Lay Ministry Certificates

Interested In Exploring Lay Ministries?

All Christians are called to love and serve others.  For some that takes the form of ordained ministry as an Episcopal Priest or as an Episcopal Deacon.  For others there are a variety of ministries of the people in our dioceses, our parishes, or our communities.  However, there are a distinctive set of ministries, provided for by our church’s canon law, that require training and licensure by our Bishop.  Preparation in the Stevenson School does not obligate the Bishop to grant a license, but rather provides a quality education experience that will form you spiritually and intellectually for the work.

 

Prerequisites for all Lay Ministry SSFM Certificates:
  • Be a confirmed communicant in good standing of one of our parishes.
  • Complete the Becoming the Beloved Community course.
  • Possess a current certification in Safeguarding God’s Children and Safeguarding God’s People.

 

Application Process:

To apply for any of these certification tracks, please send an email to either Dean Robyn Szoke-Coolidge, rszoke@diocesecpa.org or Associate Dean Michael Nailor, mnailor@diocesecpa.org.

Canon Law

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CANON LAW REGARDING LAY MINISTRIES

CANON 4: OF LICENSED MINISTRIES

Sec. 1(a) A confirmed communicant in good standing, or, in extraordinary circumstances, subject to guidelines established by the Bishop, a communicant in good standing, may be licensed by the Ecclesiastical Authority to serve as Pastoral Leader, Worship Leader, Preacher, Eucharistic Minister, Eucharistic Visitor, or Catechist.  Requirements and guidelines for the selection, training, continuing education, and deployment of such persons, and the duration of licenses shall be established by the Bishop in consultation with the Commission on Ministry.

Sec. 2(a) The Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith may request the Ecclesiastical Authority with jurisdiction to license persons within that congregation or other community of faith to exercise such ministries. The license shall be issued for a period of time to be determined under Canon II.4.1(a) and may be renewed.  The license may be revoked by the Ecclesiastical Authority upon request of or upon notice to the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith.

Sec. 2(b) In renewing the license, the Ecclesiastical Authority shall consider the performance of the ministry by the person licensed, continuing education in the licensed area, and the endorsement of the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith in which the person is serving.

Certificate Descriptions

  • Preacher
  • Catechist
  • Worship Leader
  • Evangelist
  • Social Justice Missioner

Lay Preacher Certificate

A lay preacher is to be trained, examined, and found competent in the Holy Scriptures, the BCP and The Hymnal, the conduct of public worship, use of the voice, church history, Christian ethics and moral theology, the church’s doctrine as set forth in the creeds and An Outline of the Faith (BCP, pp. 845-862), and homiletics. A licensed lay preacher is to preach only upon the initiative and under the supervision of the member of the clergy in charge. 

Course requirements and suggestions: 

  • Anglican Approaches to Ministry (suggested)
  • Introduction to Hebrew Scriptures (required)
  • Introduction to New Testament (required)
  • Prayer Book Studies 1 (required)
  • Homiletics 1 (required)
  • Continuing education in scripture study (suggested)
  • Continuing education in spiritual practices (suggested)

Lay Catechist Certificate

 A lay catechist is authorized to prepare persons for Baptism, Confirmation, Reception, and the Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows and shall function under the direction of a Member of the Clergy.

Course requirements and suggestions:

  • Intro to Hebrew Scriptures (required)
  • Intro to New Testament (required)
  • Church History 2:  The Episcopal Church (required)
  • Prayer Book Studies 1 (required)
  • Teaching Ministry (required or see Vibrant Faith option below)
  • Continuing education in spiritual practices (suggested)
  • Continuing education from MasterClasses of John Roberto in the Vibrant Faith program (suggested)

Lay Worship Leader Certificate

A Lay Worship Leader is a lay person who regularly leads public worship under the direction of the Member of Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith. 

Course requirements and suggestions:

  • Anglican Approaches to Ministry (suggested)
  • Introduction to Hebrew Scriptures (required)
  • Introduction to New Testament (required)
  • Prayer Book Studies 1 (required)
  • Continuing education in scripture study (suggested)
  • Continuing education in spiritual practices (suggested)

 

 

Recommended Current Courses

Lay Evangelist Certificate

A Lay Evangelist is a lay person who presents the good news of Jesus Christ in such a way that people are led to receive Christ as savior and follow Christ as Lord in the fellowship of the Church. An Evangelist assists with the community’s ministry of evangelism in partnership with a Member of the Clergy.

Course requirements and suggestions:

  • Message of Mission course (required)
  • Living Evangelism module (required)
  • Holy Listening module (required)
  • Ways to Pray module (suggested)
  • Ways to Share our Stories module (suggested)

Lay Social Justice Missioner Certificate

Consider the Need

The Episcopal Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, noted at a recent executive council meeting that church wide we are expanding and deepening our ongoing work of racial justice and reconciliation.

Along with his staff, he has initiated a churchwide effort for truth and reconciliation. There are great resources, such as Sacred Ground, as well as the discoveries from the racial justice audit of Episcopal Church Leadership that are guides to the formation work, we need to do. 

what is the Social Justice Missioner Certificate?

A systematic approach to engage the fundamental issues at the heart of racial justice. This certificate is designed for anyone with an interest in challenging racism at a structural or systemic level within the church and community. You do not have to be in a specific leadership role in order to benefit from the content offered.

Develop a Learning plan

This certificate offers a self-structured learning approach where each student is invited to work with the Dean of SSFM to put together a learning plan that considers previous experiences, training, and courses of study.  SSFM offers a sequence of courses and modules to choose from that includes offerings through Lower Susquehanna Synod-ELCA through their Justice Academy and resources from The Episcopal Church.

Each participant is invited to prayerfully develop their own learning plan.  Specifically: Name your goals, or name exactly what you want to learn.

Meeting The Requirements

Build a learning plan that includes:

  • Racial Justice Values and Vision
  • Key Concepts: Different Dimensions of Racism / Structural Racism
  • Implicit Bias and Systems Analysis
  • Opportunities to Advance Racial Justice


Completion of SJM Certificate

Minimum of 6 courses, 4 webinars / learning weekends / and an opportunity to put learning into practice.

Through this course of study, you will discover:

  1. Frameworks and models to unravel the dynamics of race and racism
  2. The opportunity to practice behaviors that can help develop capacities needed to lead from a more conclusive orientation.
  3. Cultural competency through the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), which is the premiere cross-culturally valid assessment for building cultural competence.
  4. How to lead with inclusive and racially-just leadership practices.
  5. How to engage in racial dialogue where dignity is centered as a non-negotiable tenet.
  6. Develop an intersectional “systems map” that identifies the barriers to equity present within the church and community.
  7. Identifying the historical and modern leadership approaches used by racial justice activists.
  8. How to create an action plan which demonstrates my understanding of the structural nature of racism and exclusion. 

Available Courses