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Education for Ministry
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All members of the Christian faith are called to serve as ministers in the world. Education for Ministry (EfM) is a tool that educates laity, teaching them to think theologically about their own lives and gifts and the world around them. 

EfM is a distance-learning program from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., which is usually held within congregations. It is a four-year course consisting of weekly seminars. Participants register one year at a time, and some take a break after a year or  two, or choose not to complete all 4 years.  The seminars meet nine months of the year. Each seminar group is made up of 6 to 12 people and a trained group mentor who facilitates and participates fully in all discussions.

The four years of study include the Old Testament, New Testament, History of Christianity, and Modern Theology. Students are given study materials and resource guides that allow them to continue their education outside of class. They are also asked to commit to a form of regular prayer or reflection.

The main focus of the group is on theological reflection, which is a specific process that teaches students to think theologically about all of God’s creation and apply that thinking to daily life.

After completion of the four-year program, students are given a Certificate of Completion; for every year of class students receive 18 Continuing Education credits.

To join an EfM group or become a mentor in the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, contact EfM Coordinator, the Rev. Brad Purdom. For more information on the program, click here.


EfM Mentor Training

Foundations of Seminar Life: The purpose of mentor training is for participants to discern whether they have the desire and skills to be a mentor for the Education for Ministry program, and to provide ongoing training and support for experienced mentors with an EfM group. The event provides an opportunity for an EfM trainer to evaluate the skills of each trainee and to accredit those who qualify. Mentor training involves six to eight participants and one trainer.

Foundations of Seminar Life will be posted in 2021

Mentor Formation Training:  A Formation Training is an event for more seasoned mentors. It is an opportunity to go deeper into their skills and to explore a topic relevant to mentoring an EfM group. They may expect to build community among more experienced mentors for mutual support, and to gain confidence in their leadership. The event fosters new learning and spiritual growth while still including elements foundational to EfM: worship, group life development, and theological reflection.


To be eligible to attend a formation training, one must have attended two training events and been accredited by the trainer at the second training as ready for formation training. Formation trainees must be active mentors who have led groups within the last 12-18 months. People whose last three trainings were non-Foundations of Seminar Life (formation or alternate training) trainings must do Mentor Training/Foundations of Seminar Life (Basic) as their fourth reaccreditation training.


EfM Groups in the Diocese of Ohio – 2019-20
Contact Antoinette Taylor for more information.
Bay Village, St. Barnabas Church (6246)

  • Meets on Thursdays evenings from 6:30-9:00 pm.
  • Mentors: Sue Mueller and Rich Oldrieve
Cleveland, OH, Trinity Cathedral (5525)
  • Meets Thursday evenings beginning January 2021 at 6:30 pm.
  • Mentors: Antoinette Maria Ponzo (Toni) and Jeff Spiess
Cleveland, OH Trinity Cathedral (7004) 
            Meets Thursdays mornings from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm
            Mentor: Allison Hauserman
Cleveland Heights, OH, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (5645)
  • Will resume in 2021- 022
  • Mentors: Christina Sibilla 
Cleveland Heights, OH, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (1150)
  • Meets Tuesday evenings 6:30-9:30 pm (dinner together first half hour) mid-September through late-May. 
  • Mentors: Lindsey Jeavons and Liz Richmond
Hudson, Christ Church (6179)
  • Meets Monday evenings 7:00 - 9:30 pm
  • Mentors: Gloria Gagich and Janet Daniels
Lakewood, Church of the Ascension (6380)
  • Meets Monday evenings from 6:00-9:00 pm.
  • Mentors: Diane Hexter and John Mohlar
Painesville, St. James Episcopal Church (5864)
  • Will resume in 2021-2022.
  • Mentor: Libby Hill 
Sandusky, OH, Grace Episcopal Church (6751)
  • Meets Tuesdays at 5:30 pm.
  • Mentor: The Rev. Jan Smith Wood
Youngstown, St. John’s Church(6430)
  • Contact the parish for more information.
  • Mentor: Gayle L. Catinella