Academic Programs

Theological Reflection Year (T.R.Y.)

Some persons feel called to explore issues of theology and spiritual growth within the formalized educational setting of a seminary. Some are interested in theological and spiritual inquiry as it relates to their present vocation and personal life. Others find themselves in a place of career transition, possibly considering an alternative form of ministry. The Theological Reflection Year offers a special opportunity for persons in any of these groups.

T.R.Y. is a one-year experience designed to give participants an introduction to various areas of theological education, while allowing the flexibility to pursue particular interests. It offers a formal setting in which issues of vocation and ministry, of theological inquiry and spiritual growth can be explored. It can also be an excellent beginning to a degree program at ESR.

All T.R.Y. students are assigned to a single faculty advisor who is familiar with the issues T.R.Y. students frequently need to address. This advisor is available to assist students’ efforts to reflect upon their ESR experience as they determine what next steps they wish to take. When interest merits it, T.R.Y. students and their advisor may meet as a group at regular times throughout the year. In either setting, students have the opportunity to discuss the special issues they have in their experiment with seminary and in their discernment of whether to pursue a degree or make this year their single time of seminary study. When vocational decisions have been made in a supportive setting, reflected upon theologically, and grounded in prayer and spiritual seeking, the T.R.Y. program has accomplished its purpose.

In keeping with the nature of the T.R.Y. objectives, the School encourages T.R.Y. students to pursue their particular interests in their course selection, but all T.R.Y. students will take the following foundational courses: Spiritual Formation & Personal Practice; Introduction to Theological Reflection; History and Literature of the New Testament; and either History and Literature of the Old Testament or Church History.

Students can apply for limited financial aid from ESR in order to attend the T.R.Y. year. Federal loans are not available for non-degree programs.