Education for Ministry receives Luce grant for Latino program

January 30, 2013

[Sewanee Press Release] The School of Theology is pleased to announce the receipt of a special grant of $40,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation’s theology program to support the creation of a Latino/Hispanic version of its international Education for Ministry (EfM) program.

“I am pleased and grateful that the Luce Foundation is providing us the opportunity to begin developing the Spanish language materials for EfM,” stated Karen Meridith, director of EfM. “We waited to do the Spanish version until we were well along in the development of the new English curriculum, upon which the Spanish version will be based.”

The Spanish texts will not be translations but will be written by native Spanish speakers from across a wide range of Latino/Hispanic cultures and modeled on the English texts. This funding will cover the first phase of the production of the new Spanish curriculum that is projected to be available in the fall of 2014, right on the heels of the release of the new English texts.

The writing team will prepare the first volume of the EfM core texts in Spanish to be used with a standard Spanish–language theological text on the Hebrew Bible. They will use the English-language core text as a guide, adapting language and concepts as necessary to convey the essentials of the EfM program in a culturally appropriate way.

Meridith will work with the Rev. Canon Anthony Guillén, missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries for the Episcopal Church, to assemble the team of writers and pilot the materials in congregations in both the U.S. and in Province IX over the next several years.

“The collaboration between EfM and the Office of Latino/Hispanic Ministries has been instrumental as we continue moving forward in the creation of this much needed resource,” stated Guillén. “This collaboration demonstrates that the time has finally arrived where the Church has grown from offering translations of materials to creating original materials in Spanish that are culturally relevant. It is my hope that this initiative will serve as an inspiration and encouragement to other constituencies of the Church in producing Latino/Hispanic resources.”

A Latino/Hispanic version of EfM has been under development through intentional conversation and study by Meridith and Guillén as a response to the 2009 strategic vision of the Episcopal Church. It was included in the 2012 strategic plan for The School of Theology.

“EfM has been important to the formation of laity in the Church for more than a generation but its impact among our Latino members has been minimal because of the lack of materials in Spanish,” explained the Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, dean of The School of Theology. “The Luce grant will make it possible for us to begin the process of getting these wonderful materials in the hands of our Latino brothers and sisters.”

Education for Ministry is a unique experiential theological education program for laity under the auspices of the Programs Center of The School of Theology. Since its founding in 1975, the program has assisted more than 75,000 students discover how to respond to the call of Christian service. EfM groups are sponsored by 90 of the 110 dioceses of the Episcopal Church, as well as in international sites in Canada, the United Kingdom and Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Botswana, and the Bahamas.