The School for Ministry curriculum functions on a two-year cycle with each course taught once every other year. Which courses taken depends on the year in which the student begins study. We are currently enrolling for the summer and fall of year one (August 2021). The full two-year course-load is intended to prepare students for diaconal ministry.
*Please note that we are in the midst of curriculum revision and will publish modifications in late August 2021.
Hebrew Bible I
New Testament I
Hebrew Scriptures II
New Testament II
Summer and Fall 2021
Introduction to Hermeneutics
These two 3-hour classes are a short prerequisite to the four semester-length Biblical Studies classes (Hebrew Bible 1 & 2, and New Testament 1 & 2) that are part of the core of the School for Ministry (SFM) curriculum. During these sessions on Hermeneutics (the Science of Interpretation), we will be exploring together the basic principles used by scholars to read and interpret the Scriptures. Texts are never self-explanatory, as we shall discover; and reading Biblical texts, in particular, is an exercise that is fraught with potential pitfalls that requires patience and nuance on the part of the student who seeks to hear the “Word” of God in the words of these ancient manuscripts. Through a series of multimedia exercises that are intended to be provocative and engaging, we will be exposed to many of our explicit and implicit preferences and prejudices that impact and shape acts of interpretation, and the instability and fluidity of the idea of an objective “meaning” of a text. Having familiarized ourselves with the basic principles of “Hermeneutics” – Genre (what sort of text is this?), Isegesis (what do we bring to the text?) and Exegesis (what do we take out of the text?) – we will be ready to move on to the substantial work of exploring and interpreting the Biblical texts for ourselves.
Hebrew Bible 1
This class is the first of four semester-length Biblical Studies classes (along with Hebrew Bible 2 and New Testament 1 & 2) that are part of the core of the School for Ministry (SFM) curriculum. The Mission of the Class is to Nurture Students towards a Nuanced, Critical Interpretation and Understanding of the Texts of the Hebrew Bible. Hebrew Bible 1 will introduce students to the discipline of academic Biblical Studies and will specifically focus on the literature of the Torah and the Historical Writings in the Jewish Scriptures. These texts were composed and edited over the course of more than a millennium. Students will be exposed to the literary genres, forms and motifs that comprise these writings. The texts will be placed in the historical, cultural, sociological, and religious milieu of their original audience. Students will learn a variety of techniques which are helpful in the analysis of Biblical texts: these include analysis of form and structure, as well as genre, historical and redaction criticism. Students will be encouraged to put acquired knowledge to use as they apply Biblical interpretation to theological construction and pastoral practice.
It is often said that Episcopalians pray their theology. This course gives the foundations needed to craft and lead holy liturgies that glorify God and feed the people of God. Since the Book of Common Prayer is central to the study of liturgy and liturgical theology, students will ground their liturgical studies in an historical understanding of the Book of Common Prayer’s development from the 16th century to today. Important emphasis will be given to the sacramental theology of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, particularly relating to Baptism and Eucharist.
In our Baptismal Covenant, we are asked, “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons,, loving your neighbor as yourself?” Our aspirational reply is, “I will with God’s help. Pastoral Care is about the practices of loving neighbor as Christian minister, whether lay or ordained. This course will explore the roots of Christian pastoral care and its mission and goals, essential skills and its application to a variety of care receivers both within and beyond traditional church settings.
It is open to those who are in the ordination process and those who are not, but wish to to strengthen their personal identity as Christian spiritual caregivers to people experiencing brokenness due to crises from loss and grief, in couples
and families and with inter-culturally diverse persons.
Discipleship for the 21st Century
In his 2015 publication, Reimagining Faith Formation for the 21st Century, John C. Roberto highlights the shifting landscape of belief and belonging in the US over the last 50 years and casts a vision for the ways our formation offerings need to shift accordingly. To go one step further, though, it is not just our offerings that need to be examined, but our theology of discipleship. In “Discipleship for the 21st Century: Reimagining and Transforming our Theology of Formation,” we will engage in critical reflection on our current practices and theologies of discipleship, and how we are called to transform these practices and theologies in the context of the 21st Century. Through engagement with scripture, historical models of formation, and emerging theologies of discipleship, we will explore the ways we are called to form disciples in our current contexts and develop the practical and theological capacities to respond to the formation needs of our communities.
Ecumenism and Interfaith Ministry: Ministry in a Post-Christendom World
We no longer live in a world where Christianity is the norm. How do we pursue our vocations in a region containing many expressions of our own and dozens of other faiths? This six week course will provide an introduction to ecumenical and interfaith aspects of ministry, with a historical overview and a review of the multicultural landscape. We will explore the commonalities and differences between the Episcopal Church and our ecumenical and interfaith neighbors, gaining a better understanding of how the unique charisms of the Episcopal tradition can contribute to the wellbeing of the wider community. The course’s final project will be based on a field experience.