Education for Ministry

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About EfM

EfM is a comprehensive four-year program, to which a participant commits one year at a time; designed for individuals seeking theological education. It is an extension course administered by the School of Theology of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. The program helps participants to gain an understanding of the Christian tradition, to learn to find God’s presence in everyday life, and to decide how to live in response to that presence.

The EfM Program 

Every baptized person is called to ministry. The Education for Ministry (EfM) program provides people with the education to carry out that ministry. During 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.

In 2013 the Diocese has 15 seminar groups supported by 22 active Mentors. Without the commitment of the participants and faithful service of these mentors, this education program would not be possible.

The first EfM seminar group in the diocese was at Church of the Savior, now the Philadelphia Cathedral, mentored by The Rev. Jack Hardwick in 1976.

Through studyprayer, and reflection, EfM groups move toward a new understanding of the fullness of God’s kingdom. This process can be illustrated by a two-rail fence. One rail is the Christian tradition. The other is the collective experience of the group’s members. The rails and are linked by fence posts which represent the seminar sessions where life and study meet.

The fence is grounded in the soil of regular worship which is vital to the life of the group. Participants are given weekly assignments to study with the help of resource guides. Students are responsible for setting their own learning goals. They spend between two and four hours in study and preparation each week. In the seminars, members have an opportunity to share their insights and discoveries as well as to discuss questions which the study materials raise for them. Through discussion and guided reflection, the seminars furnish an opportunity to deepen understanding of the reading materials.

Most 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. In coming to terms with the notion that everything we do has potential for manifesting the love of Christ, we discover that our ministry is at hand wherever we turn.

EfM Mentor Training



The Seminar Group

The Seminar group is the heart of the EfM Program.  It consists of from 6 to 12 individuals and a trained mentor or two co-mentors.  The Groups generally meet for 2.5 to 3.0 hours weekly for 36 weeks.  Sessions include discussion of the textual material, theological reflection, worship and fellowship.


EfM Statistics in the Diocese of Pennsylvania

Seminar Groups – 17
Participants enrolled – 136
All time graduates – 542

For More information about how to start a Seminar group, join a seminar group or become an EfM Mentor contact:

  • Alan Lindsay, EfM Coordinator for the Diocese of Pennsylvania
    Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania
    3717 Chestnut Street, Suite 300
    Philadelphia, PA 19104
    215-627-6434 x127 or
  • School of Theology Program Center, Sewanee, TN 800-722-1974 or