It has now been six months since I took on the role of National Director of EFM Australia from The Rev’d Trevor Smith and I believe it is more than timely to give trainers, co-ordinators, mentors and participants an update on progress and developments with the change of leadership as well as the transition into the newly revised EFM program.
These first months have essentially been taken up with establishing the EFM office, now re-located to the Parish Centre at the Anglican Parish of Gisborne in Victoria where I am the Parish priest. At the same time I have been handling the administration of those groups who re-registered or began the newly revised program. I am pleased to announce that we now have sixteen groups operating the revised program. Two other groups are about to commence at the end of this month with I hope one or two more groups to begin as well. Of course at the same time we do have groups that have finished their four years and who are going into recess for the time being.
I am pleased to report that the transition to the newly revised program has gone smoothly with no real problems being raised to date. The feedback so far has been positive but equally I look forward to further feedback as our experience of the program grows. This feedback will be important as we prepare to edit/adapt the materials [ie: RRG] for 2016. This process is beginning now so any feedback mentors can provide over the next few weeks would be particularly valuable.
So far this year, two mentor trainings have taken place: one in Hong Kong (which comes under the EFM-Australia banner) and one in Maitland with participants from both the Diocese of Newcastle and Bathurst. Planning for further mentor trainings is now underway for the remainder of this year and into next year. Priority needs to be given at this point to those mentors (irrespective of whether re-accreditation is due or not) who need to participate in a training that focuses on the newly revised program. If as a mentor you fall into this category could you please make contact with myself as soon as possible.
On the administrative side I am pleased to announce that I have invited a small group comprising of trainers, co-ordinators and mentors to be a reference/advisory group to assist me in developing and growing Education for Ministry within our church. The members of the group who have accepted my invitation are: Helen Malcolm [trainer/mentor]; Barbara Booth [trainer/mentor]; Jan Craft [trainer/co-ordinator/mentor]; Lynelle Osborne [trainer/mentor]; Michael Richards [co-ordinator/mentor]. We are planning to meet in Canberra in August in conjunction with a meeting of local mentors where a de-brief/feedback session on the new program will be undertaken.
Issues to be explored include:
- 2016 RRG preparation
- on-line groups
- publicity, promotion, website, brochures/prospectus
- alumni groups
- independent accreditation as an optional extra
I am also pleased to announce that a new administrative assistant has been appointed to assist me with EFM Administration. Jude Walker is the new EFM administrative assistant and will be in the EFM Office on Fridays.
I am also pleased to announce that The Rev’d Kevin Bourke has accepted the appointment of EFM coordinator for the Brisbane Diocese.
I take this opportunity of thanking you all for your prayers and support. Please keep EFM in your prayers as we face the challenges of Christian faith formation within our church. I believe we have been blessed with a wonderful resource in EFM and all who over the years have experienced the EFM program. We need to tap this great resource of people and ministry experience as we confidently move forward in promoting and growing EFM here in Australia and Hong Kong.
May God continue to bless you in your ministry.
Apparently 36% of Americans claim to read the Bible daily or weekly. One wonders what the comparable figure for Australia might be. But just as important as reading Scripture is how it is read. This is one of the key areas which EfM explores. An interesting interview with prominent theologian Harvey Cox explores his new book on the subject.
On Friday Feb 27th at Christ Church South Yarra, a good gathering of Education for Ministry graduates, participants, mentors, trainers and supporters met to celebrate and give thanks for Fr Trevor and Kathy’s ministry to EFM over the past 25 years and to mark their retirement from their respective roles as National Director and Administrator.
We were warmly welcomed by the Parish priest of Christ Church, Fr Richard Treloare. Archbishop Philip Freier in his role as Primate presided and preached at the Eucharist, and on behalf of the Australian Church thanked Trevor and Kathy for their dedicated service to the Education for Ministry program and their commitment to the formation of the laity for mission and ministry.
Our celebration also provided an opportunity for the commissioning of Fr Greg Davies as the new National Director of EfM Australia. Greg was presented to the Archbishop by Jonathan Sargeant, Lay Education Officer representing the Ministry Education Commission of the Diocese of Brisbane, which holds the EfM License and oversees the EfM program in Australia. Greg is the parish priest in Gisborne [50 kilometres north of Melbourne] and in an arrangement between his parish and the Diocese of Brisbane will oversee and administer the new EfM program. The EfM office has now relocated to the Parish Centre in Gisborne.
Following the Eucharist everyone gathered for refreshments and a presentation was made by Jamie Miller to Trevor of an icon of St Claire and St Francis, and to Kathy one of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary. These icons were written by Fr John Baton.
Thank you to everyone who was able to be present for this celebration and also to the many who sent messages of thanks and reflections to Trevor and Kathy.
Photo: Greg, Kathy & Trevor.
Sherryl Catchpole and Ros Goodhind are our first Australian online EfM graduates. Sherryl and Ros completed their Year 4 fully online in 2014 with Barbara Booth and Lynelle Osburn as co-mentors. The Graduation Service for Sherryl and Ros was conducted by Fr Graheme Baldock on 7 March 2015 at St. Anne’s Scarborough, part of St.Mary’s parish at Redcliffe, Queensland.
We are so proud of Sherryl and Ros who embraced the new technology and learned many new skills. We asked them to comment on the experience, which they have done as follows.
