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School for Ministry

Destination TBD!

"As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you."

John 20:21

Latest from NJ School for Ministry

Say Yes

All I really wanted was to go to church and to lead some sort of adult Bible study. Then my priest said, “Here’s a program just getting started. You might

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We are sent, yes!  All of us!  By virtue of our baptism!  But to whom?  In what capacity?  For what ministry?  And how should we prepare?  If you are asking these questions, you may want to explore the New Jersey School for Ministry.  It is open to all – especially those seeking to be formed for new or renewed lay leadership, and those discerning possible calls to either the diaconate or to priestly ministry.  

The School for Ministry is the door to a journey.  Those who pass through this door must understand that the destination is not predetermined.  Openness and possibility are the marks of this journey, for the journey belongs to God.  

Beginning...

If you sense God moving you in new directions, you should begin by taking the next Episcopal Servant Ministries seminar.  With a cohort of no more than 15 colleagues, you will consider “with new eyes” the mission of the church and how we work together as laity, deacons, priests, and bishops to transform our world by living and loving in the spirit and manner of Jesus.  You will come away with fresh appreciation for the power of lay ministry and the equality of the orders of ministry.  We hope you will also find greater clarity regarding your spiritual gifts and the needs of the Church.  At the close of this 3-session seminar, a small cohort of new friends should be ready to support the next steps of your journey.

At the present time, all seminar sessions meet online. Dates and registration information for upcoming seminar sessions can be found in the FAQs.

Choosing the best instrument for your formation

The Episcopal Servant Ministries seminar will invite you to examine how the ministry of the Church, the needs of God’s people, and your spiritual gifts intersect.  If you leave the seminar feeling called to new/renewed/or more empowered lay ministry, or to ordained ministry, you should discuss your awareness of call with your local clergy.  If your local congregation is without regular clergy support at that time, please speak with a member of the Commission on Ministry.

With the support of your local clergy, you may then apply to the School for Ministry.  Through academic courses and formative Gathering Weekends, the School can strengthen and refresh your engagement as an empowered lay leader.  It can also prepare you for new expressions or avenues of ministry.  

If you are drawn to diaconal ministry, the School will also provide avenues for parish internships in addition to academic and spiritually formative experiences. For those called to serve as bi-vocational priests (priests who continue to work in other professions), or as priests specifically called to minister to underserved communities in our diocese, those formative experiences will be further supplemented by clinical pastoral training.  If you are drawn to full-time ordained ministry as a priest, or if you anticipate you may relocate to serve a different diocese as a priest, you should enroll in an accredited seminary and work instead toward a Master of Divinity degree.  

Having examined all these pathways for formation, if you are determined to explore ordained ministry, your local clergy person can contact Pat Hawkins, our Diocesan Administrator, to request either a Discerner Application (for those drawn to ordained ministry either as a deacon, as a bi-vocational priest, or as a priest serving under-served communities), or an Application for Postulancy (for those intending to go to a 3-year seminary).  

Formation through the School for Ministry… what does it look like?

The School for Ministry is designed as a three-year program.  Four academic sessions are offered each year.  In each session, at least two courses are offered, each course meeting 8 times, in 2 ½ hour blocks.  Classes are lively, as students and instructors are engaged with each other in real-time.  We dig deeply into scripture.  We explore church history and the way our church has evolved for the benefit of God’s mission.  We study theology, ethics, and worship, and we examine the practice of ministry.  We discuss a wide breadth of topics, from the ministry in a post-Christendom/pandemic-traumatized world, to stewardship of God’s creation, to the journey the Church is walking with our non-Episcopal Christian neighbors and with our non-Christian neighbors.  

Beyond academics, students gather for 3 full weekends each year.  These Gathering Weekends are spiritually and communally formative.  We share our lives; we explore varied forms of prayer and spend several hours in guided personal prayer, and we tackle practical skills for ministry.   

The School for Ministry is designed as a three-year program.  Four academic sessions are offered each year.  In each session, at least two courses are offered, each course meeting 8 times, in 2 ½ hour blocks.  Classes are lively, as students and instructors are engaged with each other in real-time.  We dig deeply into scripture.  We explore church history and the way our church has evolved for the benefit of God’s mission.  We study theology, ethics, and worship, and we examine the practice of ministry.  We discuss a wide breadth of topics, from the ministry in a post-Christendom/pandemic-traumatized world, to stewardship of God’s creation, to the journey the Church is walking with our non-Episcopal Christian neighbors and with our non-Christian neighbors.  

Beyond academics, students gather for 3 full weekends each year.  These Gathering Weekends are spiritually and communally formative.  We share our lives; we explore varied forms of prayer and spend several hours in guided personal prayer, and we tackle practical skills for ministry.   
 
For more information on either the School for Ministry or the Episcopal Servant Ministries Seminars, please email njschoolforministry@gmail.com.