EfM offers 4 distinct years of Christian studies. Participants only need to commit to a year at a time. Since the Diocese of Newark supports EfM, the annual tuition for each and every Participant in the Diocese is reduced from $475 to just $375
The first year is a comprehensive study of the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament). If you've tried to read the Old Testament and been confused by the repetition, overwhelmed by the begats, and the complex rules, if you've realized that you don't really understand meaning and cultural context of documents written 6,000 years ago, then EfM is for you. Understanding the Jewish Scriptures will greatly enrich your understanding of Jesus and of our Jewish heritage.
EfM's second year focuses on the New Testament. Instead of just hearing Jesus say important and profound things, we get to know him—Mark's Christ who shatters the forces of evil; Matthew's Teacher of a God's wisdom; Luke's vision of the One who lives and dies for others; and John's God-Incarnate who shows us how to be truly human. We study Paul’s writings to understand his struggle to proclaim the Jewish Messiah in terms that the Greco-Roman world could grasp just as we struggle to understand and proclaim Christ who lived and taught in a different time and place to the modern world.
In our third year, we learn how the Church throughout the world and over the ages has endeavored to understand and serve God in its own day. As we move from a small persecuted band of rebels to being the official and only Church of the Roman Empire: How do we welcome and incorporate the floods of new and minimally committed members our official status brings? Then in the Dark Ages, how do we convert barbarians into trusting the One who told us to turn the other cheek? Then in the Middle Ages, we struggle with the balance between religion and culture—who's supreme Emperor or Pope? In the Reformation of the 1500s, what's the basis of Christianity the Community of Faith or the Bible? Then how do we live with faith and science? Then how do we bring Christ to other cultures?
And, in the fourth year, you'll focus on current issues and understanding of our Christian calling —exploring how different thinkers, denominations, and other great religions seek to know, understand, and serve God in the the present age. In today’s world, we take a look at how we relate to and understand other religions in our midst.
EfM is not a class with lectures but a seminar, a one-room school house, in which participants discuss, question, and learn from one another and from each other's readings, guided by a mentor/facilitator. We're trained to take what we've learned and studied, and our experiences, and reflect on them in a theological way to bring together our understanding of scripture and our life experiences. Many folks come to EfM for in-depth Bible study, but find that growing together in faith and friendship is the most valuable part of their EfM journey.