Education for Ministry
Are you interested in theological education in the comfort of your own parish? Education for Ministry (EFM) is a Christian formation course that involves scripture and theological study, as well as reflection on one’s own life as ministry. One participant has called EfM ‘mini-seminary— with no papers and grades.’ Students can sign on for one year, or decide to take all four years of the program. I’m hoping to begin a joint EFM program in the fall with St. Paul’s in North Andover, and I need a minimum of 6 members to start a group. For more information, contact Rosemarie Buxton at email@example.com
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS EfM?
Every encounter one has in life is an opportunity to enhance or impede the flow of divine Love. That’s ministry. Christian baptism gives us this gift and call. Education for Ministry (EfM) equips us live into that gift—to become more conscious and conscientious about being a member of the body of Christ, a minister.
EfM is a vibrant and enlivening program of adult Christian formation in small seminar groups of 6-12 participants. Participants study together, pray together, laugh together, and reflect together on their lived experience from a theological point of view.
Audrey, an EfM seminar participant in Connecticut persuaded her town’s local Board of Education that her theological formation qualified as fulfillment of her continuing education requirement as a teacher. She told them EfM made her a better teacher, because she saw her students as children of God.
EfM is not . . . . . . .
-academic discussion of intellectual texts
-a parish program accountable to and managed by parish leadership
-for Episcopalians only
-traditional Bible study
-a class or a course with students and a teacher
-the responsibility of a rector or other professional to direct or lead
– a prayer group
– a social group
-a support group
-a training ground for ordained ministry
-an elite clique or clergy-centered
EfM is . . . . . . .
-a seminar of small group learning over four years with handsome framable diplomas
-tuitional ($360 yearly)
-led by mentors who are trained and in-serviced regularly by trainers assigned by the Beecken Center, University of the South, Sewanee TN.
-for Christian lay people who desire to deepen their relationships with God, self, neighbor
-on opportunity to receive 18 CEUs per year
-living your baptism
-a safe confidential place to ask any and all questions
-convened and guided by trained mentors
Mentors/Co-Mentors are skilled in group process and the practice of theological reflection. They guide theological reflection, register a group, collect tuitions, communicate with Sewanee, attend inservice trainings, recruit, start new groups
Diocesan Coordinators plan and implement mentor trainings, promote EfM in the diocese, stay current with developments in the program evolution, meet with mentors
-“It’s the most important thing I’ve ever done for myself my whole life.”
-“Just to learn that there were actually three popes at one time freed me!”
-“I never understood the Bible just from listening to little snippets in church.”
-“Wow! Really eye-opening to get to know Jesus so well. Never understood that whole thing and now I consult Jesus like a friend.”
“I can pray out loud for a group and create a little worship service without clergy help.” “I see my school business as ministry and my colleagues in the light of grace. It helps my patience.”
-“Parenting is ministry!”
-“I have learned to trust my relationship with myself.”
-“I’m really awake in church because I recognize stuff.”
“As a rector, I find that congregational life is enlivened by an informed laity.”
Massachusetts EfM Coordinators
The Rev. Lyn G. Brakeman firstname.lastname@example.org and the Rev. Richard J. Simeone email@example.com. Trainings for mentors take place in many locations around the country. Trainings in Massachusetts take place in early February and early September at the Campion Center, Weston MA.
The EfM website is http://efm.sewanee.edu/