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News from the Hill February 19, 2014 | back to index

Hancock Lilly Cooperative M.Div. - Apply by March 15


Apply today to be a pioneer in a new Cooperative MDiv program

Program Aims to Slash or Eliminate Seminarian Loan Debt

Educational credentials.  Parish ministry experience.  Scholarship support.  Gainful employment.

You can have them all.  Earn while you learn in Andover Newton’s new Co-operative Master of Divinity Program. 

Andover Newton Theological School and Hancock United Church of Christ (Lexington, MA) are accepting applications now through March 15, 2014 for the inaugural Co-operative Master of Divinity Hancock Lilly Fellowship.   Funded in part through a generous gift from the Lilly Endowment intended to help reduce or eliminate the need for educational loans to pay for seminary, the Hancock Lilly Fellowship will pioneer a new model of theological preparation for ministry.  The Hancock Lilly Fellow will:​

  1. Begin Master of Divinity studies in September, 2014
  2. Gain the equivalent of two and a half years of ministry experience
  3. Take courses each year with Andover Newton’s exceptional faculty
  4. Earn additional academic credit while working 25 hours per week as a Student Minister at Hancock UCC: preaching, teaching, leading, caring
  5. And… be paid a living wage for this work in the church

We believe that integrating academic and practical theological study with supervised ministry experience is the best way to prepare for ministry in the church.  We are looking for a student who is:

  1. Academically capable
  2. Emotionally mature
  3. Committed to ministry in the United Church of Christ
  4. Eager to combine excellent theological classroom study with hands-on ministerial practice in a congregational “learning laboratory”
  5. Excited to be the pioneer in an exciting new program


The Cooperative M.Div is a grant-funded effort at Andover Newton Theological School that aims to provide theological education and pastoral ministry training within the context of a healthy church community. This new model of ministerial formation will allow the student minister to earn 1/3 of required M.Div credits in part time cooperative learning with a local church. Additionally, the student minister will earn a living wage stipend for this service in order to graduate with an M.Div degree with minimal student debt.

The Hancock Lilly Fellowship is the pilot program of Andover Newton's Cooperative M.Div. The Hancock Lilly Fellowship is a unique opportunity for those called to pastoral ministry in the United Church of Christ. As the Student Minister at Hancock UCC, the candidate will work 25 hours per week as a member of the pastoral ministry staff while also taking two classes a semester at Andover Newton. Paul Shupe, senior minister at Hancock UCC, will be the primary supervisor of the student minister and will facilitate intentional reflection upon the full range of skills used in pastoral ministries. In addition to supervised ministry formation, the Student Minister will complete the core curriculum of the M.Div program at Andover Newton Theological School.

The goal of the Hancock Lilly Fellowship is to immerse the Student Minister in a healthy and supportive church context, where academic and experiential learning for ministry can find immediate consequence. This lively learning environment combines academic excellence with applied learning so that the student will be prepared to meet the transformational ministry needs of the United Church of Christ.


Andover Newton Theological School has a long and spirited tradition of educating ministers for the changing needs of the church.  Andover Newton began its Field Education Program in 1972 and was one of the first programs in the country that provided students with academic credit for ministry experience.  The program has long been recognized as a leader in theological field education, most recently when its model for integrating classroom and field-based learning received a Faith As A Way of Life Award from Yale Divinity School. Andover Newton is an accredited seminary preparing a diverse student body for faith community leadership in numerous settings. Historically partnered with the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the American Baptist Churches (USA), the student population includes forty-two denominations and a significant Unitarian-Universalist presence.  It has close and growing ties with its neighbor, Hebrew College, and is pioneering interfaith relationships at every level.  Andover Newton is uniquely suited for exploration of new ways of preparing students for ministry, having been a leader in this way throughout its more than 200-year history.  More information about Andover Newton can be found at

Hancock United Church of Christ, Congregational, located in Lexington, Massachusetts, approximately 15 miles from the Andover Newton campus, is a large, vibrant and healthy congregation of more than 700 members.  Two ordained ministers and a staff of ten lead the congregation along with dedicated and capable lay leaders.   Hancock UCC is strong in nearly every facet of church life.  We have been a teaching parish for Andover Newton students since the very beginning, in 1972, and more than five-dozen ministers now serving across the UCC did their field education at Hancock UCC.  The congregation welcomes its student ministers, affirms their ministry, and is committed to helping them to prepare for ministry.   Open and Affirming since 1998, Hancock welcomes diversity and does not discriminate.  More information about Hancock UCC is available at


Paul Shupe is the Senior Minister and the leader of the Cooperative MDiv at Hancock UCC.  Paul has been an ordained minister in the UCC for more than twenty-five years, and has served a pastor-centered sized congregation in Maine, as well as large congregations in Wisconsin and Massachusetts.  Paul earned his M.Div at Vanderbilt Divinity School in 1987, and his DMin at Columbia Theological Seminary in 2005.  He is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Andover Newton, and has taught three semesters in the Field Education program’s award-winning Professor-Practitioner Program. Paul has a deep passion for mentoring and preparing students for ministry and has supervised students from Andover Newton, as well as other theological schools.  Hancock’s Senior Minister since 2009, Paul hopes to expand Hancock’s already-sterling history as a teaching parish for ministers preparing to serve the church in a changing world.

