Contributed by Jenny Landis-Steward
The Diocese of Oregon held it’s first EfM (Education for Ministry) Mentor Training program of 2011 at St. Paul’s, Oregon City March 3 – 5. The Rev. Palmer Pardington III provided the training and members of St. Paul’s provided meals.
Mentors from Seattle and Pendleton joined four Diocese of Oregon trainees. The group engaged in six theological reflections during the two-day session, including one triggered by a film about the conflicts between Tolstoy’s philosophy and his actual life created challenges within his circle of relationships. EfM challenges its participants to move through theological reflection steps (from a variety of sources: personal experience, scripture, culture) until they are able to identify where their faith may be calling them to act or change the way the interact with the world.
EfM recently began working with Kaleidoscope Institute. Kaleidoscope’s mission is to develop competent leaders in a diverse, changing world. The mentor training introduced “Respectful communication” and “Iceberg analogy of culture” from that collaboration.
On behalf of the Diocese, Jenny Landis-Steward attended Education for Ministry Coordinators’ Training Conference held March 15-17 at St. Mary’s Sewanee. Juanita Caldwell from the Diocese of Alabama and Jean Avery Johnson from the Diocese of West Tennessee led the training, held for seven EfM coordinators. . Meeting during the academic year in weekly seminar groups, EfM provides laity with the tools to dig more deeply into the Christian faith, to study the Bible, Church history and theological ideas and to reflect on connecting faith with life experiences. (EfM Online provides, for people who cannot attend a weekly face-to-face group, an opportunity to participate in this course of study.)
EfM coordinators provide the point of contact between the EfM Program in Sewanee and the local institution, diocese, or organization. They organize training events, provide information about the program to people in their areas, and maintain the linkage between their organizations and the program. Training topics included recruitment, recognition, and retention; program budgeting and administration; and conflict resolution. Guests who spoke at mealtimes included program director Karen Meridith; program coordinator and coordinator of online groups Cynthia Hargis; and The Very Rev. William S. Stafford, Ph.D., D.D., Dean of The School of Theology at Sewanee.
Said trainer Jean Avery, “It was wonderful getting to know [the new coordinators] last week on the beautiful mountain at St. Mary’s Conference Center. The weather was lovely, the meals were delicious, and our group was the best ever.”
Education for Ministry is a program of adult Christian formation. As an Episcopalian, you may sometimes feel intimidated when talking about the Bible with fellow Christians, but after the first two years of EfM, people you gain a sense of knowledge of scripture that allows you to hold your own confidently. More importantly, the Education for Ministry program provides you with the education to carry out your 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 gives you tools to help you continually discern how to respond to the many calls to Christian service. For more information about EfM or scheduling an introduction to EfM for your congregation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This group of coordinators recently attended coordinator training March 17- 20, 2011 at St. Mary’s Conference Center in Sewanee, Tennessee. They are, from left: EfM trainer, coordinator, and training staff member Jeannie Johnson (Diocese of West Tennessee); Barbara Rasero (Diocese of Chicago); David Fletcher (Canada); EfM Program and Online Coordinator Cindy Hargis; EfM coordinator and training staff member Nita Caldwell (Alabama); Jo Ann Barker (Delaware); Marguerite Casparian (Long Island); and Jenny Landis-Steward (Oregon). Fond du Lac coordinator Mary Trainor kneels in front. Also present, but not pictured was Susan Hinton (Diocese of Central Pennsylvania).