How was EfM Online?
EfM Online was a wonderful solution to our problem of our group being unable to continue when we had a year of the course to finish. It would also be excellent for those who are located in rural or remote areas or for those who are isolated in some way.
We started with basic computer skills (we could send emails) and our mentors helped us through each new requirement. Course work was done during the week and we used an Internet discussion page at our convenience to post comments and to answer questions. We could read what our fellow students and mentors were contributing.
Once a week there was a set time for our meeting. There was a worship roster and that material was sent in beforehand. Each meeting opened and closed with prayer. We had a time to respond to the “how we were feeling” page . Typing comments into “chat room” was used instead of speech. The “Blackboard” screen as a tool for Theological Reflection impressed us with its ease of use.
About half way though the study year we had a face to face meeting in Sydney. People came from the Riverina (1), Sydney (3), and Redcliffe Queensland (2). We spent two days together participating in worship and TRs. It was great to meet everybody. We would like to suggest that the “f2f” be held earlier in the year if possible.
We can only imagine the extra work our mentors, Lynelle Osborn and Barbara Booth, put in to implement the online course and we thank them most sincerely.
The whole four years of EfM have been an enjoyable learning experience. Online has been different but effective. As graduates we feel equipped for our ongoing Christian ministry.
Ros and Sherryl
Photo: Fr Graheme Baldock, Sherryl Catchpole, Ros Goodhind and Lois Weise (Redcliffe mentor for the first three years of Sherryl and Ros’s course).
Mentor accreditation training will be held at Bathurst on 14-15 April 2015. For details contact Jan Craft [firstname.lastname@example.org] or the National EfM Director Rev. Greg Davies [email@example.com]
In this brief audio podcast we hear about how a nun who is mentor for The Greatest Show on Earth helped a lay member of the circus with her ministry, simply, easily and inspiringly.
In EfM when we come to our action statements after a Theological Reflection, the action can be as simple as this… and as powerful spreading God’s love.
Members of the Education for Ministry community will gather on Friday 27 February at 6pm at Christ Church South Yarra, to celebrate and give thanks for the ministries of The Rev’d Trevor Smith and Ms Kathy Boddy to the Education for Ministry program over the past twenty-five years. Trevor and Kathy retired from their positions as National Director and Administrator respectively on 31 December 2014. They can be seen below: Kathy second from left and Trevor fifth from right, at a gathering of mentors and trainers at Mount Macedon in March 2014.
All past and present participants in or supporters of EfM program across Australia are invited to this celebration at which the Primate, The Most Rev’d Philip Freier, will be the Presider and Preacher.
Trevor and Kathy have been instrumental in promoting, supporting and maintaining this unique program of theological, spiritual and ministry formation of the laity within our Anglican Church in Australia over such a long period of time. Participants, mentors and trainers are thankful for their skills, energy and commitment that have contributed so much to the faith and ministry formation of so many individuals and parish communities over many years.
The Education for Ministry program also begins a new phase in its life within the Australian Church in 2015. The Rev’d Greg Davies has been appointed as our new National Director with the EFM office being relocated to Gisborne where he is the Parish Priest. In 2015 the launch of the revised EfM program begins in Australia, with the introduction of new texts and resources, while retaining the core elements of the EfM Program: Theological Reflection, Biblical Study and Spiritual formation within a learning community.
For further details of this important gathering for past, present and future participants in EFM contact Jamie Miller 0428 320 668 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the next few years we will be making a transition to new resources, mostly along the lines of changes underway in EfM elsewhere. A key text for first year students in the USA is now John Collins, A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Follow the link to get a taste of the new text from the publisher’s website.
Past students of EfM – whether graduates or not – now gather for a two-hour meeting, usually on the fourth Tuesday of the month. We meet at 6.00 pm at St Paul’s. Every third time we gather during daylight hours on the weekend instead. All past students are welcome, whether you did EfM at St Paul’s or elsewhere. Recent topics of conversation have included a lecture by Dr Val Webb on boundaries and faith, and what might be a distinctive Anglican contribution to notions of Australian identity. Check the St Paul’s weekly bulletin for details, available on the web at St Paul’s Manuka
“Please de-baptize me,” she said.
The priest’s face crumpled.
“My parents tell me you did it,” she said.
“But I was not consulted. So
Now, undo it.”
The priest’s eyes asked why.
“If it were just about belonging to
This religion and being forgiven,
Then I would stay. If it were just
This list of doctrines and upholding
This list of rituals,
I’d be OK. But
Your sermon Sunday made
It clear it’s
About more. More
Than I bargained for. So, please,
The priest looked down, said
Nothing. She continued:
“You said baptism sends
Me into the
Love enemies. I don’t. Nor
Do I plan to. You said it means
Being willing to stand
Against the flow. I like the flow.
You described it like rethinking
Everything, like joining a
I’m not rethinking or moving anywhere.
So un-baptize me. Please.”
The priest began to weep. Soon
Great sobs rose from his deepest heart.
He took off his glasses, blew his nose, took
Three tissues to dry his eyes.
“These are tears of joy,” he said.
“I think you
Are the first person who ever
Truly listened or understood.”
“So,” she said,
“Will you? Please?”
Thanks to Brian McLaren for permission to reproduce his thought-provoking words: for more visit his website www.brianmclaren.net