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Introducing the School for Ministry

Bishop Carlye Hughes

Bishop Hughes announces the opening of the Diocese of Newark School for Ministry. Along with training for those seeking ordination as Vocational Deacons, it will offer training for lay people seeking to become licensed Preachers, Worship Leaders, and Pastoral Leaders. (Time: 4:50.)

Video Transcript

This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark. And I am excited to let you know that the School for Ministry in the Diocese of Newark that we have been dreaming about, thinking about, doing research on, praying over, planning for, has finally come into being, and in May, we will offer classes for the first students in the School for Ministry.

Primarily, the School for Ministry is set up to help train deacons. We've run into situations where deacons sometimes had to wait a year or two in order to finish their classes, despite the best efforts of all the people involved in training deacons. So we needed something that we could, that was a little bit more streamlined that would work for them.

And along the way to thinking about what deacons needed, we started asking ourselves what lay people needed? How do they need to be trained for ministry? Let me just stop for a minute and talk about that word, "ministry." It's a word we use often in the church, and very often we think it's only about ordained people. But everyone has a ministry. Some of my favorite churches, in their bulletin when they list all the people that, who serve in the church, they'll have the name of the rector, the name of the organist, and say what they do. And then it'll say, "Ministers," next to it, "Every member of this church." That is what ministry is about. Ministry is our serving God and God's people in the unique and particular way that each of us is called. Some of us do that in church every Sunday. Some of us also do it in the workplace, or we do it at school, or in our communities, or in our households, wherever we happen to be. We are always called by God to be serving God's people, and that is ministry.

So the School for Ministry is to help all kinds of people, not just people called to ordained ministry, but also to help lay people who are called to ministry. Primarily, our focus, initially anyway, is going to be on helping lay people who serve in churches in some way. And the example that always comes to mind for me, that was a major motivation in our thinking about the School for Ministry, was a lay person, who in her parish very often reads sermons on the Sundays where there is not a priest or someone to preach. She reads sermons, like from Sermons that Work, or that a priest has left for them to use, or a priest from a neighboring church has offered for them to use. And she's comfortable reading those sermons. And she said, "One day, I would really like to be able to preach a sermon that I've written." She goes, "I think I could do this. But I don't feel confident about my studying scripture, and then figuring out how to talk to a congregation about what I've studied."

Well, this is something that people who preach, learn how to do. Nobody wakes up in the morning saying, "I'm gonna preach for the first time today, I'm just gonna go do it." Same way, a doctor doesn't wake up in the morning, before they've gone to medical school and say, "Today, I'm just gonna go to the hospital and operate on somebody." Teachers have to go to be a student teacher, before they learn how to teach. Everybody's got to learn more about what their gift is, before they can use it in their fullest. And the School for Ministry is going to help people who are called to ordained ministry, but also lay people who are called to serve in particular ways in our church and beyond.

I'm very excited about it. The first sessions are open to people who have already been in this process, and who are doing some work along the lines of preparing to get ready to serve in their parishes, either as ordained people, or as people who are licensed to serve in a parish.

So, keep your eyes open. There will be an opportunity for you to learn more about the School for Ministry. There's information in this publication of The VOICE this week, but there will be more information coming. And, keep your eyes open for people around you. If you've got a friend who you think could potentially be a good preacher, tell them, "You should go take that class." If you have a friend who you think would be a good worship leader, tell them, "There's a class for you." Encourage each other, to learn more about how you can serve God and serve God's people in the church and beyond the church.

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