Updates from the Field: Summer Internships Come to a Close

Students Reflect on a Summer of Service

The Summer Internship in Lived Theology is an immersion program designed to complement the numerous existing urban and rural service immersion programs flourishing nationally and globally by offering a unique opportunity to think and write theologically about service. The 2016 internship cohort included Tessa Crews (Col ’16), Brit Dunnavant (Col ’17), and Elizabeth Surratt (Col ’17).

“I hope to act as a steward of the Earth and an instrument of divine love. The garden feels like a fitting place to start.”

A 2016 graduate of U.Va.’s College of Arts and Sciences, Tessa Crews completed a summer internship at the Green Comfort School of Herbal Medicine in Washington, Virginia. Crews learned about integrating herbs, foods and supplements necessary to achieve optimal health and wellbeing and worked to educate the community about this mission. She was mentored by Vanessa Ochs and Teresa Boardwine.


“Perhaps God uses a theology of hospitality to dignify the margins, use the unprivileged to humble and teach the privileged, and to build community and friendship in the place of and across perceived social, racial and economic barriers.”

Britton Dunnavant, a fourth year student majoring in religious studies, spent his summer working at The Haven in Charlottesville. An organization working to end homelessness, The Haven runs a day shelter and administers housing-focused programming. With the help of his two mentors, Heather A. Warren and Stephen Hitchcock, Dunnavant reflected theologically on his duties in the kitchen and in working with other staff members and guests.


“I’m here to listen, to learn, and to love past the discomfort and the self-consciousness. Tension means stretching, stretching means growing, and growing means living, the way we were designed to live.”

Elizabeth Surratt is a fourth year student majoring in political and social thought with a minor in religious studies. Guided by mentors Nichole M. Flores and Mo Leverett, Surratt cultivated relationships with inner city middle school girls through an internship with Rebirth Community Ministries in Jacksonville, Florida. Rebirth’s mission involves mentoring next-generation urban ministry entrepreneurs in the most at-risk American communities.

The interns will give a public presentation of their work to share stories and reflections from their summer service experiences. The event will be held on September 15th at Common Grounds, located at the intersection of Rugby Road and Gordon Avenue in Charlottesville, Virginia. Light refreshments will be provided. See the Facebook event for details.

To read the intern blog compiled of each student’s reflections over the summer, click here.

For updates about the PLT Summer Internship, click here. We also post updates online using #PLTinterns. To get these updates please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @LivedTheology. To sign up for the Lived Theology monthly newsletter, click here.