Front Row: Ann Post, Co-Mentor Deacon Paulette Remppel, Co-Mentor Chisara Alimole, Adeline Smith and Shiane Lee
Back Row: Jean Marie Angelo, Arlene Roberts Grant, Wilson Estil, Kaye Williams-William and Lorna Lewis
Six of our students - Ann, Jean Marie, Lorna, Wilson, Arlene and Adeline - will be graduating at St. Simon's 10:30 am service on June 22, 2014. The EfM Coordinator for the Diocese of New York, Deacon Teri Jones, has been invited to attend.
Photo courtesy of Deacon Paulette Remppel
By Jean Marie Angelo, EfM Alumna
Several years ago I found myself being called to deepen my understanding of scripture and worship. I was hungry for studies that would challenge me, but that would fit into my every-day life.
Like many working adults, I knew I couldn’t enroll full time in a seminary program and leave work and family responsibilities. It was then I learned about Education for Ministry, EFM.
There is a saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” This was true for me.
The interim priest at Saint Simon's at that time, Fr. Titus Presler, began to spread the word at various Episcopal churches in Westchester that the deacon at St. Simon the Cyrenian, was mentoring a group of parishioners in a course of study called Education for Ministry.
EfM, as I learned, is a four-year distance learning certificate program offered through Sewanee, the University of South (www.sewanee.edu/EFM/). A number of us began studying together in 2010.
After attending the initial EfM orientation, I knew this was exactly what I was looking for.
Six of us are now ready to graduate the EfM program. We all agree that this has been a wonderful experience to deepen our understanding and enrich our ministries. Several of us are already in the process of applying for the Diaconal program in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. There are continuing education credits available for EfM.
The local area EfM group is hosted by and meets weekly at St. Simon’s during the school year, and is attended by eight of us who attend various Episcopal churches in the tri-state area.
Some attendees are lay leaders who want to further their commitment to their faith, others of us aspire to become ordained deacons in the Episcopal Church.
EfM was stated in 1975 and has grown in participation. The first year focuses on the Old Testament; the second year, the New Testament. Year three covers church history, and the fourth year reviews theology.
Weekly assignments encompass scripture, interpretation, and even historical and archeological observations. Some ambitious classmates bring other research materials and Biblical maps to help with our understanding.
Am EfM workbook gives a summary of each lesson and prepares us for weekly discussions and theological reflection. Some lessons involve the writing of our “spiritual biographies,” and telling personal stories that help us reflect on the spiritual lessons of our lives and of scripture.
Group members take turns leading the group in an opening and closing prayers each week. Personally, I love this part the most. Praying together, while often tying in the scripture we have studied, has served to deepen my bond of friendship with my classmates. We are all supporting each other down an important and sacred path.
Does it sound as if EfM might be right for you? Please contact Deacon Paulette Remppel and join us in Christ.
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