The school was started in 2007 in response to the need for spiritual growth and education for laity. Pr. Ted Asta, Associate to the Bishop, and Pr. Nancy Eldredge-Hess, Director of Camp Calumet led the Board of School of Lay Ministry in developing the two year program that now exists in the New England Synod.
This programs consists of two years, one year is focused on Lutheran theology and confessional heritage, church history, world religions and current ministry issues. The other year studies include the Old and New Testaments, biblical studies, leadership and the arts of ministry. Each year there are two mandatory retreats, one in the fall and one in the spring, featuring quality classroom time with guest teachers, worship and wonderful times for fellowship.
Study groups are established for the year, typically at the fall retreat, with other school participants. These study groups view assigned videos, read and discuss assigned texts from course materials, and learn by peer mentoring. Participants may meet either in person or virtually.
There are no papers or tests. This is all intended for personal enrichment. Students find that their participation in the school better prepares them for ministry in their own congregations and communities. This is the beauty of this program of study; people grow more deeply in their faith, people feel more confident in their ability to be leaders in their churches and congregations are revitalized.
The School of Lay Ministry is a way for people to return to God through study. It is also a wonderful vehicle for the Spirit to come to them through the expansion of their imaginations, the stirring of their hearts and the enlightenment of their minds.