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Our New Home: The Beecken Center

While it doesn't yet look any different, the Programs Center at the School of Theology has a new name, The Beecken Center, thanks to the generosity of David and Kitty Beecken of Chicago whose gift will provide funding for the ongoing revitalization of the center, including renewed facilities and progam development.
The Beeckens named EfM as one of the reasons they decided to make this gift. "As alumni of the programs center's Education for Ministry (EfM) program, we have been impacted by its transformational power," said Kitty Beecken, who will join The Beecken Center's board of advisors. 
Read about it here.

Feedback on the New Texts

On the November Group Status Report we asked for feedback about the new texts. Our intrepid student worker has input the responses from our nearly 1,000 groups and produced a set of graphs giving an overall look at what you said about the amount of work required and the assigned texts themselves. 
Since that feedback came relatively early in the academic year we will follow up with an online survey of all mentors and individual participants. Watch for the link in an email in mid-May. 
Next year we also will be inviting participants to answer at least two surveys. Your response will help us determine whether to replace any of the current texts. 

About Next Year's Texts

Next year (2014-2015) all groups will be using EfM Reading and Reflection Guide B: Living Faithfully in a Multicultural World, the second in our four-volume cycle. The interlude books will be The Bush Was Blazing but not Consumed by Eric Law and Globalization, Gender, and Peacebuilding: The Future of Interfaith Dialogue by Kwok Pui-lan, both contributing to the year's focus on being a faithful Christian ministering in an intercultural and increasingly non-Christian context.
We will continue for one more year to use the same texts we used this year for readings in the Christian tradition: Collins for year one, Powell for year two, MacCulloch for year three, and Allen, Sedgwick, and Peace for year four. We will again provide the printed book to participants, but all of next year's texts are available as e-books that you can purchase if you wish.

EfM and the Kaleidoscope Institute

As part of EfM's vision to widen the circle and increase diversity of all kinds in the program, EfM trainers have been working with Eric Law from the Kaleidoscope Institute to learn practices that help foster culturally competent leadership for the church and other communities in a diverse and rapidly changing world. Two KI group process tools (respectful communication guidelines and mutual invitation) were introduced in Volume A of the Reading and Reflection Guide. Others will appear in subsequent Guides as EfM continues to work in a collaborative relationship with KI.
The Kaleidoscope Institute offers several different transformative training events across (and beyond) the United States in their mission to create inclusive and sustainable churches and communities. Check their website for more information about their work and for a schedule of  events. Eric Law also blogs at The Sustainist.

Meet Joshua Booher, Assistant Director

We are pleased to welcome Joshua D. Booher as EfM's new Assistant Director for Operations. Joshua will be watching over EfM's finances (with some collateral administrative duties in The Beecken Center), assisting in conflict resolution  for mentors and their seminar groups, and helping to further develop and expand the network of the EfM Alumni/ae Association.
Joshua brings significant experience to the job. He has served eight years as a group mentor, four and a half years as a trainer, and three years as coordinator for the Diocese of East Tennessee. Beyond that, he claims a lifelong connection to EfM since his father was a mentor whose groups often met in their rectory living room. His experience in counseling and education will be put to good use in helping mentors resolve issues. Finally, he is an enthusiastic alumnus of both EfM and The University of the South.
Joshua is already at his desk, and his family will be moving from Knoxville to Sewanee in the near future. When you are on the Mountain be sure to stop in and introduce yourself. 

Essential Practices for Christian Disciples

Many EfM graduates have expressed a desire for additional curricula that will build on thefoundation they built in their four years of small group community work, learning, and theological reflection in EfM. Essential Practices for Christian Disciples is in development as the first of what we hope eventually will be a collection of EfM postgrad opportunities. This one-year program will be open to EfM graduates who want toparticipate in a group ministry project while learning together to develop skills in ministry discernment, design, and team building.
The emphasis is not on identifying a 'permanent' ministry, but  on identifying a need and formulating an appropriate response as the group creates and enacts a project together. The group will learn how to articulate the mission to get others on board with the vision, and how to translate the vision to actual on-the-ground ministry. The group’s prior experience in EfM will allow it to move forward immediately with a shared language and culture, confident in the skills and background of individual members as the process engages time-honored EfM practices and learns new ones drawn from the ministry discernment and design processes used in VocationCARE and the work of the Leadership Development Initiative in community organizing grounded in spiritual practice
As in EfM, the year will consists of 36 meetings over a 9-month period and the enrollment fee wil be $350 in sponsoring dioceses, with all curricular materials provided. Groups will have a minimum of six and a maximum of twelve participants. Mentors will be accredited according to EfM standards. A specially designed formation-level training for those who would like to mentor a postgrad group using the Essential Practices curriculum will be held in Sewanee June 20-22. John de Beer, one of the curriculum development team, will be the trainer. 
EfM trainers (l to r), Martha Gilliam, Kevin Goodman, Susan Weeks, Tara Soughers, at the March KI-EfM training in Delray Beach, Florida.

Education for Ministry . The School of Theology . The University of the South
335 Tennessee Avenue, Sewanee TN 37383 . 800.722.1974

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