Announced by The General Theological Seminary in spring 2014, The Way of Wisdom integrates the disciplines of formation in seminary education rather than separating academics, training, and experience. The Way of Wisdom inspires students to interpret and learn from every aspect of their time in seminary – from Chapel service and classes to parish ministry and the experience of living in New York City. Visiting experts offer lectures and workshops which help students to hone real-world ministry skills, like pastoral leadership, stewardship, and financial management throughout their three years at General.
In their third year, The Wisdom Year, M.Div. students synthesize their entire seminary education through practical experience that goes beyond field placement by placing the student at a real-world, paid, part-time position in a ministry setting. The students are given support, mentoring, and tools to connect this experience to their academic pursuits on campus. In a single move, General Seminary is creating an environment that goes well beyond knowledge while wading into wisdom, reducing the cost of seminary tuition and housing by one third, and meeting the growing need of the 400 Episcopal churches in the area for eager, theologically trained pastors and leaders on a rotating basis.
The components of discipline integration are well underway at GTS, and some students are already working in a pilot of The Wisdom Year, a new form of practical training that will allow General graduates to “hit the ground running” at their job placements in the real world. The pilot program began in fall 2014 with the placement of two M.Div. seniors in paid, part-time positions at parishes within General’s wide geographic reach. In fall 2015 the pilot will expand, allowing current students the option to participate and providing new students with the full three-year Way of Wisdom program which culminates with The Wisdom Year.
Dean Kurt H. Dunkle writes about The Way of Wisdom in his articles The Way of Wisdom – Diving into the Deep End and The Wisdom of “Both” and “And.” You are also invited to find out more about The Way of Wisdom at www.gts.edu/wisdom.