We are now half-way through year two of studies in the School of Ministry using the Iona Curriculum from the Seminary of the Southwest as our guide.
The main focus of year two has been on Church History. We have had many instructors who have given of their time and expertise and who will do so in the future: the Rev. Walter Kindergan, the Rev. Christine Hord, the Rev. Thack Dyson, and the Rev. Dr. Joy Blaylock. The other corollary subjects that have been taught this year include: Liturgical History (the Rev. Albert Pruitt), Pastoral Care (the Rev. Thomas Nixon and the Rev. Dr. Joy Blaylock), Homiletics (the Rev. Dr. Cindy Howard and the Rt. Rev. J. Russell Kendrick), Leadership/Systems Theory (the Rev. Dr. Margaret Shepard), and New Testament (Mr. LaBron Chance).
The students also added a carefully designed CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) unit to their practical studies this year. With the help of selected CPE mentors in designated parishes, the students have worked with the Rev. Deacon Clelia Garrity as their main supervisor in going out on visitations and interviews in both parish and institutional settings. They have produced verbatims for review in monthly group work along with individual direction and designated didactic instruction and readings.
The students have kept up with a very rigorous schedule this year with the addition of the CPE unit extending the School weekend until late Sunday afternoons. However, this practical piece continues to give the students essential training and discernment/reflection of their ministerial identities. We remain grateful for the worshiping communities and persons who have welcomed their ministry.
Under the direction of Bishop Kendrick, we are forming the year three curriculum which will have a main focus on Systematic Theology and Ethics. We are also designing a field education experience that will hopefully further expose the students to the essential elements and experiences of parish ministry.
I remain grateful for the students, for the bond of community they share, and for the many good people of this diocese who have supported their journey in faith and learning. I am also grateful to St. Agatha’s Church in DeFuniak Springs, FL, for their hospitality and ongoing assistance with the School.
I look forward to year three, learning with and from our students, as they encourage us to push into ever deeper waters in ministry and mission.
Shalom, The Rev. Joy Harrell Blaylock, Ph.D. Dean, The Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast School for Ministry