The core program of the School for Ministry supports the academic formation of those called to the diaconate in the Diocese of Long Island. Our primary focus is on meeting the "competencies" requirements set forth in Canon III.6.5(f), which call for academic studies in "The Holy Scriptures, theology, and the tradition of the Church." Instructors and students meet one Saturday a month from September to June for three years, with readings and other work between meetings. In addition, training is provided via workshops in such areas as prevention of sexual misconduct and abuse, the Church's teaching on racism, and the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. Postulants for Holy Orders also are assigned to congregations to further explore their ministries in a parochial setting.
The three years of academic work consist of six four-course semesters (24 courses), organized in the following topical areas:
Holy Scripture (3 OT, 3 NT) – 6 courses
Church History (CH) – 3 courses
Theology (TH) – 4 courses
Liturgics (LT) – 3 courses
Proclamation (PR) – 1 course
Practical Theology (PT) – 6 courses
Capstone course (CS)
There is an implied and preferred sequence for most of these courses, although students can enter a topical sequence at any point. A diagrammatic representation of the three-year program and short course descriptions are provided below:
Courses shaded in the above picture are open only to those in the ordination process.
***All other courses are open to laity who may register as audit students. Audit students are invited to fully participate in the Saturday sessions, and can follow the readings and assignments made by each instructor.
"Flipped classroom." Assignments are to be completed prior to each class meeting, to allow informed engagement with the material taught in each 1 ¼ hour class session.
All classes will meet online via Zoom. Zoom invitations for each class will be emailed to students at least one week prior to the class meeting.
In addition to our scheduled meetings as a school, watch for the return of our popular mid-day short "Lunch and Learn" courses in Advent and Lent (Virtual for the time being). Check in with Canon Ted Gerbracht, Director of Academic Studies, at (516) 248-4800 Ext. 117 email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details
In addition to the Core Program, the School for Ministry hosts and supports a variety of other programs, including "mandated programs" such as Eucharistic Visitor, "Safe Church," and Racial Awareness trainings. Workshops and courses are periodically conducted to support vestries, church treasurers, lectors, Christian Educators, and other lay leaders. Further information is available under the "Programs and Events" tab on the front page of the Mercer website.
ACADEMIC PROGRAM COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
The course introduces first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy), including a synopsis of their outlooks, ideologies, and theologies, while paying close attention to their literary traditions, historical and cultural contexts, and thematic structures. Selected passages are exegeted in detail.
OT2 THE DEUTERONOMIST HISTORY AND THE WRITINGS
The course introduces the books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, as well as the Psalms and Proverbs including synopses of their outlooks, ideologies, and theologies. The course pays close attention to their literary traditions, historical and cultural contexts, and thematic structures. Selected passages are exegeted in detail.
The classical prophets of the Old Testament, particularly Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. The course pays close attention to their literary traditions, historical and cultural contexts, and thematic structures. Selected passages are exegeted in detail.
NT1 SYNOPTIC GOSPELS
The course introduces the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). The course looks to their structural similarities and to the meaning(s) of various synoptic pericopes with due regard to their geographical, socio-political, and religious contexts to expose and explain themes and issues in the Synoptics. Selected passages from each of the Synoptic Gospels are exegeted in detail.
NT2 GOSPEL OF JOHN
The course introduces the Gospel of John, often called the "Fourth Gospel" and seen as a diptych of the "Book of Signs" and the "Book of Glory." The course looks to the Gospel's background, literary structure, theological themes, and Christology. Selected passages of the Gospel are exegeted in detail.
NT3 ACTS AND PAULINE EPISTLES
The course introduces the "Gospel according to Paul" and the Acts of the Apostles. It begins with an exposition of St. Paul as he speaks of himself in his letters and as he is spoken of in Acts within his Jewish and Hellenistic milieu. The focus of the course is an introduction to the thirteen letters of the corpus Paulinum. Selected passages from Paul's letters and Acts are exegeted in detail.
CH1 THE EARLY CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT
The first 500 years of the Worldwide Christian Movement. It was during this seminal period that our patterns of worship, orders of ministry, creedal statements of belief and paths to Christian spirituality were hammered out. Join us as we review the major institutions, issues and personalities which dominate this critical time in the formation of our faith.
CH2 ANGLICAN CHRISTIANITY
A broad historical overview of Anglican Christianity. We will briefly look at British religious history during the first 1500 years A.D. and then gradually widen our scope as the English Church followed British traders, entrepreneurs, adventurers and missionaries around the globe, planting the seeds of what would become a loose Anglican Communion and a unique American Episcopal Church.
CH3 EPISCOPAL CHURCH HISTORY
An historical exploration of the development and form of Anglican Christianity that emerged in the American Episcopal Church from its initial planting in Jamestown in 1607 to the present day. We will consider the development of a new form of church governance, regional differences in practice and polity, missionary strategies, and the overall response of the Episcopal Church to the needs of Episcopal communities of the
faithful in the diverse religious landscape of the United States. Our purpose is to prepare you to use history pastorally in your various ministries.
Over four semesters in the second and third years of academic formation, the tools of theological inquiry, analysis and reflection will be applied systematically to enable the student to understand and appreciate the essential doctrines and teachings of the Church in an Anglican context. Such topics as Christology, the Trinity, Ecclesiology, and Pneumatology will be covered from a variety of core documents and writings from key theologians from the patristic, medieval, pre-modern, modern and postmodern periods.
TH3-4—THE CONTENT OF THEOLOGY
A two-term course covering the traditional doctrines associated with Christian theology. First term emphasis will be placed on the Doctrine of God, the Incarnation, the Holy Spirit, and creation. Second term will cover humanity, the Christian community and its sacraments, sin and salvation, and eternal life. The basic text will be Alister McGrath's Christian Theology: An Introduction (sixth edition). Class sessions are open to all interested students; tutorial sessions are for candidates for ordination. Previous work in history, scripture, and theological methodology (such as Theology 1 & 2) are encouraged.
PT1 – PT6 PRACTICAL THEOLOGY SEMINAR
The program in Practical Theology is a course in ministry style and technique. Over a three-year period, the postulant will study methods of pastoral care using the tools of Theological Reflection, Case Presentation, Role Play, Peer Supervision and Individual Supervision. Each student will bring to our sessions the ministries they are involved with as they begin their process towards ordination. The goal of our program is to get participants to integrate the theology they learn in the class with the theology they apply in ministry. As they work together and share their work and their prayer they will grow in community, making our sessions a model for future peer support and community building.
Liturgy and Proclamation
LT0 - SACRAMENTS AND SEASONS
This course will provide an overview of worship in the Episcopal Church. It is intended for those preparing for pre-ordination academic formation as well as interested laity. We will explore the movement and balance of the Liturgy of Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Particular attention will be given to the roles of our many Liturgical Ministries. We will also engage in the process of planning and preparing the Liturgical Seasons.
LT1 - LITURGICAL THEOLOGY
In liturgical theology, we investigate the church at worship. This introductory study includes methodologies for liturgical theology as well as the history and origins of rituals, sacramental theology, and pastoral rites.
LT2 HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER
In this course we will explore our current Book of Common Prayer in light of the evolution of Anglican Worship. Having established the context for our conversation, we will cover the spirituality and practicality of the book. With "Prayer Book Reform" discussion and forums active on social media, we will also consider which parts of our Prayer Book tradition should be retained as well as what might be discarded.
LT3 THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER: RUBRICS, RITES & RESOURCES
The structure, use and theology of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, including, as time permits, discussion of supplemental resources, including the Book of Occasional Services, Lesser Feast and Fasts, and the 1982 Hymnal as a practical matter for liturgical leaders, and also as a spiritual resource
The great preacher Phillips Brooks defined preaching as the "communication of truth through personality." This course focuses on the practice of preaching from the inside out. Who is the preacher? How can she best use her life, her body and her voice to speak the good news to a weary world? Students will listen to sermons preached by some of the great preachers of the 20th (and 21st) century, reflect on the impact of preaching in their own lives as well as preach and critique sermons in a supportive environment.
CS1 CAPSTONE SEMINAR
The George Mercer, Jr. Memorial School of Theology Episcopal Diocese of Long Island 65 Fourth Street, Garden City, NY 11530 • 516 248-4800 Ext 140