The Episcopal tradition calls every baptized person into ministry, responding to God’s love by living out Christ’s ministry of reconciliation. Our Prayer Book describes four orders of ministry — lay people, deacons, priests, and bishops. Some are called to offer their particular gifts in the role of deacon or priest. Deacons and priests take vows and receive the laying on of hands from their bishop at ordination, in recognition of the particular Spirit-given gifts that call them to those roles, the formation they have undertaken to develop those gifts, and the authorization of the Church to use them in the name of Christ.
After an outcome of discernment is reached, formation in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota includes coursework and participation in a formation cohort.
Formation means more than acquiring information by taking classes and reading books; it’s about the work of the Holy Spirit integrating the knowledge and skills for ministry with your heart and soul, so that your ministry comes from your deepest self, grounded in relationships with God and others. To that end, the ECMN School for Formation offers a series of courses in preparation for the diaconate and the priesthood.
Often people who already have previous graduate work in theology discern for ordained roles, or postulants decide to enroll in local non-Episcopal seminaries. In those cases, an individual might be exempted from some courses in the School for Formation. All those in formation for ordained roles take some of the courses in the School for Formation.
Alongside taking courses, after being admitted to postulancy, those in formation for Holy Orders meet with others in their formation cohort one Friday night a month at the ECMN Retreat Center in Faribault. These cohort gatherings offer the opportunity to engage the soft skills of being a deacon or priest, and to build relationships with others on this journey that can last well beyond ordination – a key practice for healthy clergy.
Cohort gatherings take place at the ECMN Retreat Center at Shattuck, St. Mary’s in Faribault and at the Episcopal House of Prayer in Collegeville. Each gathering includes worship, conversation, reflection, and colloquy discussions.
Gatherings begin at 7pm and conclude by 10pm. Overnight stays at the ECMN Retreat Center, including breakfast, are available for cohort members at minimal cost.
In 2016-17, cohorts will meet at the following dates and locations:
- Friday, September 9 (new cohorts will stay through Sunday morning, Sept 11 for a retreat): Episcopal House of Prayer, Collegeville
- Friday, September 30: ECMN Retreat Center, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, Faribault
- Friday, November 4: ECMN Retreat Center, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, Faribault
- Friday, December 2: ECMN Retreat Center, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, Faribault
- Friday, January 13: ECMN Retreat Center, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, Faribault
- Friday, February 3: ECMN Retreat Center, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, Faribault
- Friday, March 3: Episcopal House of Prayer, Collegeville
- Friday, March 31: ECMN Retreat Center, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, Faribault
- Friday, May 5: Episcopal House of Prayer, Collegeville
In the first year cohort, participants take a deep dive into key aspects of the identity of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, as well as the history and development of the diaconate.
In the second year cohort, participants reflect theologically on each other’s experiences in internships. Focusing on leadership and conflict styles, participants practice holding space for their own growth, questions, and personal integration of the role of deacon.
The Rev. Janet MacNally serves at St. Christopher’s in Roseville.
The Rev. Rex McKee serves at St. Mary’s, St. Paul.
The Rev. Eileen Harvala is a deacon serving St. George’s Episcopal Church in St. Louis Park. She was ordained in June 2013. Her passions include prayers, liturgy, mission, and helping others discern their ministries. She is the communications coordinator for the Department of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota with an extensive background in all areas of communications/public relations. With a Master of Public Affairs from the Humphrey School, her background also includes public policy advocacy. She is the proud grandmother to four cherished grandchildren.
The Rev. George Ham serves at St. John’s in St. Cloud.
In the first year cohort, participants build a practice of reading Scripture together, sharing their spiritual journeys, and engaging key elements of the identity of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota.
In the second/third year cohort, participants reflect theologically on each other’s experiences in internships. Focusing on leadership and conflict styles, participants practice holding space for their own growth, questions, and personal integration of the role of priest.
The Very Rev. Justin P. Chapman is dean of the Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour in Fairbault. A two-time lay deputy to General Convention, since being ordained in 2008 Justin has served faith communities in southeastern Minnesota. He is particularly interested in thinking about scripture through a social-science lens and the intersection of religion and culture. When not working, he can be found rock climbing and trail running ridiculous distances.
The Rev. Joanie Delamater is a free agent for God priest who enjoys journeying with others in discerning how to live out their baptismal covenant. She is a Healing Touch practitioner, House of Prayer board member, avid snow skier, boater, painter & plays the Celtic harp.
The Rev. Susan Daughtry serves as the ECMN Missioner for Formation. Ordained to the priesthood in 2007, she has served in faith communities in Virginia and in Minnesota, as well as in school and camp settings.
The Rev. Tom Gehlsen has a deep and rich background in education and parish ministry. For the past 13 years he has been involved in deployment and transition ministry in Iowa & Minnesota. He loves walking journeys and mentoring with those in the process to ordination.