A Common Goal: One of the first times that we visited Hancock Church, I was really drawn in by a sermon given by one of the seminarians. It was a conversation on a very contemporary subject that spoke to the very questions we ask ourselves every day, whether or not accepting things as they are really represents a thoughtful and purposeful life. As I looked around the congregation it was quite evident that this was the reason that so many others were there also. I realized that this was a community with a common goal in their faith journey…
–A Faith Story by David Zenk.
Hancock can be a valuable and exciting experience for seminarians. We expect a lot from seminarians, but we also offer guidance and support. Seminarians quickly become part of the larger Hancock family, participating in many areas of the congregation’s life: children’s and youth programs, adult education, music, preaching, leading worship, television ministry, pastoral care and social action. They have traditionally been involved in weekend retreats and in the annual mission trip for our youth. Attendance at weekly staff meetings exposes them to the coordinating and administrative challenges that must be addressed in any thriving, caring church. We encourage Seminarians to spend at least two years with us. We generally off placements to two Seminarians at any given time, which we view as an advantage to students who profit from the collegial experience and can trade ideas and help each other through rough spots. Those who are interested in Field Education at Hancock, should contact the office and arrange a visit with one of our clergy.
Hancock identifies itself as a teaching parish. We welcome the seminarians’ presence, appreciate their individual gifts for ministry, celebrate their growth and depens on them as partners. Our church family is enriched by the varied backgrounds and religious histories of its members. We welcome and encourage diversity. Our structured Teaching Parish program has more than 30 years experience in training students for a variety of pastoral ministries in the modern church. The church’s two ordained ministers contribute to the mentoring of seminarians, are certified supervisors and have a strong personal interest in helping seminarians understand and articulate the meaning of Trinitarian Christian witness and discipleship. The lay members of the active Teaching Parish Committee meet regularly with the seminarians in members’ home. They work closely with students and ministers to provide continuing guidance and encouragement. Both the Teaching Parish Committee and the Supervising Clergy have received recognition from the seminaries for excellence in supervision.
Overview of regular Seminarian participation at Hancock:
- Worship and Task Preparation (Preparation for and participation in worship services, including Children’s sermons, liturgy, sermons, etc. and other tasks (about 4 hours/week).
- Supervision–Participation in weekly meetings with supervisor at Hancock Church (1 hour/week).
- Coordination Meetings (weekly staff meetings, occasional committee meetings relevant to tasks)–(about 2 hours/week).
- Teaching Parish Committee–monthly meetings at committee members’ homes–(about .5 hours/week).
- Hancock Youth Group–Provide support to youth group and leadership to confirmation class on Sunday evenings–includes retreats (2 hours/week).
- Junior Youth Group–Provide leadership for Sunday classes and monthly meetings (3 hours/week).
- Church School Ministry–Provide ministry to teachers and worship planning (3-5 hours/week).
- Adult Education–Provide teaching input to Adult Education programs, including retreats (1-2 hours/week).
- Visitation–preparation for and visits to parishioners needing pastoral care-in their homes and at hospitals or nursing facilities, in cooperation with the deacons and Congregational Care Coordinator.
- Christian Service–Participation and/or leadership of volunteer service projects, social justice, education, and events (1-2 hours/week)
- Church Business Administration–Work with committees and chairs of Prudential, Stewardship, Finance, or Endowment Committees (1-2 hours/week)
- Membership Development–Participate in attraction, affiliation and assimilation activities of the Welcoming Committee (1-2 hours/week).
- Music, Dance, and Visual Arts programs–Participate with voice or bell choirs, chamber music groups, contemporary music at the Well, Sacred Dance program, or curating the Corridor Gallery (1-2 hours/week).
- Communications Ministry–participate in the production of TV programs, Web presence, social media, blogs, and print media production (1-2 hours/week).