X

Education for Ministry

Fertile ground to grow your faith

“Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers” (Baptismal Covenant, BCP 304).

 

Every baptized Christian is called to ministry.  What is yours?  Education for Ministry (EfM) is a program of the School of Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee) that provides the foundational education to assist you in discerning and carrying out your ministry.  Like the mustard seed (Luke 13:18-19), we need fertile soil to grow.  EfM is that fertile soil and we are the mustard seeds.  Learning scriptures, church history, and theology is the light shining on the soil, warming it so the seed will sprout.

The EfM program develops an informed and knowledgeable laity through a series of four, one-year seminars.  A small group seminar (maximum of 12 participants and two mentors) is the nucleus of the EfM program.  Likened to the original house churches of the first century, our groups conducts all four years concurrently in the same seminar, one each on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  In year one, participants academic study focuses on the Hebrew Bible; year two on the New Testament; year three is church history; year four wraps it all together with theology.  Additionally, there are a couple interlude periods when all four years will read from the same material which is linked to that year’s theme.  Each year is built around a theme, which rotates cyclically every four years.  Themes include: Living Into the Journey with God (2016-2017), and Living Faithfully in Your World (2017-18), and Living Faithfully in a Multicultural World (2018-2019).  The theme for next year will be Living as Spiritually Mature Christians.  From mid-September through mid-June, we meet at the Cathedral on Tuesday or Thursday evenings for fellowship over a meal, to discuss our studies, and to reflect theologically.  Participants should expect to spend on average between two to four hours weekly preparing for the seminars.

Seminar groups work under the leadership of mentors who serve as enablers and administrators.  Mentors are not teachers who impart information to a class in the traditional sense.  Instead they manage the group dynamics, guide the discussion of lessons and theological reflections, and administer logistics with Sewanee.  Rather, the role of the teacher is engineered into the program materials as well as being heavily shaped by your fellow participants.  Bringing the light of what we learn to share in an intimate group setting each week allows for insights and growth — new affirmations and understandings — that can sustain and support us in our lives as Christians living day-to-day in the world while simultaneously teaching us to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance for our personal ministries.

EfM is not a program for ordination, but rather a series of lay education seminars conducted amongst a small, tight-knit community.  Nor is EfM simply a Bible study.  While the readings during the first two years are centered on the Bible, equally important is the development of skills in theological reflection.  In learning to think theologically, we examine our beliefs and their relationship to our culture and the tradition of our Christian faith, making us more effective ministers in the world.

Finally, EfM is not for everybody.  While it may be easier to think of EfM as four one-year units rather than a continuous four-year program…it is nevertheless a significant commitment.  It is important that potential participants seriously consider whether they will have the time to devote to the program.  As previously noted, participants need to be able to commit to regular attendance and active participation which will include several hours of preparation weekly.  The group relies on each member for it to achieve its full potential.  Absences diminish that potential.  Participants must also commit to developing and maintaining a healthy group dynamic that values a diversity of opinions while respecting the dignity of every human being.

For the interested or just curious, talk to one of the experienced EfM folks (efm.edsd@outlook.com) or visit the EfM web site at www.efm.sewanee.edu.  There you’ll find lots of information, including sample lessons.

Texts (2020-2021)

Year 1 The Bible (the Hebrew Bible)
A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible

The Hebrew Bible: Feminist & Intersectional

     Perspectives

John J. Collins

Gale Yee (ed)

 

Year 2 The Bible (the New Testament)
Introducing the New Testament Mark Allan Powell
Year 3 Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years Diarmaid MacCulloch
Year 4 Theology: A Very Brief Introduction David Ford
Mysteries of Faith Mark McIntosh
The Christian Moral Life Timothy F. Sedgewick
My Neighbor’s Faith Peace, Rose, and Mobley
Interlude 1 The Sabbath Abraham Joshua Heschel
Interlude 2 Hospitable Planet Stephen Jurovics

by
Category: #Uncategorized

Respond to this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Stories

Diocesan Convention: Casting our Nets
August 19, 2020

Bishop Susan Brown Snook is excited to invite you to this year’s Diocesan Convention: Casting Our Nets on Nov. 6-7. As we move into the Year of Evangelism in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, we are especially focusing on sharing the joy of Christ in our lives with the world. Today, the world needs […]

A Miracle is Happening Here in the Parking Lot!
August 7, 2020

PARADE OF CARS AT EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES  ST. MARGRET’S NEW RECTOR AND DONATES ONE AND A HALF TONS OF  FOOD FOR HUNGRY FAMILIES   Sunday, August 2, over 300 cars formed a steady stream of locals intent on delivering a big in-person welcome to the new head priest of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm […]

A Peaceful Place Apart: Even During Coronavirus
July 31, 2020

Camp Stevens, an Episcopal camp and retreat center just outside of downtown Julian, has shifted gears this year—instead of summer camp for 100 kids every week, the facility now offers day use for hiking, swimming, meditating in the outdoor chapel, as well as small overnight retreats for individuals and families. Nestled on 256 acres of […]

View All News
Receive the latest news.

© Episcopal Diocese of San Diego 2020. All Rights Reserved.