Education for Ministry (EfM)

As we approach the beginning of another year of EfM, I have given a great deal of consideration to what parishioners might want to know in order to consider enrolling in EfM for the 2018-2019 year.  As a result of this consideration, I have decided to start with telling you what EfM is NOT.

  • EfM is NOT only Bible study.  EfM students study the Bible but also learn how to understand the Bible within its historical context and literary setting.
  • EfM is NOT personal therapy or problem solving.  EfM groups do develop a close community in order to delve deeply into matters of faith and theology.
  • EfM is NOT a closed community.  The content of EfM materials and the processes we use for reflection are not secrets.
  • EfM is NOT an academic program leading to a degree or an ordination program.

Now that you know some of the things that EfM is not, it is important to learn what EfM is. Lay persons face the difficult and often subtle task of interpreting the richness of the church's faith in a complex and confusing world. They need a theological education which supports their faith and also teaches them to express that faith in day-to-day events. As the emphasis on lay ministry has grown, EfM has come to play an important role by providing a program that develops an informed and knowledgeable laity.

EfM is a four year program. The seminar group is the nucleus of the Education for Ministry program. A group consists of six to twelve participants and  trained mentor or co-mentors who meet weekly over the course of a nine-month academic year. Our meetings at St. David’s are 2½ hours.  Participants are given weekly assignments to study with the help of resource guides. (Year one participants study the Old Testament. Year Two participants study the New Testament. Year Three participants study church history. Year Four participants study theology). EfM students spend between two and four hours in study and preparation each week. In the seminars members 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 to deepen understanding of the reading materials.

More important is the development of skills in theological reflection. The goal is to learn to think theologically. By examining their own beliefs and their relationship to our culture and the tradition of our Christian faith, participants can learn what it means to be effective ministers in the world. In coming to terms with the notion that everything we do has 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. Tuition is $375 and scholarships are available.  If interested, please speak with the co-mentors, Lynda Crowl/Earl Olson, or the Rector!

This month's blog was written by Lynda Crowl
Lynda is our Sr. Warden and EfM Co-Mentor

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