Every baptized person is called to ministry.
The Education for Ministry (EfM) program provides people with the education to carry out that ministry. During the Service of Confirmation we ask God to “Renew in these your servants the covenant you made with them at Baptism. Send them forth in the power of the Spirit to perform the service you set before them.” EfM offers an opportunity to discover how to respond to the call to Christian service.
What is EfM? (YouTube video)
The EfM program is preparation for the ministry to which we all are called. It is that vocation for which we pray at the end of the eucharist: “And now, Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.”
Begun in 1975 as “Theological Education by Extension,” the program was intended to offer a resource to laity in some of the 28 owning dioceses of the School of Theology at Sewanee (of which the Diocese of Fort Worth is one). EfM has since expanded across the Episcopal church and internationally, as described the Beecken Center’s History of EfM.
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 over the course of a nine-month academic year. These meetings are usually from two and a half to three hours in length.
Through study, prayer, and reflection, EfM groups move toward a new understanding of the fullness of God’s kingdom. Participants are given weekly assignments to study with the help of resource guides. Through discussion and guided reflection, the seminars furnish an opportunity to deepen understanding of the reading materials.
More important is the development of skills in theological reflection. The goal is to learn to think theologically. By examining their own beliefs and their relationship to our culture and the tradition of our Christian faith, participants can learn what it means to be effective ministers in the world. 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.
EfM in the Diocese of Fort Worth
Currently, the Diocese of Fort Worth has several active EfM groups, a couple of new ones forming, and numerous alumni.
Groups Currently Meeting:
- St. Christopher’s, Fort Worth – Mentor: Marti Fagley
- Trinity, Fort Worth – Co-Mentors: Karen Shepherd & Elinor Normand
- St. Luke’s, Stephenville – Co-Mentors – Cristy Campbell-Furtick & Lise Schwartzkopf
- Good Shepherd, Granbury – Mentor: Leslie Guinn
- All Saints’, Fort Worth – Co-mentors: Shawn Higgins and Dana Wilson
If you can’t make it to any of these, Sewanee also has online EfM groups.
Diocesan Coordinator – The Rev. Dana Wilson
Enrollment and Fees – EfM groups in the Diocese of Fort Worth are sponsored through the diocese, so students have a reduced fee. Some scholarship funding may also be available; check with the diocesan coordinator.