Education for Ministry


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

Lay persons face the difficult and often subtle task of interpreting the richness of the church’s faith in a complex and confusing world. They need a theological education which supports their faith and also teaches them to express that faith in day-to-day events. As the emphasis on lay ministry has grown, EfM has come to play an important role by providing a program that develops an informed and knowledgeable laity

EFM is a program of theological education at a distance, offered by Sewanee School of Theology. The Diocese of RI is a sponsoring Diocese, and students of EFM sign up one year at a time for this four-year program. 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. A variety of resources enable participants to gain in-depth knowledge about:

  • Year One: The Hebrew Bible
  • Year Two: The New Testament
  • Year Three: Church History
  • Year Four: Theology, Ethics, and Interfaith Encounter

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

The program grants a certificate of completion of the four years and 18 Continuing Education Units for each year’s work.

Learn more about  Education for Ministry HERE.

To find an EFM course near you or to start an EFM group in your church, contact the Rhode Island EFM Coordinator, Rev. Susan Wrathall.