On the weekend of September 8-10 (with a watchful eye on Hurricane Irma and many prayers for all those affected), The Diocesan School for Ministry held its first session at the newly renovated Murray House on the beautiful campus of St. Agatha’s Church in DeFuniak Springs, FL.
Eight new postulants gathered with Bishop Russell Kendrick, leaders of the St. Agatha’s community and school instructors to begin the weekend with worship and Holy Eucharist.
As we gathered, several goals were set and will remain key for our journey: the appreciation and fostering of communal bonds; devoted and challenging spiritual formation; rigorous and wholesome academic study.
Using the curriculum from the Iona Collaborative and making use of the rich, creative and generous resources in our diocese, the postulants are undertaking several formative pieces this first semester and their school schedule is as follows:
Spiritual Formation with the Rev. Marshall Craver (Friday night);
Hebrew Scriptures and Ancient Texts with Mr. LaBron Chance (Saturday AM and PM);
Introduction and engagement with the Book of Common Prayer with the Rev. Richard Schmidt (Saturday afternoon);
Liturgical Practicum and worship at St. Agatha’s with the Rev. James Popham (Sunday mornings).
While this is a new venture for our diocese, much thought and consultation has gone into the process of discernment and formation for the postulants. The pace and expectation of academic rigor and personal formation corresponds to that which is expected of seminary students in general.
Given these expectations, each month the students come together for an intense weekend that includes worship, community meals, communal lodging, extended periods of instruction, and challenging spiritual and liturgical exercises/practice. The students then go home and back to their communities with intensive reading and writing assignments that have to be balanced within the framework of their personal and professional lives.
Given that, we ask for your prayers and support in this new venture. I am grateful to work with such a fine group of people and to learn with and from the bishop, instructors, and students on this collaborative journey.
We give special thanks for all those who have donated time and resources to The School. A very special thanks goes to Dwight Babcock and the diocesan staff who made this dream become a reality with many hours, days, months of planning and hard work.
We hope to update you periodically so that you have a first-hand glimpse into what we are doing.
The Rev. Joy Blaylock