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. This will differ within each diocese. They must have permission from their rector and vestry/Bishop’s Committee. They should also have completed physical and psychological exams and be approved by their respective Commissions on Ministry.

To seek enrollment in the Province I School for Deacons, each student should work with their Diocesan Formation Director, Archdeacon or COM. The Rev. Molly James, PhD, the Dean of Formation in CT who oversees the School, will be contacted and 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 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 
  • online courses in Community Organizing and retreat on the Deacon as Community Organizer
  • online courses in Liturgics and retreat on the Deacon in the Liturgy
  • online courses in Ethics and retreat on Integrating Ethics in the Diaconate
  • online courses in Spirituality and Self Care and retreat on Maintaining a Vibrant Spiritual Life

The School for Deacons will also include field education in a parish or community setting, Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) or an alternative, safe church training, cultural competency and anti-racism training, Title IV and mandated reporting training, and a capstone project/portfolio as mandated by each Diocese. The participants will lead worship (the daily office) during the retreats and give homilies 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 population of the School generally consists of people from Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Western Massachusetts. The faculty consists of two priests and two deacons. A scholar in each specific topic leads the online courses. Occasionally, a guest speaker will be part of the weekend retreats. The bishops of each diocese 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. This is usually shared in thirds via 1/3 student, 1/3 parish, and 1/3 diocese.

For questions or more information, please contact Molly James (