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Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia
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Newport News, VA 23606-4231
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Education for Ministry is a course for lay persons - a source of education, theology, and individual development.



Education for Ministry (EfM) is a college level course for lay persons. There are no tests, but there is reading, homework and once-a-week seminar group participation. Education for Ministry continues to be a source of education, theology, and individual development for numerous persons in the diocese. Some graduates have continued into ordination paths, but many more find their ministry developed for service within their churches and communities.

It has been described by some as ‘just another Bible study,’ but those who take part in the four-year study – one year at a time – know EfM to be much more than that. There is Bible study, indeed. The first two years consist of study of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Then in Years 3 and 4 ‘Church History’ and ‘Theological Choices’ are covered. Along with the reading and discussion, theological reflection takes place, and for most, this becomes the most important part of the session each week.

Cindy Jordan
Education for Ministry Diocesan Coordinator

Click here for an EfM flyer which can be shared electronically and posted on your church's website and social media pages.

Click here for more information about EfM.

Contact Cindy Jordan to find a group in your area.

Learn more about EfM & Diocesan Coordinator Cindy Jordan

Cindy Jordan EfM CoordinatorHello there!  Let me introduce myself.  My name is Cindy Jordan and I will be the Diocesan Coordinator for EfM.  I am filling some formidable shoes of past EfM coordinators, so please be patient as I learn the ropes.

A little bit about me—I am a member of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Williamsburg, where my family and I have worshipped for 28 years.  I have one adult son and a new grandson, who both fill my heart.  I grew up in New England, but came to Virginia when my husband of 36 years was stationed at Yorktown with the Coast Guard. I have two brothers, who both have moved to Virginia and made their homes here, one of whom is a member of Old Donation with his famly.  My spiritual journey has been influenced by so many wonderful people throughout the years, many of whom are in this Diocese, ordained and non-ordained.  I am a high school teacher by vocation, but learned through EfM that my vocation can also be a ministry.  I hope to provide that experience for many of you.

What is EfM?  For those of you who might be new to the Church, EfM is a program of study, prayer and theological reflection that was developed by, and is administered through, Sewanee: University of the South.  Sewanee is a private Episcopal liberal arts college in Sewanee, Tennessee. It is owned by 28 southern dioceses of the Episcopal Church.  Its School of Theology is an official seminary of the church.

The course for EfM is a journey through the Old Testament, the New Testament, Christian/ Church History and Theology over a four-year period.  EfM allows participants an opportunity to explore God’s call to them, while giving them more information and opportunities for reflection to discern that call.   This is done through weekly small-group gatherings (currently virtually) lead by trained mentors.  The course operates much like a college course, however, there is no grading and no research papers to write! You can take breaks in the course should you need—take a year off if needed.  Throughout the course, participants are asked to reflect on their spiritual journey past, present and future. EfM is living theology.  Participants learn to live into their own theological beliefs and be an example of the heart and hands of Christ in their circles—family, friends, church, co-workers, and community.

Let me define “ministry” here.  We are not talking about “holy orders” and ordination!  Ministry is about giving of ourselves, and of our time, talents, and resources to bless and help others.  We are ALL ministers in this world.  God has often used unsuspecting, but good people to serve and minister to His people.  Think of Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Miriam, Deborah, Mary and the disciples called by Christ.  In Isaiah we read, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”   EfM prepares participants to say “Here I am!”

This is the only program I know of that gives the non-ordained, the non-clerical, the kind of knowledge and tools they need to be active in the life of the Church and church community.  Everyone is called to ministry but finding that ministry with all the “noise” around us can be difficult.  Many EfM graduates have gone on to begin new ministries in their parishes, serve on their vestry, become formation leaders in their church and even, through discernment, deacons. The benefit to our parishes and diocese is immeasurable as participants and graduates begin their journeys.  The benefit to the participant is a deeper knowledge of how the Church came to be and a much richer view of their place in it and in today’s world.

My goals for EfM in the Diocese are three-fold:

  • To be sure every parishioner in DiSoVa is aware of the opportunity to become an EfM participant and explore their call to ministry in the church. 
  • To “train up” several current EfM graduates to become mentors for new groups
  • To grow our network of groups by at least 20% this coming year

Right now, new groups are forming and “old” groups are gearing up to resume in the fall!  All groups will begin online due to the current public health issues.  This is a great time for some our smaller parishes to offer EfM to their parishioners as we can combine folks in the on-line format.   No prior study or knowledge of scripture or theology is required.

I am very much looking forward to walking this journey with you.  Join me and here your call!

Want more information?  Contact your rector, your Christian Formation Director, or Cindy Jordan at cwjordan.efm@gmail.com.


Last Published: July 1, 2021 1:43 PM