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For M.Div. ELCA Candidates

Endorsement typically occurs in the year prior to internship. It is the second step in candidacy, and it involves partnering with your synod and seminary faculty advisor to explore your call to ministry and the integration of your seminary study. Typically, the members of your candidacy committee travel to the seminary for this interview. You will complete an essay and share it in an interview.

The endorsement step in the candidacy process "serves to encourage and affirm those who clearly demonstrate the gifts and qualities for a specific ministry in this church. The areas of development that will be addressed are: Understanding of call to ministry; Spiritual growth and faith commitment; Educational and theological wisdom; Personal and Interpersonal skills." (ELCA Candidacy Manual, p.93)

When am I ready for endorsement?

The ELCA candidacy manual instructs us that one is ready for endorsement when they have completed approximately one year of study (assuming you are studying full time). It is your responsibility to determine when that time is in your course of study. Many candidacy committees come to campus in October for endorsement interviews and the majority of interviews happen at this time. One must be endorsed before going on internship.

When should I do CPE?

Many synods require Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) prior to endorsement. Be in contact with your synod to find out their requirements. Information about CPE sites can be found in the Contextual Learning Office on the third floor of Northwestern Hall or on their website.

How do I know if I am ready for endorsement?

  • First, you must have a positive entrance decision. Be sure you have complied with the direction given by your committee in your entrance documents.
  • One is considered ready for endorsement after the equivalent of one year of full time study. It is the student's responsibility to review their transcript to see if approximately this much coursework has been completed.
  • Many synods require that CPE be completed before endorsement. Be in contact with your synod to find out if this is true for your synod.
  • Many synods expect Teaching Congregation reports (or the Luther Seminary equivalent, Christian Public Leader) and transcripts to be in your file before an endorsement interview.  It is your responsibility to share these documents as requested by the candidacy committee.
  • A positive endorsement decision by the candidacy committee is required prior to an ELCA internship or supervised field experience placement. If you plan to begin internship summer or fall, you should consider completing your endorsement interview the previous fall.

Do I need to write an essay?

Yes! Download the endorsement essay information from the ELCA website (see "Essay" tab) to get started.

When is the essay due?

The essay is to be submitted by September 1 (for fall endorsement) or at another time as designated by your candidacy committee.

Where do I send the essay?

Send one copy of the endorsement essay to your synod office and one copy to your candidacy mentor.

When do endorsement interviews normally take place?

An endorsement interview is scheduled with the candidacy committee, student and seminary deem that a candidate is prepared to take this step in the process. While many candidacy committees will be on campus to interview students during fall reading days, interviews can happen at any time in the year when the student and synod are ready. The Student Resource Center works with the synod candidacy committee and the faculty to make arrangements for the interview. If it is determined that your endorsement interview will take place at a time other than the fall, that will be coordinated on a case by case basis.

What happens at the interview?

The candidacy process calls for a panel interview conducted by two members of the candidacy committee and a member of the faculty (usually your candidacy mentor). The panel will make a recommendation to the synod candidacy committee. The committee then makes the final decision regarding endorsement for ordained or lay rostered ministry.

How should I prepare for the interview?

This is a video of a conversation with faculty, synod and student representatives talking about the interview and ideas for preparation.