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FAQ for the School for Ministry Lay Programs

When did you start offering courses to lay students?

Fall 2020

Why do you refer to this as a licensed ministry or licensed ministers? These are ministries recognized by the Episcopal Church as viable and vital and available to the laity. As such they are assigned licensure by the canons of The Episcopal Church--Title III, Canon 4 (Of Licensed Ministries) They are: • Pastoral Leader • Worship Leader • Preacher • Eucharistic Minister • Eucharistic Visitor • Evangelist • and Catechist.

How long is the lay certification education portion?

10 months.

Are you offering courses again in the fall of 2021?


What types of formation are offered at the local school?

We have two distinct offerings:

- Ordained ministry as priest or deacon. This is a three year program with master’s level theological study and specialized spiritual formation opportunities.

- Lay ministry: this year we began offering certification as Worship Leader, Pastoral Leader, and Preacher. Next year we will add Lay Evangelist to our offerings.

If I am interested in the lay school what should I do?

Talk to your rector or priest in charge. If there is mutual affirmation of your call, see the discernment and application paperwork here:

If I don’t have a rector and feel called to discernment what should I do?

Application to the school must come with affirmation by congregational leadership. Consequently, if there is no clergy, talk with your senior warden and alert him/her to your want to discern a call. For more information contact the Bishop’s office.

What if I become certified in lay ministry and then feel called to the diaconate or priesthood?

Consult with your rector or priest in charge. If there is not one, then contact the Bishop. Together with your rector or priest-in-charge you will follow the general outline here:

Am I limited to one area of lay certification or can I pursue other areas as well?

This year we offered a dual track option for those wanting to combine worship leader and preacher. Similar combinations may be possible depending on the Bishop’s approval and the timing of the courses as offered.

Once certified, will I be required to continue studies of any kind?

The certification is for a period of three years. Students are required to complete Racial Reconciliation Training as well as the SafeGuarding courses required of church leaders. Beyond this, it is our hope to offer cohorts of specialized topics that will help to keep leaders equipped and encouraged.

If I am certified as a lay preacher, does that mean I can preach anywhere in the Diocese?

That would be a determination made by the Bishop based on contextual needs and the given particular circumstance.

What is the cost to attend the lay certification program?

$300 per track for the ten month course of study.


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