Change the world.

It's your calling... it could be your career. The summer internship in urban ministry. 

For five years, from 2015 to 2019, the Urban Foundation offered an 8-week summer Internship in Urban Ministry, which provided life-giving opportunities and experiences for both the interns and the urban communities that they served. The pandemic, and the sale of Orchard House, where the interns lived, has ended the program for now. The program was a huge success, however, and we hope to restart it one day soon.

What motivated these amazing young people to participate?

  • Make a difference in the lives of others through a program of spiritual growth and service.
  • Discern call while engaging in practical and transformative work to build just community.
  • Experience working in ministry and service with communities of faith and with organizations serving urban communities.

interns_2015.jpgWhat did the work-sites contribute?

  • Serve the community alongside the urban interns.
  • Train young leaders.
  • Share their passions for the community with young people.
  • Receive additional support toward accomplishing their purpose and goals in the community context.

How did faith communities benefit?

  • Experience the gifts and graces that young people bring to the work of ministry.
  • Build relationships between interns, spiritual leaders and congregations.
  • Provide interns opportunities to serve in worship and other leadership roles in the congregation.
  • Help congregations experience and support a culture of call.

Program description: The United Methodist Urban Internship is an eight week summer experience for young people (21-28) who wish to explore living and working in faith-affiliated programs in Los Angeles. In addition to full-time work at an assigned site, interns meet individually weekly with a spiritual mentor, and weekly with the program director to reflect on their experiences, and to discern a calling to service and/or ministry. Housing is provided, and interns live together in cooperative community. Meals are planned communally, and transportation via public transit is provided. (Left, 2018 interns visit Union Church garden project.)

One highlight of the program is the contribution that interns make to their work-sites. This year's work-sites include Peace Camp at United University Church; the Urban Foundation and Kid City, affiliated with First United Methodist Church of Los Angeles. We are hoping to be able to offer more sites and will update this page as they are confirmed. One important aspect of the intern experience is to share their work with the church congregation, and to provide a bridge for the congregation to support and participate in the work at the work-site. 

It is our hope that through this internship experience, participants will consider if they are called to work in urban communities, whether in ministry or in some other aspect of service.


Program details: Interns are introduced to the program, work-sites, and mentors during the first week of the program. (Left, 2017 interns and program volunteers at Cal-Pac Conference.)

Interns live in community at Orchard House near USC campus. They work an average of 35-40 hours per week at their placement sites in affiliated faith-based programs in south and central Los Angeles. All sites are accessible by public transit, and interns are given MetroTAP cards for all their transportation needs. In addition, interns meet with their spiritual mentor weekly for spiritual direction and to reflect and process issues in the internship. As part of their work with the placement site, interns are expected to participate in Sunday morning worship, and to inform and engage the congregation in the work they are doing. Finally, the program coordinator meets with interns weekly as a group for reflection and dialogue, as well as during two day-long retreats during the program.


Dates:  June 8 - 17 (exact date to be determined; may depend on intern school schedule) to August 12. (Left, 2016 intern cohort with Seidi and Domenica (2017 interns) at culminating ceremony.)

Housing: Interns live in intentional community at Orchard House near USC campus. An on-site Resident Advisor will coordinate household chores, purchase of shared staples, communal supplies, field trips, and other community events. Interns are required to live at Orchard House during the entire internship and participate in all events. 

Board: Interns share a communal budget for shared staples so they can cook and eat together.

Transportation: Interns receive Metro TAP cards and use public transportation. Personal cars are not needed and are allowed only in special circumstances to be discussed with the program director.

Work-sites: Each intern is assigned a work-site (a church or church-affiliated program) where they report to a site supervisor. Based on information received from applications and interviews, staff and work-site supervisors assign placement sites, as much as possible according to interests and career goals of the intern and needs of the sites.

Seidi___Jeanne.jpgMentoring and church attendance: interns meet with a spiritual mentor one hour a week, and attend Sunday morning worship. There, the intern gets to know the congregation and serves as a liaison between the congregation and the affiliated worksite. (Left, 2015 intern Seidi Valencia with spiritual mentor, Deaconess Jeanne Roe Smith.)

Weekly group mentoring: Interns meet twice a week for communal dinners, spiritual reflection, and theology study.

Additional retreats, trainings, and outings also include visits to each other’s work-sites and churches, and two full-day retreats with program staff. 

Stipends: Interns will receive $2000 for the eight week summer program, paid in four installments. 

Questions? Please call email Anne Hawthorne at [email protected].

Ready to apply? Applications now open for Summer 2019! Apply here! 

Want to know more?

Read Blog by Domenica Castillo 2016 urban intern

Blog: Inaugural 2015 class of urban interns

Interested in supporting this project? Please contact Anne Hawthorne at [email protected]

Showing 1 reaction