Last year, although working two interesting jobs (for Huawei and TechWomen), I also started a four year course of Bible study and theological reflection. Despite its name, Education for Ministry or EfM, is a program for regular folks (laity), not priests or clergy. The EfM program provides baptized people with the education to understand and carry out their personal ministry. The first EfM year studies and discusses the Old Testament, followed by a year on the New Testament, then Church History, and finally Theology. The Old Testament year is hardest: the EfM saying is that when you have finished Year 1, you are half done. EfM is a program of the University of the South (Sewanee, Tennessee).
EfM is one of the most profound classes I have ever taken. It is helping me to ask better questions.
The Education for Ministry program began with a vision of enrolling a few hundred students. Within a few years it developed into a program reaching several thousand students with groups around the globe.
In addition to EfM groups throughout the USA, EfM can be found in Germany, Great Britian, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Bahamas, Hong Kong, Italy, and Switzerland. Over 70,000 persons have participated in the program, and in the United States more than 22,000 have completed the full four years. The 2006 USA enrollment reached more than 8,000. More than eighty dioceses of the Episcopal Church as well as other denominations have contractual arrangements with EfM.
At the end of classes last Spring, our long-time EfM Mentor at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (Saratoga, California) retired and I felt called to take the Mentor training to keep the class going. Last weekend, I completed my 18-hour training in Berkeley (on the campus of the School for Deacons and Church Divinity School of the Pacific) and our weekly class started to meet.
An EfM Mentor is not a teacher or a leader but rather a convener and group facilitator. Having designed and managed several mentoring programs where coaching and teaching were primary activities (including SEED Engineering mentoring, TechWomen, and MAGIC for Girls), it is interesting to be part of a different kind of mentoring as well as a Year 2 student.
Images Copyright 2011 by Katy Dickinson