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For ELCA Candidates

Endorsement typically occurs in the year prior to internship or field work. 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 documents.
  • One is considered ready for endorsement after completion of one third of the required academic work. A breadth of coursework in Bible, theology and the Lutheran Confessions are helpful in preparation for endorsement.
  • Most synods require that CPE be completed before the endorsement interview. Be in contact with your synod to find out your requirements. Information about CPE sites can be found in the Contextual Learning Office in Northwestern Hall or on their website.
  • Many 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 the candidacy committee is required prior to an ELCA internship or supervised field experience placement.  Endorsement decisions received at least 6 months prior to the hoped for start of an internship are most helpful to the Contextual Learning office in making faithful internship placements. Internships typically begin in the summer or fall and occasionally in January.

The Endorsement Essay

The endorsement essay questions are available on the ELCA website (see "Essay" tab).

The essay is to be submitted 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 mentor.

When do endorsement interviews normally take place?

An endorsement interview is scheduled when 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. Endorsement interviews that take place at a time other than the fall will be coordinated on a case by case basis.

What happens at the interview?

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 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.