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Protestant Ministry Internship

The Protestant Ministry Internship Program, sponsored by the Office of the College Chaplains and the Lilly Vocation Discernment Initiative, provides students who are considering a vocation in Protestant church ministry with an opportunity for hands-on supervised ministry during either the summer break or the academic year in congregations and other faith communities in Worcester or within easy driving distance of Worcester. Some of these students are considering a vocation in ordained ministry; others are considering ministry as laypersons.


Internship Sites

Most of the Protestant ministry internships are done at local congregations. Depending on the interests of the student, another ecclesial setting may be chosen.

Type of Work

The internship is designed to provide the student intern with hands-on experience in pastoral ministry. Possible areas of work include (but are not limited to) youth ministry, music ministry, religious education, outreach, community building, visitation to hospitals and homebound parishioners, prison ministry, peace and justice work. While administrative duties are an expected part of any ministerial activity, the internship is not intended to provide local churches with primarily clerical or administrative assistance. Examples of work done by students in the Protestant Ministry Internship Program could include:

  • organizing and teaching at Vacation Bible School
  • visiting elderly and homebound parishioners
  • youth ministry work
  • helping parish children to organize a community service organization
  • making house calls to new immigrant families in the neighborhood
  • updating and organizing congregational census information
  • facilitating sessions and organizing data for a diocesan pastoral planning project
  • participating in bereavement support meetings
  • making preparations for fall classes in the religious education program
  • organizing summer day trips for young and elderly parishioners

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What Previous Interns Have Said About Their Internship Experiences

"At the weekly staff meeting, I have been able to see how the church is run, from scheduling difficulties to fundraisers and capital spending campaigns to bulletin typos. A large church with a large congregation requires a great deal of work, planning, scheduling, patience and love."

"I was invited to the deacons' meetings, in which we discussed proposed renovations. Funding the renovations that the church is currently undergoing is a great effort, and really extraordinarily interesting. I've learned a great deal about church loans and capital campaigns and the like, all of which has been quite new to me."

"Every other meeting I've been lucky enough to attend has taught me a great deal about the operation of a church and the role of the minister. Refugee outreach, Stephen ministry, the Knitting Circle, Wednesday Night Live, Vacation Bible School Planning - they've all been so interesting and dare I say it, exciting. I've been very fortunate."

"Pastoral visits have been eye-opening. Having never gone before, my first experiences were very powerful and a bit surprising. Caring for the sick and lonely, caring for the lost Ė its such an important aspect of a minister's job. Even just performing a small service and providing communion at a nursing home can create an impact. No matter what I end up doing or being in this life, I know that I want to and will help people. Ministering to not only the healthy and secure, but also to their less fortunate counterparts, may be just the way to do so, and to make a lasting impression on the world. I truly believe that through making the lives of others better, I too will become a better person."

"I've realized that I know next to nothing about being a minister. There are so many undiscussed, unrecognized responsibilities and aspects of life that most people donít even bother to acknowledge. My director is intent on making absolutely sure that this internship exposes me not only to the general requirement of being a minister, but the personal hardships and joys as well even down to living in a parsonage."

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Structure and Requirements

Summer internships are for 10 weeks of full-time supervised ministry. Full time is understood to mean an average of 40 hours per week. Because of the nature of church ministry, it is expected that the hours may include weekends and/or evenings, and these times are considered part of the 40 hours per week. The internship experience should include training in respecting one's need for time away and avoiding the temptation to work beyond 40 hours per week on a regular basis. The pastor/site supervisor and the intern will come to an agreement about the specific weeks and hours, and these will be listed in the contract. The internships may not start before final exams for the spring semester have ended, and they must end by the start of classes for the fall semester.

Internships during the academic year are for five to 10 hours per week. The pastor/site supervisor and the intern will come to an agreement about the specific hours, and these will be listed in the contract. Academic year internships begin with the start of the fall semester and end with the completion of the spring semester. Normally, the intern does not work during College holidays.

