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August 12, 2018: Reflections of an EfM Graduate

by Anne Whitman

I come to you today to share good news—as we read in Psalm 68, “let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God, let them also be merry and joyful.”  I am glad and joyful because I have learned about my spiritual journey, my God Journey—through the Education for Ministry (EfM) program. 

Although I have no aspirations for the priesthood or diaconate, I do have a driving desire to learn more about my own spirituality and my relationship with God.  EfM, offered through the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, is a study and group reflection program to support the development of knowledge, attitude, skill, and identity as Christians. My own EfM experience began a decade ago at my then-church in Frederick, Maryland, where I completed three years of the entire four-year EfM curriculum. I then moved to Clearwater, Florida, where after a short break I retook year 3 and then completed year 4 in 2017, just before relocating to Washington and joining All Souls.

In EfM, we study Christian tradition through reading assigned texts and essays, as well as in individual and group theological reflections which connect our life experiences with our readings.  We use a workbook to guide our studies. We meet weekly from September to May, guided by trained mentors, who facilitate discussions and reflections.

One of the most interesting exercises for each individual is to write one’s Spiritual Autobiography.  Each returning semester, I had the opportunity to re-read what I had written before, reflect on it, and continue to expand my autobiography.  This self-reflection helped me to see more clearly how my past affected the changing picture of myself as a practicing Christian; and offered me new paths to explore, knowing God is with me on my spiritual journey.

Through EfM, I learned to incorporate into my life the lessons we read each Sunday.  By reading scripture, being active in worship and prayer, and being in community with one another at All Souls, I believe I have become closer to God in understanding my purpose in this spiritual journey I am on... and I am merry and joyful!  

 

All Souls began offering EfM a year ago, and a second group will begin the Year 1 curriculum Thursday evenings this September, under the guidance of Christian Formation Leader Brian Smith. As Anne’s experience shows, it’s not necessary to commit to all four years up front before you start. If you have any questions about the new group, please contact Brian.

Last Published: August 9, 2018 11:51 AM
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