The Rev. Dr. John Lewis said the IONA Collaborative is “an exciting, innovative program that offers an alternative to people training for ordination in the episcopal Church.”
As theological education changes, as well as the changing economics of education, a variety of new forms of receiving education are emerging. The IONA School for Ministry formed in the Diocese of Texas, educating bi-vocational clergy who met at Camp Allen one weekend a month, for ten months a year, with additional remote curriculum.
The curriculum includes 250 hours of teachings that other dioceses can now access locally. The Diocese of West Texas became one of the seven founding dioceses of the IONA Collaborative, so seminarians needing this type of theological education – at the local level – could access the material from home.
The IONA Collaborative has an “extensive depth and breadth” of curriculum, said Lewis, all approved for training in the Episcopal Church. “We currently have 150 students in 24 dioceses around the country.” In the spring 2018, the IONA Collaborative will have accredited CPE training (Clinical Pastoral Education), and will soon have training for lay chaplains.
“The IONA Collaborative will make an incredible impact on theological education and the spread of the Gospel in the 21st century,” said Lewis.
Hear Lewis’ report here:
Dean of the Diocese of West Texas IONA Collaborative, the Rev. John Badders, said the program began in our diocese last September with six students. “It is a three-year program, and we meet together one weekend a month in San Antonio.”
At the monthly gatherings, students hear from engaging mentors during nine to ten hours of class time per day. They participate in liturgical time together, participating in orders of service and preaching. During the weeks they complete the online teachings and course work remotely.
“It’s been my joy to walk with these students the past few months. They are a wonderful group of people,” said Badders.
The current students are: John Blackburn from St. Philip’s, Uvalde; Mikel Brightman from St. David’s, San Antonio; Dexter Lesieur from St. Matthias, Devine; Karen Morris from St. Stephen’s, Wimberley; Arnoldo Ramiro from St. James, Del Rio; and Betsy Stephenson from St. Luke’s, Cypress Mill.
Hear Badders’ introduction of the seminarians here: