West Virginia Theological Field Education

Welcome to Palmer Seminary's Theological Field Education in the West Virginia extension program. Theological Field Education is the unique seminary experience where the student's classroom study and ministry context converge. The information gained in study is put in dialogue with experiences in ministry to form effective and reflective servant leaders in the image of Christ.

There are two levels of TFE- TFE 1A & 1B and TFE 2A & 2B, available for students to complete their Seminary requirements. Students may be required to complete either one or two levels of TFE, based upon their degree program and curriculum.  In West Virginia, the two courses from September to May are offered on a rotating basis. This means that TFE 1A & 1B is offered to a cohort of students in one year. These students may then continue in TFE 2A & 2B the following year.  A new cohort of students would then begin TFE 1A & 1B the next year. As with all courses, a level of TFE may be delayed for the year if too few students have enrolled. TFE classes would then be delayed a year, and offered subsequently on this new rotation schedule.

The focus of TFE 1A & 1B is learning and developing the art of theological reflection. The components include working with a mentor/pastor, reading, reflection papers, and a series of TFE seminars in which conversation with other students center around case studies. The hope is that this disciplined form of reflection will become a ministry-long, life-long practice that deepens one’s identity and strengthens one's ministry.

The TFE 2A & 2B program builds on the foundation established in the first year and turns its attention to the integrating more intentionally one's theory and theology with professional skills and competency. Still working with a mentor, the student also incorporates a Site Team in the formative process of ministry. The primary ministry component is planning, implementing and evaluating as ministry project that identifies a specific area of ministry and addresses a particular aspect for personal growth.

TFE is a rewarding opportunity to bring together the pieces of learning and living in such a way that information encounters experience, and out of that rich encounter comes significant spiritual, personal and professional formation in image and service of Christ for the sake of the Body of Christ.

Meet The Rev. Dr. Allan Copenhaver

Rev. Dr. Allan Copenhaver is the pastor of Sutton Baptist Church in Sutton, West Virginia. Allan's philosophy of ministry revolves around the 3 R's: relationships, reaching out, and being real. His sermons regularly highlight these three areas. He received his Doctor of Ministry degree in Missional Church Renewal through Palmer Theological Seminary. The focus of his doctoral work was on improving ministry to the impoverished. Dr. Copenhaver serves the Seminary as the West Virginia Program Director.