We all face the difficult and often subtle task of interpreting the richness of the church’s faith in a complex and confusing world. People need the kind of theological education which supports their faith and which also trains them to express that faith in day-to-day events. As the emphasis on lay ministry has grown, EfM has come to be an important part of that growth by providing a program that develops an informed and knowledgeable laity.
This is a class I wish I had ‘discovered’ at a much earlier time in my life. It is rewarding beyond anything I ever thought it would be. The third year reading is as demanding as one would expect Christian history would be, and the text we are using is doesn’t skimp on the details; if fact it is one of the most detailed works of history I have every read. I’m quite sure I will read and re-read this text several times; it is literally difficult to put down.Rising 3rd Year group member
Our Call to be Ministers in the World
Many people think that one must be ordained in order to be “a minister.” The fact is that all baptized Christians are called to be active participants in the church’s total ministry. This Total Ministry is nothing less than the exercise of the church’s vocation to continue the ministry of Jesus. The EfM program is preparation for the ministry to which we are called. It is that vocation for which we pray at the end of the Eucharist: “And now, Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.”
The Seminar Group
The seminar group is the nucleus of the Education for Ministry program. A group consists of six to eleven students and a trained mentor meeting weekly over the course of a nine-month academic year. These meetings are usually from two and a half to three hours in length.
Students are given weekly lesson assignments to study with the help of resource guides. Students are responsible for setting their own learning goals. They spend between two and four hours in study and preparation each week. In the seminars students have an opportunity to share their insights and discoveries as well as to discuss questions which the study materials raise for them.
Through discussion and guided reflection, the seminars furnish an opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of the reading materials. More important is the development of skills in theological reflection. The goal is that students learn to think theologically. By examining their own beliefs and their relationship to our culture and the tradition of our Christian faith, students can learn what it means to be effective ministers in the world. In coming to terms with the notion that everything we do has the potential for manifesting the love of Christ, we discover that our ministry is at hand wherever we turn.
The seminar is supported by a life of prayer and regular worship. EfM groups are encouraged to develop a pattern of worship appropriate to their situations. Liturgical materials are furnished with the course materials.
Registration materials are usually submitted in July or August. If you have been thinking about participating in EfM, now is the time to contact a mentor from groups forming around the diocese.
- St. John’s Episcopal Church, Springfield- Contact Administrative Mentor John Svagera.
- St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City – Contact Administrative Mentor Marie Thompson.
- Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Kansas City – Contact Administrative Mentor Kristin Skuldt-Niederberger.
- And, if an online group would be best for you, check EfM Online for more information.
Please note, Kristin Skuldt-Niederberg also serves as the Diocesan EfM Coordinator and would gladly answer any questions. You can also visit the Diocesan EfM page and the EfM website at Sewanee for more information.