It is hard to believe that it has been four years since the St. Matthew’s Education for Ministry (EFM) group shyly and anxiously walked into the upper room for our first EFM class. But regardless of our trepidation, we quickly began to feel that this group had come together at this time in this place for a reason.
Our group consisted of folks from around the Diocese, Lorna Howell, Lynne Corbin, Ellen Cook and Pat Stewart from the parish of St. Matthew’s. Dan Thagard and Alison Westervelt, from St. George, Transcona, Carolyn Mosher from St. Luke’s, Diane Panting from St.Peter’s, Alice Williams from St. Thomas, Weston, and Heather McIntosh from St. Francis, McPhillips. Our mentors were Gwen McAllister and the Rev. Canon Fletcher Stewart, both from St. Matthew, Maryland. We also had a few other members over the course of the years, but due to personal reasons were unable to complete the full four years. However, that is one of the luxuries of the EFM model, is that while it is a four year program, you can take breaks and return as it best meets your needs.
Our journey through the EFM program can best be summed up in four words, Faith, Fellowship, Fun and Food – all experienced in an atmosphere of love. While we were all from different parishes and different walks of life, we all brought a strong yearning for a deeper understanding of our faith and the Bible. The strength of the EFM model of learning is that we learn not only from the materials provided by EFM Canada, but we also learn from each other.
The EFM program consists of a four year study model focusing on the Old Testament, the New Testament, Church History and Theology and Current Issues.
Each class consists of two parts, the first being theological reflection. This is where we learned a variety of methods to understand and see God at work in the smallest places of our daily lives. The discussions that were generated through this process brought around many epiphanal moments for us all and at times, it went down many unexpected and wonderful paths. The second part to the class was the review and discussion of the various chapters that were read by each student.
In May and June, the fourth year students celebrated at the various parishes as they were presented with their certificates of completion. We have learned much about the bible, much about theological reflection, and much about Church history. But the greatest lesson that was learned was the absolute value of all of God’s creations and the loving relationships that were formed and will continue to sustain us as we continue on our faith journeys. We encourage you to check out this hidden treasure of a program – you and your ministry will be transformed. (http://www.efmcanada.ca/index.html)