The School for Ministry offers two programs: a full three-year CORE ACADEMIC PROGRAM to support postulants preparing for ordination to the vocational diaconate and an ANGLICAN STUDIES PROGRAM designed to academically prepare those with prior theological training outside the Episcopal Church who are to be received or ordained to the diaconate or priesthood. Certificates of Completion are granted to students who fulfill the full requirements for each program. In addition, many of our courses are offered on an audit basis to laity interested in diving deeper into the rich tradition of the Episcopal Church. Auditors can fully participate in courses in which they are enrolled but are neither graded nor eligible for certificates of completion. In addition to our scheduled meetings as a school, watch for the return of our popular short mid-day “Online Lunch and Learn" courses. These are offered monthly starting in October and running through June. CORE ACADEMIC PROGRAM Over the three years of the Core Academic Program, courses are offered in the core academic disciplines -- Holy Scripture, theology, church history, and liturgics – as well as training specifically designed to develop skills to help the new deacons engage in the Church’s work in the world The Core Academic Program consists of 24 one-semester courses, as follows:
Six courses in Holy Scripture (OT1-3; NT 1-3)
Three courses in Church History (CH1-3)
Four courses in Theology (TH1-4)
Three courses in Liturgics (LT1-3)
One course in Proclamation (PR1)
Six courses in Practical theology (PT1-5)
Capstone Seminar (CS1)
This is depicted in the graphic diagram below
CORE ACADEMIC PROGRAM COURSE DESCRIPTIONS:
OT1 PENTATEUCH The course introduces the 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 DEUTERONOMISTIC 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.
OT3 PROPHECY The classical prophets of the Old Testament, particularly Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, are introduced. 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.
TH1–TH2 SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY A two-course sequence for those without prior theological training and who wish to engage in a systematic study of Christian doctrines such as God, Christ, Holy Spirit, Trinity, Church, etc. Using Alister McGrath's Christian Theology: An Introduction (sixth edition) which is modeled on the Apostles Creed, these two introductory (and preparatory) courses will help the participants read and reflect on themes fundamental to the life and witness of the Church. Taking into consideration the realities of religious pluralism and racism in our society, the course will include discussion on theologies of religious diversity and Black liberation theology
TH3–TH4 ANGLICAN THEOLOGY Attention is directed to the history of Anglican theological content, methodology, and development, with readings drawn mostly from Anglican theologians and historians. The two-semester course begins with Rowan Williams, Why Study the Past. We then examine philosophy and history in the formulations of Anglican perspectives on theological themes such as: the person, nature, and work of Jesus Christ; God's gracious action in creation and redemption; the revolution caused by the debates of the 19th century; and the place of denominationalism in the formation of doctrine since the founding of the World Faith and Order Conference.
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.
LT1LITURGICAL 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 THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER: RUBRICS, RITES & RESOURCES The structure, use and theology of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and all attendant resources.This course will focus on the calendar, lectionary, Daily Offices, Baptism, Holy Week, and Holy Eucharist
LT3 THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER: RUBRICS, RITES & RESOURCES The structure, use and theology of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and all attendant resources. A continuation of LT2, this course will focus on Ordination, Confirmation, Matrimony, Reconciliation, Burial, Book of Occasional Services, all musical resources, and other selected topics.
PR1 PROCLAMATION 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 Mercer Capstone Seminar offers those very recently ordained to the vocational diaconate an opportunity to reflect on the new challenges of ordained ministry by confronting and understanding ministerial challenges, surveying various leadership frameworks, and developing one’s own leadership model. Guided readings, case studies, discussion, and guest speakers, will enliven the conversation as the students transition from the lay order to ordained ministry. ANGLICAN STUDIES PROGRAM Our Anglican Studies Track offers a program of study in the core disciplines of theology, liturgics, and church history in the Anglican/Episcopal tradition. The program is designed to support those preparing for reception or ordination to the diaconate or priesthood who have received theological education at a non-Episcopal seminary or school of theology. The course of study is offered through the School for Ministry and consists of courses drawn from the core academic program and additional courses in subject areas such as ecumenism and interfaith relations, the Anglican approach to Holy Scripture, and Anglican ethics. Students who complete nine courses successfully will receive a Certificate in Anglican Studies from the School. The program consists of the following:
Required: AS1Reading the Bible like an Anglican (one semester) TH3–4 Anglican Theology (two semesters) CH3Episcopal Church History (one semester) LT2–3: Book of Common Prayer (two semesters) CS1Capstone seminar
Electives: two one semester courses in such areas as Anglican history (CH2),BCP history (AS2), Anglican ethics (AS4), and Ecumenical and Interfaith relations (AS3). Given that there are eleven courses either currently offered or in development, a student could complete the requirements for the certificate in three semesters or over two academic years.
Most of these courses are also available for audit by interested lay people.
The program is graphically depicted in the following diagram:
ANGLICAN STUDIES COURSE DESCRIPTIONS AS1 READING THE BIBLE LIKE AN ANGLICAN We all read Holy Scripture from our own perspectives and from within our own communities. This course considers the Anglican approach to Scripture as it developed from the early days of the Reformation until today in five broad strokes: The Bible in Plain English: John Wycliffe and William Tyndale; the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer; The Bible, Richard Hooker, and the Caroline Divines; the Bible and modern biblical criticism; and the Bible in the life of the Anglican Communion today.
AS2 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. AS3 ECUMENICAL AND INTERFAITH RELATIONS Given the call for greater unity among Christian denominations, we will explore progress made by reviewing the history of the Ecumenical Movement in the Episcopal Church. We will start by looking at unity pioneers William Reed Huntington and Charles Henry Brent, and then we will evaluate examples of ecumenical successes, including full communion with the Old Catholics, Evangelical Lutherans, and the Moravians. Then we will consider possibilities of full communion with some Methodists, Roman Catholics, and Presbyterians. The class will close with an investigation of the Interfaith strategies of the Episcopal Church. AS4 CHRISTIAN ETHICS FROM AN ANGLICAN PERSPECTIVE An introduction to Christian Ethics from an Episcopal/Anglican perspective to articulate a critical appreciation of the ways in which Anglicanism informs and shapes the moral life of communities and individuals; to develop in students a well-informed understanding of the theological resources available for Christian reflection on ethical issues; and to develop in students, skills to apply these resources faithfully to contemporary moral questions.
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