Experience ESR

Educational Opportunities

Lilly Library

Lilly Library serves the Earlham School of Religion, Bethany Theological Seminary, and Earlham College. Built in 1963 and expanded in 1992, the Library houses over 390,000 volumes, including a substantial theological collection, and subscribes to nearly 1,200 print periodicals. The Library also provides access to a wide range of bibliographic databases, online scholarly resources, and electronic books and periodicals. Students who live far from Richmond have access to these collections electronically or through Document Delivery. Nationally recognized as a teaching library, the Earlham Libraries were awarded the 2001

Excellence in Academic Libraries award by the Association of College & Research Libraries. In addition to its general and theological collections, Lilly Library houses the Postle Friends Collection and Archives, which includes an extensive collection of Quaker periodicals, published organization records, and manuscripts.

Library resources

ESR residential students have full access to library facilities at Earlham, including the collection at highly regarded Lilly Library. ESR Access students have access to all electronic databases, which is available at the links to the library found on ESR's website as well as ESR's new Digital Quaker Collection, which contains over 500+ scanned Quaker texts. ESR also negotiates library privileges with other libraries near each of the School's regional centers. When necessary, ESR Access students may borrow books from Lilly Library by mail.

Field Education at ESR

Field Education for Ministry, done during the final year of study at ESR, is central to the Master of Ministry/Divinity degree. This course is two semesters in length, and provides opportunities for the testing of gifts and development of skills in a supervised setting. Students have significant influence in the selection of their Field Education site, as sites are chosen with the particular gifts and interests of each student in mind.

Throughout their Field Education year students work at their field sites twelve hours a week for ministry and contextual learning. On-site supervision, support groups, and a weekly seminar at ESR are basic to this program.

The weekly seminars offer participants the opportunity to explore issues of professional and personal growth. Through the use of case studies, concrete examples from the field are discussed. Students are encouraged to integrate lessons and insights from other parts of the curriculum and from their own life experience into the practice of ministry. Explicit attention is paid to biblical and theological reflection on ministry experience.

Intensive classes, mini-seminars, and workshops at various locations further enhance the program, as well as programs offered by the student's denomination. In this way, the regular offerings of Applied Studies curriculum are significantly enriched. The student is exposed to a wider variety of issues and skills than would be possible through the regular curricular offerings.

Before taking Field Education, a student must complete a minimum of twenty-seven credit hours. These hours must include Spiritual Preparation for Ministry, Old Testament History and Literature, New Testament History and Literature, Introduction to Theological Reflection, Discernment of Call and Gifts, one required introductory church history course, and two courses in the student ’s area of interest.

Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a method of learning pastoral practice in a clinical setting with trained supervision. The following are essential elements in any CPE program: an accredited CPE center, which may be a general or psychiatric hospital, a penal institution, or any one of sixteen other kinds of institutions; a certified supervisor; a small group of peers who work and learn together; detailed reporting of incidents in ministry; a specific time period, usually ten or eleven weeks full-time in the summer, or one day a week during most of the academic year; and an individual learning contract. Many students find the experience to be one of their most significant learning experiences.

CPE is not required for graduation, except for those students who choose pastoral counseling as their emphasis in the M.Min./M.Div. program. At least one unit of CPE is required for becoming a chaplain or pastoral counselor.

ESR encourages students to consider CPE. Students may register for three to nine semester hours of credit for completing an approved CPE program. Those who take CPE are invited to join together with a faculty person to debrief their experience, explore how it relates to their ongoing education at ESR, and support each other in consolidating the growth and learning that have occurred.

In the fall of each year a CPE Day is scheduled, when students returning from their summer CPE settings discuss their experiences with the community at Common Meal and provide information to students. Often CPE supervisors are invited to attend.

Accredited centers are spread across the country and around the world. Near to ESR, there are centers in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana. Current information concerning CPE training and directories of accredited centers are available in the Resource Room of the ESR Center. Faculty who teach in the area of Applied Studies are happy to assist any student in discerning the appropriateness of this experience for her or him.

Volunteer Service

Volunteer service groups often spring naturally from the concerns of students and faculty. It is not uncommon for students to join in public witness to social and ethical concerns. Prison ministry, local outreach agencies, and organized participation in major demonstrations around the country are among the service opportunities available to augment ministry courses. These provide tremendous opportunities to experience and be shaped by servant leadership.

Continuing Education

Continuing education opportunities are available each year through annual conferences sponsored by the School of Religion. Each fall, ESR plans and coordinates a Pastors Conference, focusing on themes relevant for persons engaged in pastoral ministry. The annual Ministry of Writing Colloquium provides opportunities for interaction with well-known writers and publishers through public lectures and workshops during a two-day conference. Each spring, the Quakers in Pastoral Care and Counseling group gathers to learn and to provide support to one another. A Spirituality Conference, also in the spring, provides guidance in spiritual disciplines and nurture reflecting ESR's Spirituality emphasis, and in fact, the entire curriculum. Other educational opportunities are offered periodically by ESR at the invitation of Friends meetings or churches, particularly in conjunction with ESR Access course offerings. These run for a stated period of time, and are hosted by the local group.

Distinguished Visiting Scholars and Lecturers

The school is pleased to bring distinguished professors, lecturers, and visitors to the campus for varying periods of time. Some come for a full semester to teach courses and give special lectures. Others are brought as "Quakers-in-Residence." These experienced Friends offer their wisdom and expertise to students through intensives, lectures and informal meetings.

One annual event is The Willson Lectureship, made possible by a gift from Dr. and Mrs. J.M. Willson of Floydada, Texas, inaugurated in 1968 by Charles Davis of England and Canada. Others who have participated include such scholars and teachers as Carl F.H. Henry, John Sherrill, Wayne Oates, J. Rodney Williams, J. Calvin Keene, David Ensign, Langdon Gilkey, Bishop Stephen Neill, Rolf Knierim, Martin Marty, Sidney Ahlstrom, Ross Snyder, James Fowler, Krister Stendahl, James Childress, Walter Brueggeman, Schubert M. Ogden, Elise Boulding, John Howard Yoder, Alan Geyer, Virginia Mollenkott, James Forbes, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, Donald Bloesch, John Punshon, Daniel Smith-Christopher, James Walvin, and Margery Post Abbott, Jim Wallis, and Margaret Kornfeld.