Dana Allen Walsh is Minister at Hancock UCC, and has been since her ordination in 2006.  She has been a supervisor of field education students on numerous occasions, and is a full ministry partner at Hancock.  She earned her M.Div at Princeton Theological Seminary in 2006.  Dana also has a commitment to mentoring and facilitates a Community of Practice group for beginning ministers through the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Program of the Massachusetts Conference of the UCC.  At Hancock she has pioneered new models for youth ministry, created and sustained a program for reaching young adults, and played a leadership role been a leader in the interfaith community.


Read these testimonies from Andover Newton graduates supervised by Dr. Shupe at Hancock Church:

The Rev. Brian Gruhn, Associate Minister, Second Congregational Church, UCC, Newton, Massachusetts, ANTS Seminarian at Hancock 2009-2011
As I entered into seminary, I felt strongly called to walk the path of ministry, but I had no sense of where that path was leading. The institutional church felt superfluous at best, an impediment to our Still Speaking God at worst. It was suggested that I go to Hancock Church for my field education experience, and, again, I was wary. I felt called to serve the poor, the needy, the outcast, the oppressed...what could this affluent congregation in Lexington teach me about that?

As it turns out: everything. Hancock Church is not just one of the historic examples of a congregational church, it is also a thriving community seeking to redefine what "church" means in the 21st Century. The congregation is invested, open, and excited to explore their faith and traditions in ways that help them engage their entire lives from a faith perspective.

I can't express how excellent the staff at Hancock is, and the level of excellence they strive for every week. Hancock provides ample opportunities to explore church as it currently stands--they offer a historic collection of two centuries worth of American church life, available for you to explore and study, and also a live laboratory to experiment with new practices and concepts with a thriving congregation of all ages--as well as the freedom to create, dream, and envision new ministries and practices. The clergy at Hancock are the best in their field, they offer insights, guidance, and dialogue that have been essential for my success in my first two years of ordained ministry. On top of all that, Hancock gave me the opportunity to go through my seminary journey without the burden of student loans, and with the opportunity to focus entirely on my own discernment and ministry development, rather than being stuck in a part time job that was unrelated to my call. Hancock is an amazing setting to prepare you for the joys and challenges of Christian ministry in the coming generations.

Becca Lockwood, Anodover Newton Seminarian at Hancock UCC, 2012-2014.
Being a member of the Hancock team has been a transformative and life-changing experience. I have been challenged and given the encouragement and space to meet those various challenges. Working with a collaborative staff and worship staff has opened my eyes and informed me more intimately of how I envision my own ministry and leadership style better than any classroom experience could. This is a gifted and driven group of ministers and staff who share a passion for this congregation and the ministry they are doing together.


  1. Complete an admissions application to the Master of Divinity Program at Andover Newton Theological School by March 15, 2014.  A complete application consists of:
    1. An application form (available online or on paper at
    2. A written essay
    3. Three letters of recommendation
    4. Official transcripts from colleges and universities attended since high school
    5. A $50 application fee

Note:  if you have already been admitted to Andover Newton, or will have earned fewer than 30 credits toward your Master of Divinity degree at Andover Newton by July 2014, you are eligible to apply for the Hancock Lilly Fellowship without submitting a new admissions application.

  1. Complete the application for the Hancock Lilly Fellowship by March 15, 2014.  A complete application consists of:
    1. An application form, available online or on paper here
    2. A written essay
    3. An interview (by invitation only, and required of finalists in early April)

  All required materials must be received by 4:30 pm on March 15, 2014 to be considered for the Fall 2014 Hancock Lilly Fellowship.

Invitations to interview will be extended no later than April 1 and the interviews themselves will conclude by April 15, 2014.  Only one Fellowship will be awarded for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Submit all application materials by a method providing delivery confirmation (such as Priority Mail, UPS, or Federal Express) to:

The Admissions Office
Andover Newton Theological School
210 Herrick Road
Newton Centre MA 02459
Fax:  617-831-1630
Email:  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

IMPORTANT:  Materials sent by United States Postal Service First Class mail may not arrive in a timely manner:  to assure delivery on or before March 15 be sure to use a delivery method that provides delivery confirmation and retain copies of all materials submitted.

Download Application