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For 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. 

At endorsement the Candidacy Committee and seminary partners affirm:
- "a candidate's continued discernment of a call to and gifts for a specific rostered ministry, and
- "mutual discernment among a Candidacy Committee, seminary faculty and a candidate of his or her readiness to complete candidacy successfully"   (Candidacy Manual 2016, p. 49)

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 decision.
  • You are considered ready for endorsement after completion of one third of the required academic work. Coursework in Bible, theology and the Lutheran Confessions are helpful in preparation for endorsement.
  • Most synods require CPE be completed prior to the endorsement interview. Contact your synod to determine their expectations. Information is on the CPE page of Contextual Learning. 
  • Synods have opportunities for students to connect with the candidacy process following entrance through a relator or contact person, candidacy retreats, developmental interviews, Candidate Accompaniment Plan panels, or annual updates.  These connections provide opportunities to clarify the best time for you participate in an endorsement interview.
  • A positive endorsement decision by your candidacy committee is required prior to an ELCA internship placement. The Contextual Learning office requests that endorsement decisions are received at least 6 months prior to the start of internship. Internships typically begin in the summer or fall. 

The Endorsement Essay

The endorsement essay questions are available on the ELCA Candidacy page under Essays tab. 

The essay is to be submitted to your candidacy committee by September 1 (for fall endorsement) or at another time as designated by your candidacy committee. Send one copy of the endorsement essay to your synod office and one copy to your faculty candidacy advisor.

Endorsement interviews

An endorsement interview is scheduled when the candidacy committee, student and seminary determine 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. Endorsement interviews that take place at a time other than the fall will be coordinated on a case by case basis.

Interview process

The candidacy process calls for a panel interview conducted by representatives of the candidacy committee and a member of the faculty (usually your advisor). The panel makes a recommendation to the full synod candidacy committee, which may meet at a later date. The committee then votes on the final decision regarding endorsement for Word & Service and Word & Sacrament rosters. 

Preparing for interviews

This video with faculty, synod and student representatives discusses ideas for interview preparation.