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Rural communities seek ministers

Exploring Rural Ministry, a national Fund for Theological Education, offers a learning event for students and seminarians considering a call to pastoral ministry in underserved rural areas.

The seminar is Oct. 3-5, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Mount St. Benedict Convent and the MICAH Center, Crookston.

Students will view the Red River Valley beet harvest; learn from pastors who serve rural congregations; visit Riverview Hospital (an innovative rural community hospital); hear from local community leaders; and learn about MICAH, a unique mission of a local church.

Rural America is struggling and the attraction of American urban centers leaves rural communities increasingly challenged to attract and retain young leaders--including pastors for local churches.

Many graduating seminarians are drawn to big-city churches, which often enjoy greater financial resources, programmatic opportunities and social connections. Pulpit vacancies for rural congregations in parts of the Midwest routinely range from 50 to 80 percent.

This conference invites students who hear this countercultural calling to explore their interest in serving heartland communities.

This seminar is open to seminary students from the Midwest and Northeast who are exploring a call to rural ministry, together with Minnesota church and community leaders, hosted by FTE, an ecumenical, national nonprofit that supports excellence and diversity in pastoral ministry and theological scholarship.