In the Episcopal Church, we believe in an idea described as "the priesthood of all believers". It is a belief that all people who believe in Jesus Christ are called to minister, not only to each other but to all the people we meet and live with. And by ministering, we don't mean preaching but caring for and nurturing others, showing God's love not just through words but also through actions. The Episcopal Church also believes in education. About thirty years ago, people at the Episcopal Seminary, part of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, decided to develop a curriculum that would provide a primary theological education to lay Christians. Thus Education for Ministry was born. It is a distance learning course in which the group members meet each week to discuss reading materials that provide primary education in the Bible, the history of Christianity, and contemporary theological issues. It is a four-year program, but students commit to only one year at a time. Each year costs $360. However, scholarships are available. The first year is devoted to reading and understanding the Old Testament. Second, the New Testament, Third: the history of the Christian Church. Fourth, contemporary theological issues. The discussions are led by mentors who act as facilitators who keep the discussions on the topic rather than as teachers. The groups make decisions about how the groups will be run within a broad set of guidelines. At Holy Cross, we meet on Monday nights at 6:15 pm until 8:30. Seminars begin in September and finish in May. By agreement, the groups begin and end each meeting with worship. Each member of the group leads worship several times each year. So, in summary, when you are a member of an EFM group, you gather together with other courageous souls to Snack, Pray and Learn.
For more information, you can contact Andy Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.