seminarians Want Suburban Churches

3/21/1989 12:00:00 AM

     CHICAGO (ELCA) --  Concern for adequate leadership in urban
and rural ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
led the ELCA Division for Outreach to recommend a survey of
seminary students on their ministerial career expectations.
     The mission services committee of the division at a meeting
here March 8-11 asked staff to prepare a survey of seminary
students' "expectations regarding their ministerial career
placements/calls and their implication for urban and rural
     Committee members expressed concern over the "significant
numbers" of current seminary students "who are indicating that
they would prefer not to take calls to urban, particularly inner
city, and rural areas," said Theartrice T. Williams, senior
fellow at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs in
Minneapolis, Minn.
     "They prefer to be in reasonably well-established suburban
communities.  That means that the ministry in the city and the
rural areas is likely to suffer for lack of pastoral leadership,"
he said.
     Before doing "long-range planning" board members agreed that
more information is needed to document the extent of the problem.
     "The implication will be that maybe what one needs to do is
develop some kind of strategy for recruitment to the seminaries,
so that one can be sure to get people into the seminaries who
have some interest and understanding and commitment to the
ministry in the city and in rural communities," said Williams.
     "I think it is important to do that.  Otherwise, we will
become a suburban church, which means that we will essentially be
a white church and this whole discussion about inclusivity will
be a hallow discussion."

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or


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