Back when I was in high school, I began to suspect there was more to the Sunday sermons than what the preachers were giving out. My thinking went something like “those guys learned a lot in seminary and there’s a bunch of stuff they aren’t telling the rest of us.” I was hungry for more but didn’t have the means to go further. Years later, but before being ordained a deacon, I learned about EFM – Education For Ministry – developed by Sewanee Seminary and designed specifically for lay persons. I signed up in a hurry.
The first year we dug into the Old Testament and it was like finding gold. There was so much more to know than ever appeared in my bible’s footnotes! Then I needed to step back from EFM and concentrate on the ordination process. But I missed our EFM discussions.
Six years post-ordination I found another EFM group and felt I needed to finish what I started. So I joined the group meeting at St John’s Episcopal Church. EFM is not about having “right answers” or even being a church-goer. It didn’t matter that I was a deacon. The heart of EFM is Theological Reflection: a multi-dimensional “thinking out loud” process where we can explore what we’ve learned in light of our beliefs and experiences. Our mentors, Usrah and John, are excellent facilitators. Our group discussions have been true and rich.
I’m a little sad now that I’ve finished the four-year course and must leave. I will miss our time together. The group at St John’s will continue to meet, and I absolutely encourage anyone interested in more deeply exploring our faith tradition to consider taking EFM.