Rather than the traditional three years of training at seminary school, the diocese in New Hampshire will begin offering a certificate program next year that requires students to attend in-person trainings nine weekends a year while completing coursework independently from their homes.
“This really makes it easier for people to answer that call, whether that call to ministry comes in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, we even have people doing this post-retirement,” says Tina Pickering, who works in ministry development for the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire.
… Along with nine weekends a year of in-person training at the Episcopal Church in Tilton, students will complete curriculum online provided in part by the Iona Center at the Seminary of the Southwest. Pickering says approximately two-dozen other dioceses offer similar programs, though this is believed to be the first in northern New England.
Upon completion of the three-year program, priests will be expected to work at congregations in New Hampshire. The church aims to enroll between five and ten students next fall, and in the future will roll out programs for lay ministers.
Several similar programs already exist, such as the School of Theology in the Diocese of Northern Indiana, the Phoebe School for Deacons in Virginia, the Iona School, the ACTS program at the School of Theology at Sewanee, and low-residency MDiv programs at Church Divinity School of the Pacific and Bexley-Seabury.
photo credit: New Hampshire Public Radio