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Internship for Ordination
in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada


All candidates for ordination are required to complete an internship according to standards set by this church and outlined in ELCA/ELCIC Internship Standards and Guidelines adopted in 1992 (see Appendix 4).

Internship is an educational program of the ELCIC for candidates preparing for the ordained ministry in the ELCIC. The program provides for extended and thorough involvement in the work of ministry. Normally serving in a congregation of this church, the intern is supervised jointly by a pastor and the seminary in co-operation with members of congregations, other pastors and other interns. Through the internship the candidate engages in the full range of ministerial work and is guided simultaneously in developing attitudes, understandings and skills vital to the pastoral office. Except for presiding at the sacraments and solemnising marriages, the intern becomes deeply involved in all aspects of congregational life and pastoral responsibilities.


The ELCIC requires all candidates for ordination to serve a nine- to 12-month internship. Students ordinarily serve their internship after having completed a minimum number of courses required by the seminary, ordinarily the equivalent to two years of theological studies.

Concurrent internships (half time for two years while engaging in academic work) are possible with the approval of CTEL and the seminary and availability of sites. Internships in other countries or in specialized situations may be arranged from time to time. Information about these may be obtained from the internship directors at the ELCIC seminaries.

ELCIC and ELCA seminaries co-operate in arranging for placements throughout Canada and the United States, and take into consideration both the desires of candidates and the availability of placements. Usually placement of candidates takes place in March. Internship placement for seminary students is the responsibility of the respective seminaries. Each seminary provides supervisory training, inclusive of training involved in the development of a Learning Contract. The dates for starting and ending the internship, as well as housing accommodations, etc. are agreed upon by the intern, the congregation and the pastor supervisor in consultation with the seminary and in accord with ELCIC guidelines; these particulars are written into an internship agreement signed by the intern, pastor supervisor and congregational council representative.

ELCIC seminaries continually seek to enhance the educational value of the program, especially in developing sound relationships among the intern, the supervising pastor and the congregation. To this end, interns and pastors participate in training events and cluster meetings with nearby interns and supervisors. They share concerns and experiences to increase mutual understanding and co-operation. Some clusters may have an inter-Lutheran or ecumenical flavour as interns of other denominations participate.

Internships are expected to be congregationally based; where non-congregational settings are desired, such internships are required to have a congregational component. Settings are approved by the seminary and the bishop of the synod relating to the setting upon application by the congregation or by joint application of the congregation and non-congregational ministry.

Written application is to be made to the respective seminary by January 31. Such application is to be made to Waterloo Lutheran Seminary for sites in the Eastern Synod and to the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon for sites in the four western Canadian synods.

Alternate models to the usual third year congregationally-based internship setting may be possible as long as ELCIC standards for internship are met. Such alternative models require approval by CTEL, the bishop at the intended site, and the respective seminary before being implemented. Some examples for alternative models are:

  • Fourth Year Internship:

    If the number of available internship sites is less than needed to place potential interns in a given year, those for whom a third-year internship cannot be arranged will be eligible for a fourth-year internship.

    Inasmuch as internship is based on an action-reflection model, the intern will be required to complete a post-internship reflection project designed in consultation the seminary's internship director and may be required to return to seminary for an additional term.

    The provision for a fourth-year internship is not a matter of choice by the student but a matter of circumstance and requires approval of CTEL, the respective bishop and the respective seminary.

  • Concurrent Internship:

    After completing seminary requirements for internship placement and with prior approval by the CTEL, a student may be placed in a concurrent internship. This is placement in a supervised internship setting for a duration of time equivalent to the normal requirements (e.g. 18 months at half-time internship of 9 months equivalency, or 24 months at half-time for 12 months equivalency).

While arranging internships on behalf of the ELCIC, the respective seminaries, through their internship director, are encouraged to support the following factors relative to specific placement sites and/or arrangements and are urged to see that they are incorporated into the Internship Agreement of the respective intern.

  • Since pastoral supervision is basic to the educational components of internship, interns are not to be placed in congregations or parishes that are without a called pastor. Should a vacancy occur during the internship, if at least one-half of the internship has taken place, then the interim pastor may serve as pastor-supervisor for the duration of the internship upon agreement by the seminary, CTEL and congregation or parish. If half the internship is not completed, the internship director shall consult with the CTEL, seminary and congregation or parish.
  • Where a potential placement is considered for a World Mission context, such needs to be processed by the seminary in partnership with the National Office. World Mission sites must apply in writing to the respective seminary and provide documentation in writing as to quality of supervision to be provided. Placements to be considered for World Missions shall be assessed by the seminary and CTEL on the basis of how well such a placement correlates with ministry goals.
  • Where a placement is considered in a parish/non-parish combination, the respective seminary shall ensure that pastoral supervision and an Internship Committee are well coordinated to serve the educational requirements of the internship program.

General Application and Procedures:

The ELCIC Candidacy Manual shall be the national standard for internships and shall take precedence over the Manual for Contextual Ministry (in the case of Waterloo Seminary) or Manual for Internship and Handbook for Lay Internship Committees (in the case of Lutheran Theological Seminary, Saskatoon).

In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
© Copyright 2007 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada