Education for Ministry is a four-year program of Theological Education by Extension, provided and administered by the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, for lay people, because all baptized people are called to ministry. You do not have to feel called to be ordained deacon or priest at some point in the future. You don’t have to be Anglican. While you will get continuing education credits for your efforts, there are no tests whatsoever, and you can take each year as interest and circumstances permit.
For each year, a thoughtfully laid-out “Reading and Reflection Guide” is provided, showing assignments for participants in year one, two, three, or four and what is read by all together. For anyone starting new in EfM in year one, the primary reading is a book about the Hebrew Scriptures. Year two continues with a primary book about the New Testament, and year three is about church history.
The nice thing about EfM is that participants of all four years meet for sharing, discussion, and theological reflection at the same time, so someone starting in year one will be encouraged by those in years two, three, or four. And, because things can happen with one’s life, family, work, pets, one very good thing about the program is that “If you haven’t done your homework, come anyways!” If you haven’t had the time or “head space” for a week’s reading and/or thinking, come anyways and be encouraged by the fellowship.
For me, the best thing about EfM is the people, who I very likely would not have met otherwise! I’ve enjoyed listening to their sharing about themselves, their thoughts, experiences, views, beliefs. I’ve heard about different cultural and denominational backgrounds, life issues, changing views of God, personal growth, and struggles.
Recently, two people in our group, which is LGBTQ2-affirming, finished year four. One of them started out not being interested in history, but then found they were interested in church history after all. The other continued with year four after having taken a break from EfM for a few years. They said, “It has broadened my understanding, challenged me to ask hard questions, and deepened my faith.”
EfM will get you to think. That’s not a bad thing. All baptized people are called to ministry, and through the process, with the support of others, you come to think about what that can mean for your life. What are you called to do?
Blessings as you explore, grow, walk out, and act on what you are called to do!
If you have questions, or are interested in enrolling in EfM, please don’t hesitate to contact Susan Roe-Finlay, our Diocesan EfM Coordinator at [email protected], or you can call her at 204-783-3357.
You can find more information about this program at the EfM website. This program can also be taken online.