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Sustaining Pastoral Excellence

Through the generosity of the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Ecumenical Theological Seminary has been awarded a Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Sustainability Grant.  This grant allows ETS to incorporate the best practices of our former Sustaining Pastoral Excellence for those already in ministerial positions into our master’s level programs.  Therefore each year four additional components will be required in our masters’ programs.  

Incoming students will join colleague groups for three years.  These colleague groups are intended to form the basis for ongoing peer groups that provide sustaining relationships lasting well into their ministerial years.  Five workshops will be provided each year to supplement the students’ classroom experience.  Some workshops are designed to provide basic non-theological information needed for effective pastoral ministry and others will introduce trends in cutting-edge ministry in the twenty-first century.    In order to help sustain and deepen their own personal spirituality, students will have the opportunity to attend an ETS retreat each year.  The fourth component, normally experienced during the summer following their first year of classes, will be an intensive, Detroit immersion experience.  This will incorporate immersion in the history and issues of Detroit combined with experience of vibrant ministries and services presently occurring in the Detroit Metropolitan Area.


Colleague Groups

All students beginning the Masters Level programs in Fall of 2010 and later are required to participate in a Colleague Group.  The Formation for Ministry Class will serve as the colleague group your first year.  Thereafter these groups meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month throughout the academic year.  While you receive no academic credit for your participation, it is required during your first three years.  More information about this is made available during New Student Orientation every September.

ETS Workshops

During the course of your Masters level studies at ETS you are required to attend 6 workshops that are designed to introduce you to cutting edge ministry in the 21st century.  Five workshops will be offered each academic year, so you are encouraged to attend many more than the six required. Details of these workshops, including scheduling and topics, will be made available on the ETS website and the newsletters

ETS Retreats

During the course of your MA studies at ETS you are required to nurture your personal spirituality by attendance at two retreats.  However, you are encouraged to participate in one ETS retreat each year.  Details of these retreats, dates and type, will be available on the ETS website.

Detroit Immersion Experience

During the course of your MA studies at ETS you are required to participate in one Detroit Summer Immersion.  You are encouraged to participate in this with your Formation for Ministry classmates the summer after your first year of classes, but for extenuating circumstances, you may participate after your second year.  Dates for the Detroit Immersion will be available on the ETS website.

The Colleague Groups, Workshops, Retreats and the Detroit Immersion Experience are made possible at minimal cost to the student by a generous Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Sustainability Grant awarded to ETS by the Lilly Foundation.

More information is available from Professor Pat Benson at:

Ecumenical Theological Seminary 
2930 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201 
(313) 831-5200 x 206 
Email Prof. Benson