Lilly Vocational Interns
The Civic Engagement program and Office of Church Relations have developed a Lilly Grant program for selected St. Olaf students to live at Luther Seminary in St. Paul and engage in internships at area churches or service organizations over a 10-week period in the summer. More information...
Student: Kyle Svingen ’11
Majors: Physics & Religion
Location: Christ Church Lutheran
This summer, I worked at Christ Church Lutheran, a small congregation located in the Longfellow Neighborhood of South Minneapolis. I was involved with every part of the life of the parish while exploring the pastoral vocation. I taught preschool, assisted with worship, began a Fair Trade coffee initiative, planned church events and parties, and compiled a small 'oral history' of the church. Most importantly, I simply became a true member of the Christ Church community this summer.
I taught preschool all four weeks, and developed some strong relationship with the young children there. I conducted interview with church members and compiled a 30 page oral history of the congregation. I organized an event for young people in the church to meet each other and develop relationships. Also, I began a program at the church to sell fair trade and organic coffee after services through Lutheran World Relief.
I'll never forget the community of which I was a part this summer. It was incredible to witness these people who, day in and day out, support each other in their Christian lives, and they have helped to empower me to live out my ideals. I am still considering the pastoral vocation, but even if I never join the clergy, this summer has cemented in me the desire to live out my faith in my vocation.
Student: Alexandra (Ali) Wertz ’12
Majors: Political Science & Religion
Location: Calvary Lutheran Church on 39th and Chicago Ave
I am mainly working in a non-profit organization called "The Urban Arts Academy" that is at Calvary during the week. This non-profit is for what are considered to be "high-risk" inner city kids to explore various forms of art.
As the intern at Calvary, I have helped lead Vacation Bible School programs, helped organize a mini farmer's market in the church parking lot, visited some of the church's senior members, preached a couple times on Sunday mornings, and talked with parishioners and Pastor Brad Froslee about the challenges and blessings of the Lutheran Church in a very inner-city context. But the majority of my time during the week is spent working with the non-profit organization that is located in the church, called the "Urban Arts Academy." Through this program, I am a mentor for a seven year old boy, an art teacher, and a group leader.
I think I brought a lot of energy to the various Vacation Bible School programs I worked with throughout the summer. The first was a joint effort of five inner city churches, combining their kids into one larger VBS program. My leadership and music skills paid off that week. The second VBS program I helped organize and lead was an inter-generational program on Wednesday nights in July. The Lutheran Church in the city is at an interesting point, as the core members and leaders of the church are typically older members. I was able to come into that program as a youth who was excited about the church, excited to be at VBS, and with the energy to engage others.
This experience has been extremely valuable in terms of vocational exploration and discernment. I learned that there are many ways to serve and many places to do so in my own backyard. I better understand the challenges of an inner-city church; how, despite being in a colorful and diverse neighborhood, the Church has a bridge to gap between its Scandinavian, middle to upper-class members, and its lower-class, diverse, neighbors. I think becoming a pastor would be a tough but wonderful job, brainstorming creative ways in which the inner-city Church can reach out and grow.
Student: Green Bouzard ’11
Majors: Sociology/Anthropology & Religion
Location: St. Paul's Lutheran Church (Iglesia San Pablo), ELCA, Midtown Phillips neighborhood, South Minneapolis
My main role as an intern at St. Paul's was to co-direct a youth program called Young Leaders. Young Leaders is a job-training program for youth aged 11 to 15, meant to teach youth general job skills (responsibility, responding to a supervisor, and work ethic) while they serve and learn about the Midtown Phillips community and earn a small stipend. In addition, I got to know members of the congregation by participating in a sewing class, being an active attendee of worship (and playing my violin for worship services), and taking on leadership roles for our day camp, Vacation Bible School, and community nights with partner churches.
My greatest contribution was as a director of the Young Leaders program, which my co-coordinator and I planned and ran 4 days a week for about 5 weeks. In addition, I hope that my violin playing contributed to worship in a meaningful way.
I especially saw through this internship the power of community to be the seed of social change. I'm definitely interested in pursuing work (in a church or non-profit) in an urban setting and with Latino immigrant communities.
Student: Stephanie Abbas ’11
Majors: Religion & Sociology/Anthropology
Location: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Exploration is the word I use to describe my Summer Vocational Internship experience. I worked closely with residents at Trinity Apartments and Trinity on Lake, two affordable housing complexes on the church's property. I had the opportunity to be involved with youth events throughout the summer, such as Vacation Church School, a musical, a hand bell workshop, and a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Also, I met with social justice organizations in the Minneapolis area and learned about their roles in the community and with Holy Trinity. As the summer came to a close, an interest in chaplaincy formed, so I was able to connect with a chaplain at an area nursing home. These opportunities were offered to me by Pastor Jay Carlson, the pastor at Holy Trinity.
The most important impact I had at Holy Trinity was contributing to the church's role in social justice, which is a part of Holy Trinity's motto, "Traditional Worship, Contemporary Message, Social Justice." This was accomplished through the variety of tasks listed above. Most importantly, I lived out social justice through building relationships and recognizing the potential in every human being. Relationships I built throughout the summer impacted my life and I believe I had a positive affect on others.
This will continue to be a question and doesn't have a definitive answer, but this internship offered me an opportunity for self-reflection and meaning-making. I realized my love for working with older adults and the importance of community living in all stages of life. Also through weekly meetings with Randy (our on-site supervisor), Eli, Green, Kyle, and Ali, I discovered the importance of reflection in today's world and the need for individuals to be passionate in their work.
Student: Elisabeth (Eli) Preisinger '11
Major: Social Work
Location: Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul, MN
Pastor Jim’s passion for social justice shone through the works of Redeemer in so many ways. This is a passion that Pastor Jim and I share, and it was wonderful to be a part of a community so committed to social advocacy. The time at my internship was divided between three main areas; Daily Work, ISAIAH and Redeemer community outreach. “Daily Work”, a non-profit affiliated with Redeemer, serves as employment ministry for residents of the metro area. Through “Daily Work” I had the opportunity to work with low-income clients helping them to get back on their feet. ISAIAH is a faith-based organization that works toward correcting issues of social justice within the community. Through ISAIAH, I worked with members of the larger community to advocate for residents and business owners of University avenue, fighting for equitable community development as the Light Rail Transit gets constructed and the community faces huge changes. Finally, I helped Redeemer with community outreach through one-on-ones with congregation members, particularly young adults in an effort to build up the young adult involvement. Additionally, with events at the church, such as Vacation Bible School and the Music on the Blacktop concert.
The congregation of Redeemer is quite small and therefore a very close tight-knit community. It was a truly wonderful opportunity to be so graciously welcomed into that community from day one. The support and love that Redeemer exudes both for each other and the larger community of St. Paul of which they are a part was a remarkable and very unique experience, one which I will never forget.
Having learned more about the behind the scenes happenings at church and getting to play the role of a Pastor somewhat, I have begun to give more thought to pursuing ministry after college. These experiences have helped me to identified several things that give my life meaning and ways in which I can live that out. I have been exposed to many new situations and individuals who have taught me an invaluable wealth of information that will help me to live purposefully.