(The Fund for Theological Education named Mere Christianity Forum one of its 2011-2012 VocationCare Calling Communities and awarded a Cultures of Call grant for the Servant Scholars Internship Program. For more information about this new partnership click here.)
The Servant Scholars program is an innovative summer internship experience that integrates service, learning, and living. The program aims to shape the character, faith, and vocational discernment of high-potential students through an intense experience of servant leadership linked with life in an intentional Christian community. The Servant Scholars will engage one another, faculty, and the Greenville community by living in Christian community, serving in internships at Greenville-based social service ministries, and growing in the intellectual quest for faithfulness through a curriculum and training course led by guest faculty from Furman University and the Greenville church and non-profit communities.
The Servant Scholars will intern for approximately 35 hours a week for 10 weeks in their particular ministry context. The internships will provide firsthand experience for interns to work with persons living in poverty and to interact with people and organizations dedicated to the alleviation of suffering for the impoverished. At the same time the interns will be challenged to think critically about the systems that often contribute to persons remaining in cycles of poverty. Our hope is that the Servant Scholars will continue to build on these experiences by dedicating themselves throughout their lives to the reduction of suffering of poor persons in their communities.
In addition to the approximately 35 hours a week of internship work, the Servant Scholars will spend an additional five hours a week in coursework and community building experiences. In coordination with on-site learning in the internships, the Servant Scholars will learn about and reflect on the theological, sociological, political, and economic complexities of poverty. There will be books and periodicals assigned for reading in preparation for the weekly discussion over a meal and during the “class.” Each weekly meal and class will be facilitated by a Furman faculty member, a leader from a church or non-profit, or the Executive Director of Mere Christianity Forum.
The Servant Scholars program will encourage the interns to process their on-site learnings with their site supervisor. The pairing of service and learning has become a hallmark of successful college internships. However, the Servant Scholars program adds an additional layer to the “service-learning” model by connecting the two with living in intentional Christian community. Not only will the interns be learning at work, they will also be learning together “at home” by reading and reflecting on the content of their coursework amidst a life of prayer and Christian community.
The Servant Scholars will live at the Mere Christianity Forum Vista House in a covenant context of intentional Christian community marked by regular communal prayer and worship, table fellowship, hospitality ministry to guests, and stewardship of the organic garden. The weekly rhythm for the Servant Scholars will include meeting for morning communal prayer and worship, dining at least once each week together, and embodying the covenant of living in Christian relationship with one another. In addition to their responsibilities of living according to the covenant and working in their internship, the residents will serve Vista House guests with Christian hospitality, maintain the organic garden, and build relationships with other residents as part of their experience of living in intentional Christian community.
If you are interested in applying to be a Servant Scholar, please contact us via the Contact page.
The Servant Scholars program has applied for grants to support at least a portion if not the majority of student’s living expenses including some meals and the program expenses of books, faculty interaction, and a modest stipend for their internship. Students may apply for Furman Advantage funding by March 1st to guarantee their expenses are met and if a student is a member of the Poverty Studies Concentration additional funding may be available if they want the internship to satisfy the required internship for their Concentration. All funding issues will be worked out on an individual basis to meet the needs of the intern. Don’t let funding be a deterrent from participating in this program. We will help you find a way to make it work.
Social Service Ministries:
Frazee Dream Center
Contact: Alise Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org)
GAIHN: Greenville Area Interfaith Hospitality Network
Contact: Rev. Tony McDade (email@example.com)
Contact: Rev. Beth Templeton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Contact: Linda Tassie (email@example.com)
Greenville Literacy Association
Contact: Janna Lusk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Contact: Mandy Black (email@example.com)
North Greenville Food Crisis Ministry
Contact: Suzanne Kolb (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Contact: Allen Hellenga (email@example.com)
Triune Mercy Center
Contact: Rev. Deb Richardson-Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Contact: Rev. Julie Dunson Meredith (email@example.com)
Contact: Justen Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
St. Francis Bon Secours
Chaplaincy or Community Garden