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New Journeys

It's Wednesday, May 13, 2015, and I just finished my last class for Education for Ministry (EfM). On the drive home I thought about the last four years and wondered about those that had taken this journey before me and where time had gone. To think it all started with me picking up the church bulletin and reading about EfM classes that would start in the fall. It caught my attention. When I got home I looked it up online and thought, hum, this is interesting.  Two weeks later, after church, Betty Jo Dulaney said, "Richard, you should think about taking EfM." “Interesting,” I said, letting her know that I had looked it up a couple of weeks ago.  I said I would think about it. 

Knowing that God has a plan for all of us, even though we weave right and then left, I waited. God has a way of getting us back on track to fulfill the plan He has for us. About two weeks later, I received a call from Martin Jellinek asking if I had thought any more about EfM. That's all it took. God had planted the seed, Betty Jo watered the seed, and Martin supplied the sunshine. I asked when classes started. Martin’s call was the third time EfM came up in my life; and, that was enough for me to feel called to take EfM. 

Education for Ministry is a four-year program offered through The School of Theology at The University of the South (Sewanee). Through study, prayer, and reflection, EfM students participate in a seminar setting led by a mentor that meets weekly nine months out the year. Year one is spent studying The Hebrew Bible, year two focuses on The New Testament, year three is all about Church History, and year four is Theology, Ethics, and Interfaith Encounter.  

The last four years have provided me with a broader knowledge of the Bible, have introduced me to a number of theologians, and have allowed me to share and examine my religious and spiritual beliefs with an incredible group of individuals who I am proud to call my friends.  

A classmate mentioned that we as humans have a thirst for knowledge and discovery. I agree and will add that not only do we long to discover the gifts that God has given us, but also how to put those gifts to work. EfM provides the framework for a theological education that helps its participants prepare to, "do the work God has given us to do." By studying and understanding our past, we are better prepared for the future both as individuals and as a community answering God's call.   

This journey has created in me a longing for more knowledge, has made me a better man of God with a keener and more willing ear to listen to the voice of God, and has made me more aware of the community around me. 

If you have found yourself curious about the Bible —the who, what, when and where—or the history of Christianity, and you are willing to discuss your thoughts openly with others, I highly recommend taking the time to discover EfM.  

So, what's next for me? In year three we read about the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), a Catholic pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. There is a movie about it called "The Way" with Martin Sheen. I highly recommend it. This pilgrimage has laid heavy on my heart, and I've have been praying that, if it is God's will, I would like to take this journey in 2016.   

EfM will continue to enrich my life in many ways into the future. Through these four years, I developed my confidence to explore my beliefs and spiritual practices within the framework of Christianity. EfM may be the catalyst that moves me toward the Camino de Santiago and to new journeys in my life and here at Calvary. 

Posted by Robyn Maudlin at 9:39 AM
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