Educational Training for the Congregational
Foundation for Theological Studies
In General. There are three major educational requirements for the Congregational Foundation for Theological Studies:
- Fall Seminars
- Supervised Ministry Experience
- Directed Study in Congregational History and Polity which includes the Boston Seminar
Fall Seminars. Each fall, the students of CFTS and the Board of Directors gather in one location for an educational experience, board work and fellowship with one another. Every CFTS student is required to attend three Fall Seminars, each on a different topic. The subjects of the Fall Seminars are carefully chosen to give all CFTS students a well-rounded education unique and pertinent to our member Congregational churches. The CFTS program pays for your travel, food and lodging expenses for each seminar. In general, there is no follow-up work required. Participation is the main component of each seminar. In addition to the educational focus of the weekend, fellowship with other students and board members is often cited by participants as a highlight of the experience.
Congregational History and Polity Directed Study and the Boston Seminar. The Directed Study begins with required readings and papers on assigned books covering a variety of aspects of Congregationalism. This is followed by the Congregational History and Polity Seminar, generally held in Boston in the summer. While in Boston, students spend five full days in lectures and in research at the Congregational Library. Faculty is made up of people chosen for their special background in and knowledge of the history and classic polity of the Congregational Way. They, along with the helpful staff of the library are available to assist students in the formation of research projects. One day of the week is devoted to visiting sites in and around Plymouth, Massachusetts which are important to the early history of our churches.
Many seminaries will give credit for the Congregational History and Polity Directed Study and Seminar as a fulfillment of a polity requirement or other independent study.
The British Seminar. Every three years, selected CFTS graduates tour sites of importance to our American Congregational antecedents, becoming more fully conversant with our British separatist and puritan history. Graduates are selected upon application and accompanying essay regarding their CFTS education and experience. This seminar is also open to other interested individuals.
Supervised Ministry Experience. The Supervised Ministry Experience is designed for students to develop personal and professional skills, and to demonstrate suitability for ministry. The Supervised Ministry Experience is built upon specific learning goals drafted by the student and the student’s supervising minister. CFTS requires the equivalent of a 1000 hour Supervised Ministry Experience. However, you may complete a 500 hour Supervised Ministry Experience if you also complete one basic unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).
Most seminaries have requirements related to a Supervised Ministry experience. As much as possible, CFTS will be flexible in accommodating these requirements, avoiding duplication of Supervised Ministry.