Education for Ministry at Grace Church
Change your Mind and Grow your Spirit
Since 1975, Education for Ministry (EfM) has provided a “life as ministry” adult curriculum for lay people. This is a distance-learning program of the School of Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. (The University of the South is owned and governed by the Episcopal Church, but all denominations are welcome to participate in EfM—our seminar at Grace Church has Episcopalians and Roman Catholics, as well as members of at least three different parishes.) There are EfM groups in Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
The EfM curriculum for each year of the four-year sequence is covered in weekly seminar meetings that roughly follow a traditional academic calendar (August to May).
Year One, focuses on Hebrew scriptures [Old Testament] along with academic commentary.
Year Two focuses on Christian scriptures [New Testament] along with academic commentary.
Year Three focuses on the history of Christianity (East and West) over the last 2000 years.
Year Four focuses on theology and interreligious studies.
All four years meet together using a one-room schoolhouse approach that encourages finding common themes and make connections across the EfM curriculum. All enjoy hearing and appreciating what all the participants have studied and been thinking about since the last meeting.
Our EfM sessions close with brief worship, in which participants have the opportunity to lead on a rotating, voluntary basis. We also believe in snacks and refreshments, which again, participants have the opportunity to lead on a rotating, voluntary basis. Almost every week a significant block of seminar time is devoted to all participants taking part in a fairly structured process of Theological Reflection. Using a starting point provided by the curriculum, or the mentor, we go through a series of steps to articulate a theological response to what has been presented.
Periodically there will be an interlude week in which all participants, regardless of year, will be provided a common reading to study at home and work with at the seminar. We also have an annual retreat at a monastery, and a year-end picnic.
Seminar groups have from 6 to 12 participants in addition to a mentor(s) who have passed EfM mentor training. (Father John is the rector of Grace Church Norwood and a retired professor from the University of Delaware where he taught Biblical and Classical Literature as well as a variety of Biblical Literature classes. He has mentored EfM groups in the Dioceses of Delaware and Massachusetts for the last 18 years.)
Tuition, currently $375, covers all essential printed materials, other than a Bible, and an honorarium for the mentors. Scholarships and reduced tuition are available in case of need. Seminar meetings normally last 2 ½ hours on Monday nights. Participants generally spend two to four hours studying their materials to prepare for seminar sessions.