Continuing Education

First Call Theological Education

The transition from seminary into public ministry is a dramatic one. To support our leaders in this time, the ELCA has prescribed standards and expectations for continuing theological education during the first three years of rostered service under call. Throughout the ELCA, this effort is known as First Call Theological Education (FCTE).


FCTE involves theological reflection, ministry skills development, personal spiritual formation, and relationship building with peers and colleagues. In the Saint Paul Area Synod, we strive to offer “FCTE with teeth.” We believe that what FCTE requires should be substantial and substantive. You may hear from colleagues in other synods that their FCTE is less demanding, but we believe that ours will be more formative and therefore will prepare you more fully for a healthy and sustainable ministry. A full menu of requirements for FCTE is available here.



This is not a solo effort. It is a partnership between the leader, the ministry site and the synod. All three parties sign a covenant detailing their commitment to your healthy development as a leader in the ELCA. This covenant holds us to what we hope will be a mutually beneficial program for us all, and we take it seriously. As the leader, ministry site and synod partner together, the result will be a graceful transition for the new leader, a healthy relationship between the leader and the site, a deepened commitment to lifelong learning, and a more vibrant and effective ministry in a changing world.


For more information about FCTE in the synod, contact Anna Grunner, Executive Assistant to the Bishop,



Learning Cohorts for Rostered Leaders

As a metro area synod we have many opportunities to gather, and we do so often. But, however valuable a one-day workshop can be, a life in ministry is also replete with questions and demanded skills that need more time to develop. To this end, we have begun offering Learning Cohorts: sustained small group studies of a critical question or aspect of ministry, designed to teach us and help us live further into our callings.


This kind of learning allows for deeper inquiry as well as relationship building between peers and facilitators, and is an important counterpart to the handful of half-day/day-long workshops the synod offers each year for continuing education. The topics change frequently and we strive to offer opportunities for our leaders to learn with and from one another under the guidance of exceptional facilitators. 


All of our learning cohorts are subsidized by the synod. This reflects our commitment to providing ongoing access to the wealth of experience and resources already present in the Twin Cities. These subsidies are our reinvestment of the funds we receive from Portico Benefit Services when we reach the goal of 65% of plan member completing the Wellness Assessment.


Learning Cohorts kick off in the fall and spring. All classes are currently in session. Keep an eye on this space for the next round of classes.


For more information about learning cohorts, contact Anna Grunner, Executive Assistant to the Bishop,