The Office of Alumni/ae Relations at McCormick recently sent out a survey to alums and is featuring responses to the most frequently asked questions. Our second response comes from the Dean of Students, Christine Vogel, in response to questions about the ways that McCormick is preparing students for the ever-changing world of ministry.

McCormick Seminary has always been in the forefront of training leaders for the church of both today and tomorrow. Tomorrow is now upon us as we read last week that for the first time, the birth rate of non-white Hispanics has outpaced the birth rate of Euro Americans. Neither our nation, nor our churches look like they used to.

The Office of Student Affairs continues to provide vocational planning and guidance for all our students. As a seminary of the Presbyterian Church USA,we offer review sessions to assist our students in preparing for the standard ordination exams and the Bible Content Exam which are required for ordination. These are now offered on-line and over the next year, those exams will be read and graded on-line as well.

Collaboration Among PC(USA) Seminaries
In past years, we have offered practical workshops throughout the year which include resume writing, interviewing skills, negotiating terms of call, fiscal responsibility and mock interviews. At a recent meeting of the Placement Officers of the PCUSA Seminaries we agreed to explore the possibility of seeking a grant (hopefully from COTE) to help us develop a collaborative website with interviews and podcasts of many of the vocational workshops we currently offer individually. While some of the interviews will be most relevant for PC(USA) students (e.g. preparing for the Bible Content Exam), we hope that the majority of offerings will be useful for students of any denomination.We have already developed an initial priority list of workshops and presenters and anticipate that the grant would allow us to hire a design team. The resulting site would be linked to our seminary websites, allowing students to review the various workshops as the needs arise.

Called to Serve, But Not in the Parish
For the past two years the Office of Student Affairs has hosted a day-long workshop on specialized ministry (“Called to Serve, but not in the Parish”). The workshop is designed to help students who do not feel called to traditional congregational ministry think about other ministry options, including tent-making and bi-vocational ministry. We recruit alums, and other ministry professionals who are serving in specialized ministries, such as chaplaincy, higher education teaching and administration, prison ministries, non-profit leadership, spiritual direction, to name a few.

New Initiatives
Our office has also been in ongoing conversation with the Doctor of Ministry/Continuing Education program to develop a series of workshops and continuing education programs on what it means to be engaged in entrepreneurial ministry.


Comments? Email and they will be posted.

Questions? Email Dean Vogel directly at