EFM: Education for Ministry, New Zealand
Testimonies
 

Hi my name is Nigel and I worship at St Luke’s Church, Havelock North. I am married with three adult children and work as a school teacher.

 

I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the last 4 years study “Education for Ministry”. I would recommend EfM to anyone wanting to explore their faith and Christian ministry. It has provided an excellent opportunity to study the Old and New Testaments, Church history and a host of related social and ethical issues. This is done with a group of people – the group dynamic is essential to this study. Each member of the group is different but we have learned to work together and trust each other as we have struggled to form clearer theological understandings of the world and our places in it.

 

Of the many things I have personally gained from this course I most value the increased confidence it has given me to openly discuss theological ideas. Now, instead of remaining silent for fear of saying “the wrong thing”, I have the courage to express my doubts, misunderstandings and insights. This can happen at work, clubs, church and with friends and family. It is not that I now know the answers but I do know a lot more questions!

 

I have also developed a healthier respect for people who differ from me in their understanding.

 

From a recent meeting - “Jesus does not call us to a new religion but to new life” – Discuss

 
 
 

Kia ora koutou katoa,

Nga mihi aroha ki a koutou!

I’m Allana from St Augustine’s, Napier.

 

Nearly four years ago I embarked on a journey – an EfM journey. What it was and where we were going was anyone’s guess… but I tagged along anyway and we have now reached the end… more correctly another beginning. Back then, at the other beginning, I was the chaplain at a girls’ school and a theological study course seemed to be just the ticket for a lay minister. Now I realize it is more than a course; it is a way of living and of bringing your faith and praxis under a regular set of microscopes – yours and God’s and others’.

 

Some highlights for me are the regular meetings with a small group of real people – not theologians in the strictest sense, but willing to delve into God’s word and explore his character. Another would be the resources – guided studies which should be read, pondered, grappled with and considered seriously. A huge body of scholarship lies behind this program for which we must be grateful. There is an especially sensitive section relating to the New Zealand faith heritage which is bound to cause animated discussion and /or the desire to journey further. Now at this journey’s end, we do start a new beginning.

 

Noho ora mai.

 
 
 

Greetings,

I am Brian from St Luke’s Church in Havelock North. I am an Englishman, married for five years to a local Kiwi and residing permanently now in New Zealand. As I draw near the end of our four year EfM group study, I sense that it has given me a more in-depth understanding and articulation of my Christian faith, its history and its ongoing witness in the world with respect to the many complicated issues we now face. I believe that the course has helped me develop a more confident and informed voice that can hopefully be heard in the increasingly chaotic and complex environments in which people live and work today.

 

The theological education and study guides are excellent but the real blessing has come from our particular unique group dynamic. We learned to humbly listen and learn from each others’ stories and experiences, all very different people, and realise how we can, with God’s Grace, learn to be one “church family” and accept as part of the body those with a different understanding and expression of our shared Christian faith.

 

During our time together we mourned the sad death of one of our founding co-mentors the Rev. Wendy Harris, celebrated the ordination into the clergy of the Rev. Frank Fillary and witnessed to and encouraged each other with love and prayer through many ups and downs as our own particular individual ministries and callings unfolded.

 

I believe that this programme brings hope, optimism and light to those whom God calls to it and would encourage all those wishing to explore and grow in their Christian faith to look at joining, or even starting and mentoring, a local group.

 
 
 

Hello. My name is Anne and for the last few years I have been worshipping at All Saints in Taradale. I am a nurse working with elderly people.

 

My EfM started 4 years ago with a decision that I would attend for one year. The night of the meetings conflicted with another interest I have, rehearsal night for band practice. Unsurprisingly I did continue my journey through the folders.

 

I have a problem in that I find it difficult to discipline myself to daily study, Bible readings and knowing that you are meeting people to discuss the readings on a regular basis is a good incentive to work. I took up this study for the knowledge it would give me and not because I feel a call to any ministry.

 

Working in a group and listening to other perspectives gives more insight into readings and ideas being discussed. The group I have been in has been amazing, the encouragement to present your own ideas is always there, and the change and growth in all of us is obvious as we explore our own beliefs and others. You don’t have to agree with others viewpoints, but to listen, understand and to challenge your belief in is one step to growing.

 

My faith is always with me, I have more words, confidence and strength to express it.

 

My journey continues

 
 
 

Hi my name is Frank and I worship at St Andrew’s Anglican Community Church, Westshore. St Andrew’s is a Locally Shared Ministry Parish.

 

I enrolled in the EfM course after encouragement by one of our priests. I had been sensing something of a call to the Ministry which seemed so unlikely to be genuine, that I had been ignoring it. The opportunity to reflect which EfM afforded, further shaped my sense of call, and it was the words of our recently deceased co-mentor, Rev Wendy Harris, that drove me forward. And what were her words? “Just get on with it. That way you’ll soon know if it’s right or not!” I have learned that indecision is often best dealt with in that way

 

I have now been ordained as a priest for just under a year, and I doubt I would have reached this point without the EfM input. The group encouragement and support played a major part in the process, and the last 4 challenging years have provided me a sound basis for my work. Essentially, EfM has made me feel safe.

 

The course materials provide in-depth studies of the Old and New Testament, Church history and theology, and the group interaction was really important as we struggled to make sense of our studies and apply them to our lives.

 

As I complete the final month of the course, I feel well able to undertake my work as a priest, and would highly recommend EfM to anyone who wishes to explore their faith and discover or develop their ministry.

 
 
 

Greetings fellow pilgrims,

My name is Roslynn and I worship at All Saints Church Taradale. Education for Ministry came at the right time for me, providing the opportunity to explore my faith at a much deeper level and also alongside fellow pilgrims.

 

The dynamic of our group was great with the varied differing backgrounds we each had, and with that difference – providing wonderful discussions on the chapter readings, interpretation of biblical passages and the worship we all took turns in leading. EfM is a fantastic resource in that it brings a greater understanding and perspective of the New Testament through the studying of the Old Testament. Another most valuable tool that EfM has given me is the Theological Reflections we did. How everyday situations can give an opportunity to reflect upon in a theological fashion. Giving insights about God, the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Scriptures, and more importantly, how can I be a better Christian in my journey of faith.

 

I highly recommend EfM to anyone -young or old - who wishes to embark on a four year journey through this study program. Enlightenment is guaranteed!!

 

 

 

The above content is courtesy of the Waiapu Diocesan website