Hosting an Intern takes Courage…Being One Does, too

by Pastor Vera Guebert-Steward


Since 2006, Evergreen Lutheran Church has hosted seven Seminary Interns. All our interns have brought us innovative preaching, teaching, and leading. I’m excited to share with you that on August 12 our next seminary student arrives. Rachel Swenson is excited to meet you and to serve in the capacity of Pastoral Intern at ELC. I look forward to sharing wisdom and responsibility with Rachel. She’s a power house and someone who loves people, arts and crafts, the mountains, animals and most of all, Jesus.

As the supervising Pastor for all our interns, I have enjoyed and been challenged by each student we have hosted. Supervising Pastors receive both the blessings of sharing pastoral ministry with
a seminary student as well as the challenges of additional work.
I am called to evaluate, constructively criticize, mold and shape, encourage and accompany an intern seeking approval for Ordination in the ELCA. A supervising Pastor is considered adjunct faculty for the seminary and the internship site, ELC, becomes an extension of the seminary’s classroom experience.

I am so proud of ELC. You have given selflessly to the greater church and while interns bless us, the cost to our congregation is considerable. Thank you for taking the responsibility of raising up new leaders so seriously. What you have given to the greater church through your tremendous generosity is commendable. Each intern costs the congregation approximately $30,000 per year. Add up the cost of 7 interns and you come up with a bunch of money; $210,000 to be exact. Another intern will raise that gift to almost a quarter of a million dollars. That, my friends, is a tremendous gift to the church and the Contextual Ed Program of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. I am delighted to say that
I believe we have engaged in this ministry because we do not labor for the glory of our own local church, but for that of the greater church and the Kingdom of God.

So, hosting an intern takes courage. You will open your hearts once again and allow the presence of another to both bless and stir you. And our intern, Rachel Swenson, will open herself up to your love, grace, criticism and partnership as she spends ten months learning what it means to pastor a beloved people.

I hope you will welcome her with open arms. May you take seriously the passage from Exodus 18 which calls us to teach Rachel God’s decrees and give her God’s instructions. It demands that we show her how to conduct her life by conducting ours with dignity, integrity and grace.

Thanks to Diane McFadden, Jacque Whyte, Jim vanWestrienen, Tom McEwen, Peggy Fetchenhier and Ed Furlong for consenting to serve on the ISC (Intern Support Committee) for Rachel. Their ministry and encouragement of her will be invaluable.