Interns start at area Lutheran churches

This article submitted by Molly Connors on 9/10/96.

New interns arrived at Nordland Lutheran and Paynesville Lutheran churches last week.

Both churches usually have interns every year. This year, Paynesville Lutheran's intern, David Tiede-Hottinger, is married to Nordland Lutheran's intern, Kathryn Tiede-Hottinger.

Kathryn and David will stay in Paynesville for one year. While they are here, they will try their hands at everything a pastor does. That's "the idea of an internship," Kathryn said.

As interns, they will teach eighth and ninth grade religion classes. They will be Sunday school teachers. They will educate confirmation students. They'll lead Bible studies. Both will preach throughout their year here. They'll work with young people as youth ministers and they'll work with the adults in other parish business. They are here to learn, David said.

During the beginning period of their internships, the Tiede-Hottingers will shadow their pastors for awhile. They will gradually become independent, develop their own schedules and be responsible for their own projects.

They will meet once a week with their pastors, for one hour. They also have an internship committee. The committee is consists of people from "all ages and walks of life," David said. They are a "pipeline" from the congregation to the interns, Kathryn said. The internship committee also acts as a support group for the intern.

Last spring, David and Kathryn completed their third year at Harvard Divinity School. Harvard isn't a traditional Lutheran seminary, so they are affiliated with Luther Seminary in St. Paul. Since they went a nontraditional route with their education, the Lutheran church requires the Tiede-Hottingers to spend one year in a Lutheran seminary after they complete their internships.

Kathryn is a Minnesota native; she grew up near the Twin Cities in a "really strong Lutheran family." Her father is a pastor and a scholar in the Lutheran church. Right now, he is the president of Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Kathryn said she avoided a call toward pastorship before because her father is a pastor.

She studied Spanish literature and archaeology at Macalester College. During college, she spent her summers working at YMCA camps through the United States, Costa Rica and Ireland. At camp, she worked with kids, who she took backpacking and canoeing.

She received a grant after she graduated from college. Through the grant, she completed a project in Costa Rica. There, she studied pentecostal churches. She taught school in Costa Rica. Then, she came back to the United States and taught middle school physical education for two years.

She "loved kids, but missed the adults," when she was teaching. So, she decided to try Harvard Divinity School.

The divinity school differs from traditional seminaries in that everyone there isn't studying to become a pastor. The majority of students were Christians. Jews, Muslims, Hindus and people of other world religions study religion academically at Harvard Divinity School.

During her first year, Kathryn realized that she "wasn't happy" studying religion academically. For her, the studies "had to be a more personal integration as well."

She said being a pastor beats a nine-to-five job. In her chosen profession, "no two days" will be alike.

David, who originates from Ohio, was raised as a United Methodist. He thought about becoming a Methodist pastor throughout his life. He liked working with people. But, as with Kathryn, he didn't know exactly what he wanted to do until he arrived at Divinity School.

David did his undergraduate work at Oberlin College. He graduated with degrees in government and religion. He worked internationally. He interned in Jerusalem for the Lutheran World Federation in a refugee hospital. He also worked in the Attorney General's office in Ohio.

"I was very confused," he said. "Politics or the Church?" He went to divinity school, where he felt that he could explore both interests. There, he focused on ethics. And he "ended up on the religion side of things," he said.

[ Return to Previous Menu | Archived Press Stories Menu | Return to the News Page ]