Episcopal School for Ministry's 2017 annual report
The field of theological education continues to undergo dramatic shifts. This past year saw the closure of several flagship seminaries (Andover Newton being one of them), and the merger of others (Episcopal Divinity School has affiliated with Union Theological Seminary in New York City). More and more dioceses are either training persons for ordained ministry in their local contexts, or using distance options at traditional seminaries.
This past June, the Diocese of Minnesota convened a conference of deans and directors of local formation options. Called “Uncharted Waters,” the conference brought together about 25 deans, directors, formation directors, Commission on Ministry chairs, all involved in local formation. Our dean, Dan Handschy, attended the conference. Also present were several members of a local formation task force put together by the last General Convention to assess what is happening in the denomination as a whole. All in attendance hoped this would not be the last such conference, as we have much to learn from one another.
This year saw the launch of a new program in collaboration with the Diocesan Board of Examining Chaplains and Care and Counseling. Clinical Preparation for Ministry (CPM) is designed to meet the need of those persons in the process toward priesthood who cannot register for a tradition unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). The first run of CPM had six students (eight would be ideal). CPM is run under the auspices of Care and Counseling, and allows students to have their “clinical contacts” in other settings than the tradition hospital setting. They may make those contacts in a congregational setting, or in other settings, and then gather one weekend a month for didactic and reflection sessions under the guidance of a supervisor. This facilitates meeting the need for this kind of education for those persons in non-traditional courses of study.
During the spring term of 2017, ESM ran a course on Congregational Discernment: Discerning our Future. Marshall Crossnoe and Canon Joe Chambers met with representatives of several congregations involved in one kind of transition or another (interim, new clergy, changing demographics, etc.) and looked at various tools and processes for discerning a congregation’s core values and opportunities for new ministries.
There have been several changes in the faculty at ESM. The Rev. Peter Van Horne has moved to Delaware, and therefore had to resign his position on the faculty. The Rev. Marshall Crossnoe, PHD, and Donna Hawk-Reinhard, DSc, PhD, will take over his responsibilities for teaching Church History I and II. Marshall will also teach the Sacramental Theology course, previously taught by the dean. The Rev. Deb Goldfeder, DMin, has taken over responsibilities for the Liturgics course. This coming term, the dean will offer a continuing education course for clergy on a sacrificial understanding of the eucharist as found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and the practical and pastoral effects of the ecclesiology imagined in that book.
The Rev. Dan Handschy, PhD, Dean
Episcopal School for Ministry