  • Interns will sign an internship contract before commencing their internship and it will be countersigned by the pastor/site supervisor and the Director of the Protestant Ministry Internship Program.
  • Interns will complete a learning goals worksheet before commencing their internship.
  • Interns will meet with the site supervisor on a regular basis. Summer interns will meet with the site supervisor on a weekly basis.
  • Interns will participate in two on site meetings with the Director of the Protestant Ministry Internship Program and the site supervisor during the course of the internship.
  • Interns will submit brief reflection papers on their internship experience and the development of their sense of vocation to the Director of the Protestant Ministry Internship Program. Summer interns will submit reflection papers every two weeks for a total of five reflection papers, and academic year interns will submit reflection papers twice a semester.

Summer interns are required to participate in the Chaplains' Office Internship orientation session (usually a weekend afternoon in the late spring semester), a midsummer reflection session at Holy Cross, and an end of the summer wrap-up session at Holy Cross.

Site Supervision of Interns

The pastor or another member of the pastoral staff of the parish or other faith community is designated as the site supervisor for the student intern. The site supervisor is expected to meet regularly with the student intern, providing guidance on the work to be done, providing direction and feedback to the student's ministry, and sharing his/her wisdom and experience in ministry. The site supervisor will be asked to provide an evaluation at the end of the internship.

Supervision from the Chaplain at Holy Cross

The Chaplain supervisor from Holy Cross will provide an orientation for the intern before the internship begins and will be in contact with the student intern and the site supervisor periodically. Two on-site meetings are held with the Chaplain supervisor, the site supervisor and the intern. The Chaplain supervisor is available to the student intern and the site supervisor throughout the internship for questions or in the event of any problems.

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Pay, Housing and Transportation

Student interns are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from the internship site. During summer internships, interns are also responsible for finding their own housing.

Summer interns are paid $400 per week, for a summer total of $4,000. Interns are responsible for securing the signature of their site supervisor on their time card each week and delivering or mailing the time card to the Holy Cross Controller's Office. Academic year interns are paid $8.00 per hour, and are responsible for completing a time card each week in the Holy Cross Chaplains' Office. Pay is fully taxable, and interns need to complete a W-4 form and other College financial paperwork with Accounts Payable at Holy Cross.

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Application Procedure

The internships are open to Protestant sophomores, juniors and seniors. Exceptional first-year students will be considered on a case by case basis. Male and female students may apply for an internship.

The deadline for receipt of applications for summer Protestant ministry internships is in January.

Interested students must complete the application and submit it with a copy of a recent Holy Cross transcript. After an initial review of the application, potential internship candidates will have an interview with the Director of the Protestant Ministry Internship Program. If the Chaplain supervisor feels the student is a good candidate for the internship program, then arrangements are made for the student to interview with the pastor (or other potential site supervisor on the pastoral staff) of a parish or other faith community that is interested in hosting a student intern. If, after the interview, the pastor (or other potential site supervisor on the pastoral staff) and the student intern agree that this is a good placement for the student intern, then the Chaplain supervisor at Holy Cross will issue a contract to be signed by the pastor/site supervisor, the student intern and the Chaplain supervisor at Holy Cross.

Following the interviews, students are conditionally accepted into the internship program pending successful placement at a parish or other ecclesial setting. The Director of the Protestant Ministry Internship Program will contact area parishes to identify an appropriate placement. At that time, the student will interview with the pastor and/or other supervisor at the site. If the pastor or other site supervisor and the student agree that this would be a good placement, then a contract will be drawn up and signed by the pastor or site supervisor, the student, and the Director of the Protestant Ministry Internship Program. Conditionally accepted students may be asked to interview at more than one site.

Download the Application form:

Protestant Ministry Internship Application .pdf
(requires Adobe Acrobat Reader: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html)

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For more information, please contact Virginia Coakley, Asst. Chaplain and Director of Protestant and ALANA Ministry, at 508-793-2429.

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