Carroll Receives Grant to Establish Ministry Internships

Friday, August 12, 2016

HELENA– Carroll College has received a grant of $41,580 from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust to establish the Vision & Call Ministry Internship Program. The program provides for three internships per academic year for senior theology majors that are committed to more deeply engaging in a vocation of ministry.

Carroll College’s Theology Department is creating a new ministerial path which includes an emphasis in ministry for both the major and the minor, which was prompted by expressed student interest in a degree that prepares them for a career in ministry. The courses, coupled with internships, combine intellectual, reflective and critical study with practical field experience and leadership training. The Vision & Call grant is instrumental in creating opportunities for meaningful ministerial work and experience for Carroll students.

Carroll College was chosen as a recipient of this funding because the theology program emphasizes an apprenticeship model of learning within a community of mentors and peers, encourages conversations regarding vocational direction, offers a significant ministry or work experience, and demonstrates growing institutional support. The grant provides full funding for two years, which will support three interns per year for a total of six interns. The grant has the option to be partially renewed twice (2/3 of the initial amount for years three and four and 1/3 of the initial amount for years five and six) for a potential total of three awards over six years. The college plans to sustain the program through grant-matching funds.

In addition, the Theology Department has restructured its degree curriculum to make it more accessible for students to add theology as a second major. With this change, the program more directly addresses the college’s mission to support students in their realization of the dual goals of vocation and enlightenment. The modifications also respond to a well-documented need within this current generation for opportunities that allow them to explore fully their faith and spirituality. The restructuring has been met with immediate interest with ten students having declared theology majors this academic year, more than doubling the number of majors over recent years.

“With the Vision and Call grant, we’re able to take to its fullness what has become our de facto motto in theology, to ‘explore the deep’ of your faith. Now we’re doing as Pope John Paul II has asked and 'going out into the deep,'“ said Dr. Eric Hall, the Hunthausen Professor of Peace and Justice at Carroll and assistant professor of theology and philosophy. “We’ll now be sending merciful, compassionate, and highly intelligent young persons into ministry situations to concretely address the hurts of our world, and to learn to do so with both gusto and professionalism,” continued Hall.

The Vision & Call ministry internships will fold into theology’s new structure as a senior capstone experience for students who have completed their ministry coursework and a three-credit internship and are confident in their call to post-collegiate ministry. The new internships will provide these students with a valuable opportunity for a ministry experience of greater depth and rigor than is allowed by the parameters of a three-credit internship.

About the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust was created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, who was a co-founder of Tektronix, Inc. of Beaverton, Oregon, and a resident of Vancouver, Washington. Since its establishment on June 30, 1975, with a bequest of about $90 million, the Trust has focused its grantmaking efforts primarily in five states of the Pacific Northwest: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The Trust’s current assets are valued at about $800 million, and over the life of the Trust, more than $658 million has been distributed through 4,818 grants.

The Trust’s mission is to enrich the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest by providing grants to organizations that seek to strengthen the region’s educational, cultural, and spiritual base in creative and sustainable ways. Although the primary funding interests are education and scientific research, grants are also given to a wide variety of organizations, including those that serve the arts, public affairs, health and medicine, human services, and people with disabilities.