U.Va.'s Project on Lived Theology Launches Unique Summer Internship

June 14, 2010 — The University of Virginia's Project on Lived Theology has launched a new summer internship program to support structured theological reflection by U.Va. students participating in service immersion programs around the world.

This summer, Roger Conarroe and Virginia Lee Stephenson will reflect on their work with, respectively, Save the Children and ONE, a Washington-based organization dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. ONE was co-founded by Bono, the lead singer of Irish rock band U2.

Each summer, the internship will give two U.Va. undergraduates an opportunity to pursue low-wage or unpaid service positions while participating in structured theological reflection, providing several thousand dollars per student to cover travel, books and living expenses. Each student will be matched with a theological mentor who will develop an assigned reading list and confer weekly with the student. The students will submit weekly writings and a final summary project.

Conarroe, a rising fourth-year majoring in religious studies, will reflect on the role of his Christian faith as he focuses on health and nutrition issues during his summer in Burkina Faso with Save the Children, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating lasting change in the lives of children. "I'm absolutely thrilled to find out what this experience might offer," Conarroe said.

Stephenson, who graduated in May, plans to link her work fighting poverty and preventable disease with ONE to her studies as a history major, including her thesis, which examined how the theme of alienation in the African-American literary tradition influenced and informed American civil rights leaders in 1950s and 1960s.

The new internship program is funded as part of a $2.1 million Lilly Endowment grant supporting Project on Lived Theology operations through 2014.Inquiries about future internships can be addressed to livedtheology@virginia.edu.

The project was established in 2000 with a grant from the Lilly Endowment. Its mission is to clarify the interconnection of theology and lived experience and by so doing, to offer academic resources to the pursuit of social justice and human flourishing.

— By Brevy Cannon