EfM in the Diocese of Long Island

The only thing truly worthwhile is becoming God's friend.
~ Gregory of Nyssa

Join Us!

If you would like to become a mentor or start an EfM group at a parish (or, in another setting) or if you would like to become a student of an EfM group in our diocese please contact John Musco, Long Island Diocesan EfM Coordinator, at johnmusco@gmail.com, 917-519-0422 or contact one of our diocesan mentors (see list below).

Upcoming Dates & Events

Mark your calendars and join us!

If you are an EfM mentor or you are interested in becoming one, join us at our Long Island Mentor Training, Thursday, June 15-Saturday, June 17. Training will take place at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, NY. The seminary is in a beautiful setting on Long Island's North Shore. Training begins with lunch at noon on Thursday and ends at noon on Saturday.

We will offer our basic course: "Foundations of Seminar Life" and an advanced course: "Designing Seminars for Experiential Learning."

For more information, contact John Musco at johnmusco@gmail.com, 917-519-0422.


Education for Ministry, affectionately known as EfM, is a four-year ecumenical program designed to prepare you for lay ministry within the diverse contexts of contemporary life.

The curriculum is centered on theological reflection, which is the artful spiritual discipline of putting our life experiences into conversation with the living God of our faith. It's a practical skill that will provide a way for you to experience greater meaning in your day-to-day life and a more tangible sense of God's loving presence in the world and how to share that love in lay ministry.

Students sign up one year at a time for the four-year program. By the end of four years, you will cover the basics of a theological education in the Hebrew and Christian Testaments, church history, liturgy, and theology. We meet regularly, once a week during the academic year, in seminars under the guidance of a nationally-certified mentor. The program grants a certificate at the completion of the four years and 18 Continuing Education Units for each year's work.

The Program

The goal of EFM is to help us to think theologically, find a way to respond and act prayerfully, and persevere in ministering faithfully.

EfM groupIn a typical seminar, you will encounter issues that inspire people of faith: how religious traditions grow and change as each generation sings the songs and tells the stories... how to maintain the integrity of that tradition while reaching out to a hurting world...how "freezing" practices in a rigid form can enervate faith but ceasing to venerate them can deprive us of their power,,, and how to discern God's call in your life and immerse yourself in a living faith.

Participants are given weekly assignments to study with the help of written resource guides. In the seminars, members have an opportunity to share their insights and discoveries as well as to dialogue about questions that their study materials and prayer lives raise for them. Each participant is responsible for setting their own learning goals. At the same time, the emphasis is on spirituality and relationship, which involves a much deeper part of ourselves than simply the content of our minds.

The seminar is supported by a life of self-examination, prayer and regular worship. EfM groups are encouraged to develop a pattern of worship appropriate to their situations. Liturgical materials are furnished with the course materials.

Contents of the Four Years

Participants in the EfM program study the entire sweep of the Christian tradition from the pre-Judeo-Christian period to the present. Participants learn the disciplines of biblical exegesis and interpretation, systematic theology, church history, ethics, liturgics, and ascetical theology.

The content is not studied in a vacuum. Each seminar group is intentionally formed as an intimate "community of learning" in which the events of each participant's life can be examined in the light of the materials being studied.

While the course materials provide substantial academic content, the focus of the program is on "life as ministry" and understanding that ministry. You will be challenged to live into what you believe and, through the careful study and spiritual contemplation that is the work of theological reflection, root yourself in creative "being" and a robust affirmation of the reality of God.

There are approximately thirty-six group meetings during the course of a yearly cycle. New members begin with the first lesson of year one. Each participant explores thirty-four chapters of academic content and five common lessons that help the group to get started, learn to reflect theologically, practice the attitudes and skills necessary to genuinely respond to each other and our world, and develop its spirituality.

Year One focuses on the Hebrew Testament, Year Two on Christian Testament, Year Three on EfM LogoChurch History and Year Four on Ethics & Theological Choices.

More detail, including sample lessons, can be found on-line at:

The Mentor

Seminar groups work under the leadership of mentors. Mentors are not "teachers" in the traditional sense (who are expected to impart information about the Christian tradition); the role of the "teacher" is built into the program materials.

The mentor in EfM provides structure for the group and enables them to study, engage and pray together. Most importantly, the mentor encourages the hearts of participants. Mentors may be lay or ordained persons. Criteria by which they are called include: having extensive experience in serious religious study (including methods of biblical scholarship); possessing a mature faith; being able to live with and guide others in the loving ambiguity that exists between multiple interpretations of biblical tradition; and the possessing of spiritual gifts and talents which nurture a group to develop their life in Christ.

Enrollment & Fees

The Education for Ministry program is a four-year curriculum. Each "year" is approximately a nine-month cycle of study. Students enroll for one cycle at a time. Most groups begin the year in September and end in the beginning of June; some groups begin in January (with a break in the summer) and end in December.

To be viable, our group will have a minimum of six students. And, to foster and maintain an effective learning environment and ensure an opportunity for everyone's participation, EfM groups will not have more than twelve participants.

At the time of enrollment participants pay the full year's fee. In the case of a move during the academic cycle, a participant may transfer to another group.

The current fee for EfM in the Diocese of Long Island is $375.  Fees pay for the EfM materials and the honorarium for the mentor. In addition, students will need a Bible and may wish to obtain additional reading materials suggested in the bibliographies. To assist students with financial need, a fee reduction provision is available on the basis of the total enrollment of the group.

I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father
~ John 15:15

EfM Current Groups & Mentors in the Diocese of Long Island

EfM Current Groups & Mentors in the Diocese of Long Island


• Grace Church, Brooklyn Hts

Meets Wednesday at 6:30pm | Sept to June

Mentors: John Musco & Kathy Page | johnmusco@gmail.com, pagingkathy@gmail.com

• All Saints/Park Slope

Meets Thursday nights at 6:30pm | Sept to June Mentor: Victor Li | viclapfan@gmail.com

• Church of the Nativity/Ditmas Park

Meets Wednesday at 7:30pm | Sept to June Mentor: Hyacinth Jeffers | trini8055@yahoo.com


• St. John's/Cold Spring Harbor

Meets Monday at 6:30pm | Jan to Dec (summer break) Mentor: Laura Swigget | swignet@aol.com

• St. Thomas'/Farmingdale

Meets Thursday at 6:00pm | Sept to June

Mentor: Daniel Petersen-Snyder | dpetersensnyder@optonline.net

First Presbyterian Church/Oyster Bay

Meets Jan to Dec (summer break)

Mentors: Patricia Whitaker & Lori Duval | patricia.whitaker@stonybrook.edu, loriduvall@optonline.net


• St. John's/Huntington

Meets Monday at 7:00pm | Sept to June Mentors: Leslie Valentine & Ann Wenk | leslieval@aol.com, cwenk@optonline.net

St. Ann's/Sayville

Meets Monday at 6:30pm | Sept to June

Mentors: Mark D'Alessio & Daniel Petersen-Snyder | br.markgregory@icloud.com

• St. Cuthbert's/Selden (formerly, Little Portion Friary)

Meets Tuesday at 6:30pm | Sept to June

Mentors: Mark D'Alessio & Jennifer Yaffar | br.markgregory@icloud.com

An Invitation!

If you would like to become a mentor or start an EfM group at a parish or in another setting, please contact our Long Island Diocesan EfM Coordinator John Musco at johnmusco@gmail.com or 917-519-0422.

If you would like to become a participant in an EfM group in our diocese, please contact one of our diocesan mentors (see the current list of diocesan mentors above); or John Musco at johnmusco@gmail.com or 917-519-0422.