by Jeremy Sierra
“It’s been a long journey but very fulfilling,” said Trinity parishioner Pearl Chin, one of six graduates of the Education for Ministry (EfM) program. “I’m going to miss my fellow classmates.”
She and the other graduates, along with about 60 friends and family members, gathered in Trinity’s parish hall in June to celebrate completing the program. EfM is a four-year course developed by Sewanee University. Participants meet once a week to study the Bible, theology, and church history while engaging in theological reflection and discussion. Trinity offers two classes a week as well as an online course.
“You can never know enough about your faith,” said Trinity parishioner Cynthia Moten, another graduate. She was busy setting out dinner for those gathered to celebrate.
Before dinner Chaplain Dr. George Finger spoke about EfM. “It’s a seminary-type program that teaches and helps lay people discover their place in the ministry and mission of God in the world.”
Dr. Finger leads Trinity’s EfM program, along with his wife, Barbara Reig. Reig completed the course last year, though she was celebrating on Monday along with the other graduates. “It’s about forming yourself in terms of your own belief,” she said. It also gives participants a chance to talk honestly about their doubts, she added.
“We laughed together, had our arguments together, brought our heavy hearts and cried together,” said Jacqueline Sanchez-Shabazz. “It really strengthened us.”
Sanchez-Shabazz, who is a member of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, was brimming with enthusiasm for her work as a lay Eucharistic minister, and soon, she hopes, as a Deacon.
“Everybody is born with a ministry,” she said, “but not everyone finds it.” EfM helped her find her ministry, she said.
Han Huang, a Trinity parishioner, was busy with a full-time job and raising a newborn while taking the course, but found he was able to manage fairly easily. “It’s really wonderful that Trinity presents this platform,” he said.
Huang was grateful to Trinity for bringing a diverse group of people together. He said they challenged him and broadened his views of what it means to be a Christian.
Ula Nell Barack started the course shortly after she became a Christian. “Learning from each other was a very valuable experience,” she said.
Trinity will offer courses again next year. For more information, contact Chaplain Dr. George Finger at email@example.com or 917.886.5986.