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Mar 16, 2011 | Luke Blount

St. John the Divine Fellows Program Offers Leadership Training

In 2000, St. John the Divine, Houston started a fellows program for recent college graduates to “provide a forum in which young people become firmly rooted in their relationship with Christ and are trained to integrate their spiritual lives with their professional career.”


“This isn’t just for people looking towards seminary,” said Meg Rice, volunteer administrator of the program. “We are looking for any young person wherever the Lord may take them.”


The fellows program functions much like an internship. From September to May, participants are provided with a host-family, who houses and often feeds them. St. John the Divine also provides a part-time job in the field of their choice along with a mentor. Past graduates have worked with doctors, lawyers, teachers, and social workers in addition to receiving theology classes from the clergy of St. John the Divine.


Fellows also participate in weekly bible studies and round table discussions. And every year, the group takes a mission trip overseas. Each fellow is asked to contribute about $6,000, but financial assistance is possible. These funds pay for food, travel, retreats, educational curriculum, and the mission trip.


“I can’t say enough about the fellows program,” said Emily Hodges, a 2010 graduate. “You may know what you want to do after college and you may not, but this gives you a broader perspective in your field.”


Hodges worked with the Small Steps program in Houston, providing early childhood education for at-risk children. And now she works with the non-profit, Newspring, where she helps run a visual arts campaign at Spring Branch, Texas public schools.


“It is a bridge,” Hodges said. “In college, you learn through textbooks, and in the real world it doesn’t really match up. The fellows program offers a more well-rounded approach through the lens of your faith.”


Over the past decade, 43 graduates have come through the program. Of those, four have finished seminary and eight took positions in youth ministry, children’s ministry or church staff positions. Three are doing foreign mission work. Two have finished medical school. Two are now lawyers. Two finished Teach for America. And three are in social work.


“It is just a phenomenal variety,” said the Rt. Rev. Claude Payne, retired Bishop of Texas. “It really allows young people to develop their leadership skills.”


St. John the Divine is now working to start the same type of program in 12 other resource-sized parishes in four dioceses around Texas. 


For more information, or to apply for the 2011-12 SJD fellows program contact Meg Rice at or 713.629.4128