Many people think that one must be ordained in order to be “a minister.” The fact is that all baptized Christians are called to be active participants in the church’s total ministry: the exercise of the church’s vocation to continue the ministry of Jesus.
Education for Ministry (EfM) is a four-year distance learning certificate program in theological education based upon small-group study and practice. EfM is designed to prepare laypeople to live out by word and deed the promises made at baptism: to love God, to serve Christ, and to proclaim the Gospel. It is administered by The School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.
Since its founding in 1975, EfM has assisted more than 80,000 participants in discovering and nurturing their call to Christian service. EfM helps the faithful encounter the breadth and depth of Christian tradition and bring it into conversation with their experiences of the world as they study, worship, and engage in theological reflection. Learn more on the Efm website.
- Seminar Group Meetings: The seminar group is the nucleus of the Education for Ministry program. A group consists of six to twelve participants and a trained mentor who meet weekly for 36 weeks a year, typically over the course of a nine-month academic year. Groups can start up at any time during the year. Meetings are two and a half to three hours in length. Meetings involve worship, discussion of the week’s assignments, sharing of spiritual autobiographies, and practice in theological reflection.
- Personal Study: Participants are given a schedule of weekly study assignments and spend between two and four hours in study and preparation each week. Texts are provided to participants for each year of the program, supplemented by reading and reflection guides, two interlude texts, and common lessons for all participants.
- Prayer and Worship: 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. Participants often share liturgical materials and resources from diverse sources to augment those provided in course materials.
- Cost: The cost of the program, including materials, is $350 per year. Funding for cost-sharing may be available through sponsoring parishes and the diocese. Contact your rector, EfM mentor, or the Diocesan EfM coordinator (see contact information at the top of this page) for information about jointly-funded scholarships.
- Commitment: EfM is offered in four one-year segments. You only sign up for one year at a time!
Join an EfM Seminar Group in Central New York
To learn more about EfM, or to join an existing or forming EfM seminar group, please contact the Diocesan EfM Coordinator (see contact information at the top of this page).
Train to be an EfM Mentor in Central New York
Mentor training is open to graduates and non-graduates of EfM with appropriate skills and experience in facilitating small group learning. Mentors re-certify each year through trainings (18 contact hours) sponsored by more than 80 partnering dioceses around the world.
The EfM staff at the University of the South assigns EfM trainers to lead annual mentor training events in dioceses around the country that provide the 18-contact hours of training required to certify as an EfM mentor. In 2016, four new mentors were trained and certified, along with eight continuing mentors. Participation in the full 18-hours of training (Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon) is required.
Alumni/ae in Central New York
Interested in joining a newly forming EfM Facebook group for the Diocese of Central New York? Contact the Diocesan EfM Coordinator (see contact information above).