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The School for Ministry, Year One in Review

The School for Ministry postulants - Row 1: Rachel Iversen, Lydia Johnson, David Chatel; Row 2: John Talbert, Mike Ballard; Row 3: Bob Donnell, David Clothier, John Kendall.

I am happy to report that year one in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast’s School for Ministry has been successfully completed. I would like to share with you an overview of what the students did this year in terms of their studies and community formation.

The students began the year studying spirituality, Hebrew Bible, the Book of Common Prayer and engaging in liturgical practicum at St. Agatha’s Episcopal Church. The students benefited from learning from a variety of persons in our diocese and cultivating relationships with those serving as instructors. They also learned the discipline of producing papers of academic integrity and presenting those papers to their peers and instructors for review and critique.

Our instructors invested a great deal of time and personal planning for each session and set a new standard for well-developed class instruction and writing assignments. Using the Iona Curriculum as a foundation, each instructor brought his/her wisdom and experience to bear on the classroom experience. I am grateful for those who have dedicated their time and talent in this endeavor.

The first year presented the students with extensive challenges in reading and research. Each student worked on employing effective time management strategies in balancing this work with their jobs, families and extracurricular commitments. I am grateful to the church communities who have encouraged them and fostered their growth and formation during the first year. It is my hope this support will grow and continue.

The students formed a very strong sense of community and support for one another. It is this bond that sustained them in their respective ongoing discernment and study. As we move into year two, I look forward to observing how this bond will catapult them into further growth and self-awareness in their interactions and work in church history, homiletics, NT exegesis, Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and advanced pastoral care work.

I am very proud of our students and remain grateful to work with them and learn with them. As the church at large grapples with alternative ways to meet diverse ministerial education needs, I firmly believe this endeavor is faithful to the horizon we face. The fruits of this labor will be found in the creative, passionate and devoted persons emerging from this three-year time of formation and study, persons who will be emboldened with dynamic leadership zeal and wholesome challenges and insights for all of us.

Respectfully, Joy Blaylock Dean


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