The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut

Collaborative Deacon Formation Program

Overview of Province I School for Deacons

Aspirants/Nominees should have finished a period of vigorous discernment with their sponsoring diocese. This will differ within each diocese. In Province I, they must have permission from their rector or priest in charge and vestry/Bishop's Committee to attend the School. They should also have completed physical and psychological exams and be approved by their respective Commissions on Ministry and their Bishops.

To seek enrollment in the Province I School for Deacons, each student should work with their Diocesan Formation Director, Archdeacon or Commission on Ministry (COM). The Rev. Dr. Lynda Tyson, Dean of the Province I School for Deacons, will be contacted by the appropriate link from the diocese and will then be in touch directly with the prospective student.

Province I School for Deacons is  a two-year deacon formation program with a pattern of two month-long courses that include reading assignments, written papers, online lectures & conversations followed by a quarterly Formation Weekend retreat. The cycle will be:

  • online courses in Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament followed by retreat on the prophetic voice of the deacon
  • online courses in Theology and retreat on the theology of the diaconate, 
  • online courses in Church History and Anglican Tradition and retreat on the Anglican diaconate through history and the polity of the Episcopal Church
  • online courses in Faith-Rooted Organizing and retreat on the Deacon as community organizer
  • online courses in Liturgics and retreat on the Deacon in the liturgy
  • online courses in Homiletics and retreat on the Deacon in the pulpit, parish, and world
  • online courses in Ethics and retreat on integrating ethics in the Diaconate
  • online courses in World Religions and Spirituality and a retreat on maintaining a vibrant spiritual life

Each of the school's six collaborating dioceses may offer or require field education in a parish or community setting, Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) or an alternative, safe church training, cultural competency and anti-discrimination training, additional Title IV and mandated reporting training, and a capstone project/portfolio. The participants will lead worship (the daily office) during the retreats including preaching a homily when officiating. The sermon at Sunday Eucharist will be given by a student. Ample feedback is provided on leading worship and preaching.

Time for evaluation of each segment of study is given at the end of each retreat. Individual dioceses will also have time to meet together, as needed, for questions and information specific to that diocese.

The student population of the School generally consists of Deacons-in-formation from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Western Massachusetts. Faculty consists of the Dean assisted by two Archdeacon co-facilitators and scholar-lecturers in each of the online courses. Occasionally, a guest speaker will be part of the weekend retreats. The bishops of each diocese may attend a portion of some weekends to lend their support and to cast their vision of the diaconate.

The cost for the program is $2,000/year. Individual dioceses may offer scholarship funds for tuition-sharing by the student, sponsoring parish, and diocese.

For questions or more information, please contact Lynda Tyson (dean.deaconformation@province1.org).