A second location option will soon be available for parishioners throughout the Diocese who are seeking a deeper understanding of Scripture, the Church, and how faith helps form one’s ministry.
The popular Education for Ministry (EfM) will be offered at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Mt. Lebanon starting in September. The South Hills course joins the two existing EfM seminars at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside.
Developed by faculty of the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, EfM offers four years of study covering the basic subjects of a theological education: Old Testament, New Testament, Church History, and Theological Choices, a look of 20th century theological trends and movements in the church.
“This is as close as you can get to seminary training without going to seminary,” says the Rev. Lou Hays of St. Paul’s, who points out that this is a program for lay men and women. He says the emphasis is learning how to “think theologically” about everyday life experiences.
In each weekly session, participants are assigned theological topics from resource materials, they discuss questions raised in the study materials and share insights and discoveries through guided reflection led by trained “mentors”. Participants say they have valued the examination of their own beliefs as they relate to our culture and the Christian tradition.
One graduate describes her experience:
"EfM has given me an experience of Christian community for the past four years. I have always been interested in Bible and spiritual study, and EfM is "Bible-Study Plus." The examination of biblical texts, church history and theology is an excellent way to build knowledge of this entity we call "the church" and to understand how it came to be where it is today. EfM also teaches theological reflection and other lessons that enhance our ability to process the world in a theological way. We learn to see our experiences, our world, and our place in it as gifts of God’s grace. This happens in an atmosphere of trust, respect and support. We truly build a Christian community in which we worship, learn, care and grow. EfM becomes a way of seeing and of living; I know it has become part of who I am and all that I do."
– Judi Eversman
Participants can sign up for the program one year at a time. Sessions are held throughout the school year. Preparation time averages three hour per week.
For more information about EfM and how to register for a seminar starting this fall, please contact Ruth Fowler at Calvary (724-325-3366) or Susan Steffen at St. Paul’s (724-941-8073).
Ruth Fowler and Susan Steffen contributed to this article.