A decision by a candidate to attend a seminary other than ELCIC or ELCA should be made only after approval of CTEL.
A non-ELCIC seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools may offer resources which expand and enrich the opportunities for theological study for persons preparing for ordained ministry. Such a seminary must have a theological stance deemed to be consistent with that of the ELCIC. It is not required that candidates hold a degree from an ELCIC seminary.
A candidate who is considering attending another seminary is to register with CTEL and comes under the same candidacy requirements as those attending an ELCIC seminary. It is expected that the student will register and obtain initial endorsement from CTEL prior to beginning theological studies and will cooperate fully with the annual endorsement and final evaluation steps of the candidacy process. Recommendations in writing or in person from the faculty of the other seminary should be requested by CTEL in order to make fully informed decisions for endorsement and final evaluation.
In order for adequate support and assessment by the CTEL, it is required that a minimum of two years must elapse between the initial endorsement of a candidate and the final recommendation for colloquy by CTEL.
Upon approval by the CTEL for attendance at another seminary, the candidate is required to apply to be an affiliate student with an ELCIC seminary so that an advisor may be assigned to guide the candidate in developing an academic program that will meet the requirements for ordination. The advisor will also assist the candidate to design a program for their Lutheran formation residency in an ELCIC seminary, determine readiness for internship and assist in the process of arranging an internship. The affiliate seminary will provide to the CTEL a final evaluation of the candidate. A one-time affiliation fee must be paid to the seminary by the candidate and an affiliation agreement be signed and filed with the CTEL.
The faculty of the affiliate ELCIC seminary will appraise the candidate's theological courses to determine if they meet the standards of the ELCIC. Particular attention shall be given to adequate preparation in Lutheran theology, especially in leading Lutheran worship and in systematic theology. This appraisal is to be submitted to CTEL.
All candidates for ordination in the ELCIC are required to complete an internship under the supervision of an ELCIC seminary. CTEL may approve internship supervision by an ELCA seminary for students studying at a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
The internship year is scheduled in consultation with the CTEL and the affiliate ELCIC seminary. Internship for students attending other seminaries may only be scheduled following the minimum Lutheran formation year of residency at an ELCIC seminary. In addition, the candidate may be required to return to the ELCIC seminary for an additional term following completion of the internship.
A candidate who studies at another seminary is required to complete a minimum one year residency at an ELCIC seminary for Lutheran formation. The residency is to entail full-time course work at an ELCIC seminary resulting in at least the equivalent of five courses for each of the two terms plus supervised pastoral education. The year of residency may be waived by the CTEL in consultation with the affiliate ELCIC seminary.
This period of residency may be taken at any point during a student's M.Div. program or it may follow the completing of an M.Div. program at a non-ELCIC seminary. It must be completed before internship.
The year of residency has the following purpose and objectives:
- to provide the candidate with a solid grounding in Lutheran systematic theology and the Lutheran Confessions, and to enable the candidate to articulate a Lutheran theological perspective. This happens not only in the study of theology but in the study of church history, Bible, worship, preaching, education, pastoral care, and ethics;
- to provide the candidate with a sound understanding of ministry in a Lutheran context: a clear sense of the centrality of Word and Sacrament; an appreciation of the relationship between lay and ordained ministries; a familiarity with policy and practice associated with approval, call, and mobility; and the hopes and visions of the ELCIC for its ordained ministers; and
- to enable the candidate to become part of the seminary community, to participate in the worship life of the seminary, and to establish relationships with future colleagues in ministry which are marked by mutual support and accountability.
ELCIC seminaries which accept students for residency are responsible for providing a program by which the objectives of the requirement can be met. They are encouraged to make available to CTELs and candidates a description of such a program and to individualize the program to fit the needs and experience of the candidate. It may be possible for a candidate with an M.Div degree from another seminary to work toward or earn an advanced degree while fulfilling the objectives of the year of residency.