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"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Seminary Debt

SIM (Society for the Increase of the Ministry) reported in the autumn issue of their newsletter, The Call, that of the 42% of the class of 2008 reporting having debt, they estimate that they will graduate with an average MINIMUM indebtedness of $62,000.

By their own figures reported to SIM, their debt payments and debt service will come to about $12,000 per year against a medium income of $45,500 (26%).

SIM also reports that enrollments at our official seminaries continue to decrease. They report that the number of students in Master of Divinity Degree programs at Episcopal Seminaries has decreased 25% over the last three academic years.

(It should be noted, however, that seminaries are offering many different degrees, diplomas and certificates. SIM estimates that there are over 25 such academic credentials.)

Is it any wonder that today's seminarians who are in the ordination track are seeking more economical paths to education, training and formation? It's simply a matter of fiscal responsibility and good stewardship, which, I would think, we would want to encourage.

So, if your church has called a newly graduated seminarian, remember to be Very Generous at the Offertory at her/his Service of Ordination.

I'll close with a shameless pitch: Please do consider a contribution to SIM. I would not have been able to get through seminary without scholarships from them.

Society for the Increase of the Ministry
924 Farmington Avenue #100
West Hartford, CT 06107

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