I am having a massive internal conflict as of late. The basis of my conflict is field ed and more precisely, where I should do my field ed. For all those who are not well familiarized with the PCUSA ordination process and/or Princeton Theological Seminary academic requirements let me explain. The seminary mandates that I have to do one academic year placement and one summer placement. One of those two placements must be at a church. My Presbytery says that I have to do a church placement as well as a Clinical Pastoral Education placement at a hospital that is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). That’s all well and good and I have no problem with any of those requirements.
I was offered a position for this coming summer (summer 2012) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. At first, I was super excited but now I am having second thoughts. There are two main reasons for my doubts, one having to do with I suppose logistics and the other having to do with ministry. CHOP is obviously in Philadelphia. If I were to drive to Philly every day, it would take me at least an hour. I would then have to park in their remote parking lot and take a shuttle from the parking lot to the hospital. At the end of my long day at the hospital, I would then have to drive an hour back to Princeton with traffic. My other option would be public transportation. If I lived on campus I would walk to the Dinky, take the dinky to Princeton Junction, take the train to Trenton, take the Trenton line from Trenton to Center City, take the Media/Elwyn line and then walk. If I live in CRW, I would have to drive to a station or take the shuttle to campus. That would involve leaving at 6:20, if I needed to be at the hospital by 8:30. It is a lot of traveling and I would hate it early in the morning and after my day at the hospital. I also feel like it would be very expensive.
The other cause of my doubts pertains to ministry. I emailed the Committee on Preparation for Ministry for the Presbytery of Boston and they are very specific that Clinical Pastoral Education sites must be ACPE accredited in order for the committee to count it as CPE for the ordination requirements. This means that even though I would be doing everything that I would do at a CPE site it would not count as such. In my mind, if it isn’t going to count as the requirement I need then I should do something that will fulfill my requirements and because I am feeling myself called more towards parish ministry I feel that I should probably spend the summer doing field ed at a church.
I have no idea what to do and this internal battle I am having about what to do is both distracting and me bringing me to tears. I’m working on praying for some guidance but would love and appreciate input.