Education for Ministry (EfM)

Education for Ministry (EfM) is a four-year program developed by the School of Theology at the University of the South to provide lay persons with tools and resources that will encourage them to more fully engage their baptismal journey in daily life. Participants enroll one year at a time, each year building on the last. The heart of the program, theological reflection, is supported by an exploration of the disciplines of biblical exegesis and interpretation, systematic theology, church history, ethics, liturgics, and ascetical theology.

Through study, prayer, reflection, and small-group conversation, participants are offered an opportunity to examine their own beliefs in light of the Christian tradition and everyday experience — developing knowledge, aptitude, and identity as followers of Jesus. The first two years of the curriculum focus on Scripture (year one on the Hebrew Scriptures and year two on the New Testament), year three examines Church history, and year four focuses on theology and ethics.

Topics covered include:

  • Spirituality, prayer, and worship
  • The authority of the Bible for the church today
  • The lessons and perspectives of history
  • Theological reflection as a life skill
  • Integrating behavior and belief for faithful living
  • Discovering vocation, passion, and one’s place in the church

If you are interested in learning more about this amazing opportunity, contact Cheri Winter, Diocesan Coordinator for EfM, at EfM@EpiscopalColorado.org, or visit Sewanee University of the South.

EfM Mentor Training at Cathedral Ridge

August 21– 23, 2020, at Cathedral Ridge

The 2020 EfM Mentor Training has been scheduled for Friday, August 21, through Sunday, August 23, at Cathedral Ridge. The training is for anyone seeking accreditation or re-accreditation for the purpose of mentoring an Education for Ministry group or who is exploring the possibility of becoming an EfM Mentor.  Training begins at 3 pm on Friday and runs through 3 pm on Sunday. Participants must be present for the entire training event in order to be considered for accreditation/re-accreditation.

Two trainings are currently being offered:

Foundations of Seminar Life will equip people to understand the role and responsibility of an EfM Mentor. Those who successfully complete the training will be accredited as mentors by the Beecken Center at the University of the South. The training is experiential, and its aim is to equip the participant for recruiting and mentoring an EfM group, as well as further the participant’s understanding of group theological reflection. If your last three trainings were non-Foundations of Seminar Life (formation or alternate training), you must do a Foundations of Seminar Life as your fourth reaccreditation training.

Ministry in Daily Life (formation level training option) helps participants discover what God is calling us to do and be, individually and collectively, then find the myriad ways and resources needed to do it. You must have completed two Foundations of Seminar Life trainings and have been approved for a formation level training by your last trainer. You must be an active mentor who has led a group within the last 12-18 months. If you have done three consecutive formation training events, you must take a Foundations of Seminar Life training.

Cost of the training is $350 and includes training and materials, housing in Lupine Lodge at Cathedral Ridge Friday and Saturday nights, and meals during the training. A $100 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot in this training event, however, should the COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, causing the event to be cancelled, your deposit will be fully refunded. The remaining balance will be due by close of business on July 24.

 Registration deadline is Thursday, July 9.

Contact Cheri Winter, EfM Diocesan Coordinator, for further registration information at EfM@EpiscopalColorado.org.

Education for Ministry (EfM) Seminar Groups around Colorado

All Saints Episcopal Church, Loveland
Mentor: Tami Wiltz, efmallsaints@gmail.com
Meeting time: Mondays, 5:30-8:30pm, September through May

Cathedral Church of St. John in the Wilderness, Denver
Mentors: Tammy Larimore, tlarimore@comcast.net
Meeting time: Mondays, 6:00-8:30pm, September through May

Mentor: Jim Nelson, jnelson1945@hotmail.com
Meeting time: Wednesdays, 6:30-9:00pm, January through December

Central Denver Metro
Mentors: Pennie Goodman, pennie@coef.org; Shawn Nowlan, snowlan01@gmail.com
Meeting time: Tuesdays, 6:00-9pm, September through May

Christ’s Episcopal Church, Castle Rock
Mentor: Cheri Winter, cherikwinter@gmail.com
Meeting time: Tuesdays, 6:30-9:00pm, January through November (includes a summer break)

Mentor: Cheri Winter, cherikwinter@gmail.com
Meeting time: Wednesdays, 9:00-11:30am, January through November (includes a summer break)

Church of the Transfiguration, Evergreen
Mentor: Stephanie Park, stephaniepark911@gmail.com
Meeting time: Mondays, 6:30-8:45pm, October through June

Grace and St. Stephen’s, Colorado Springs
Mentors: Anna Johnson, annajohnsonatgrace@gmail.com; Thomas Andreas, blessedambrosian@msn.com
Meeting time: Sundays, 1:30-4:30pm, late August through May

Mentors: Anna Johnson, annajohnsonatgrace@gmail.com; Thomas Andreas, blessedambrosian@msn.com
Meeting time: Sundays, 5:30-8:30pm, late August through May

St. John’s, Boulder
Mentors: David Plume, David.plume@tetratech.com; Anne Skamarock, anne@skamarock.net
Meeting time: Tuesdays, 7:00-9pm, September through May

St. Matthew’s, Grand Junction
Contact: Rich Paul, richpaul84@gmail.com
Meeting time: to be determined, September through May

St. Paul’s, Lakewood
Mentors: Michelle Cole, michelle.a.cole@icloud.com; Melinda Wirsing, Melinda.wirsing@gmail.com
Meeting time: Wednesdays, 6:45-9:15pm, September through May

EfM Online
Mentor: Cheri Winter, cherikwinter@gmail.com
Meeting time: Wednesdays, time to be determined, January through November (includes a summer break)

Are you interested in EfM, but don’t see a group listed in your area? Contact Cheri Winter, EfM Diocesan Coordinator, for more information at EfM@EpiscopalColorado.org.

What EfM Isn’t and What It Is

If I am going to tell you about Education for Ministry (EfM), why would I start by describing what it is not? Because the words “for ministry” tend to send most of us everyday church folks running in the opposite direction out of fear that we are going to be dragged off to seminary and into ordained ministry. This isn’t that kind of program, nor are we talking about that type of ministry. In fact, this program was developed just for those of us who want to understand our Christian journey as it relates to our daily lives. The “ministry” that this program focuses on is the ministry of the baptized and helps participants grow more fully into their Baptismal Covenant (see pages 304-305 in The Book of Common Prayer).

EfM is a four-year program that participants commit to one year at a time and includes two years of journeying through the Bible, a year of exploring church history, and a year of growing one’s knowledge of theology, ethics, mission, and day-to-day ministry in the world.

While it is true that participants read through the entirety of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, EfM is NOT a Bible study. It is, however, an opportunity to see the Scriptures through the eyes of scholars with varying perspectives and engage in a dialogue that enriches and enhances the participant’s understanding of the way these ancient texts engage today’s world. This understanding is further expanded as Christianity is explored from just after the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the church of today. During the final two years, participants will see how the various ways we now express Christianity have been shaped by world exploration, science, industry, and more.

How does this all happen? During weekly gatherings of no more than 12 participants, trained mentors guide the process at the heart of the EfM program – Theological Reflection (TR). This process connects what participants are learning from their weekly readings to what is happening in the world around them, in their own lives, and their personal beliefs about the topic at hand. It is through TR that each person becomes increasingly aware of God’s continuous work, not only in the world around them, but within themselves, and allows them to see themselves as Christ’s hands and feet at work in every part of their lives.

If you are interested in learning more about the EfM program, contact Cheri Winter, EfM Diocesan Coordinator/Mentor, at EfM@EpiscopalColorado.org.