Why a School for Ministry in the Diocese of Long Island?
The Diocese of Long Island School for Ministry has been established to provide education and formation for ordination under the auspices of the George Mercer Jr. Memorial School of Theology. The School prepares men and women to serve as vocational deacons. The School for Ministry also prepares second-career students for service as priests. In this work the School for Ministry stands in the heritage of the Mercer School of Theology, founded in 1955 with its original aim being the training of candidates for priesthood in non-residential setting.
Our Structure and Program
Members of the School, faculty and students, constitute a formation community. Members join together regularly throughout the calendar year for periods of academic pursuit, prayer and shared conversation.
- Academic preparation takes place by participation in 6-week modules. The modules provide exploration of the requisite areas of learning called for by the relevant canons. In addition, other modules provide opportunity for further learning in related areas that will be of service in ordained ministry.
- Each module includes six meetings. The first and the last are held in-person. The remaining four meetings take place online, either synchronously or asynchronously, as determined by the instructor.
Three times per year the School gathers for an overnight. This time together embraces special academic work and enrichment in spirituality.
Coursework is intended to cover the canonical areas of learning required for deacons and priests, respectively. Candidates for diaconate and priesthood prepare separately academically. In terms of formation activities both groups interact as one.
Each School for Ministry student prepares over the course of studies an online portfolio that showcases their academic and field education work during their time as members of the School. Written coursework and papers, assessments from Field Education Supervisors, as well as assessments on coursework from each faculty member at the conclusion of a given course will be included in each student’s portfolio. This portfolio is available to be shared with faculty, the Commission on Ministry, members of the Standing Committee, and the Bishop of the Diocese of Long Island as appropriate. The online portfolio is created at the beginning of a student’s course of studies in the School for Ministry and develops throughout the student’s tenure at the School.
School for Ministry Faculty
F.W. (Ted) Gerbracht
Ted has taught the history of Christianity at the Mercer School since 2007. His special interest is the Anglican emphasis on the value and importance of the apostolic tradition through the various reform movements in English and North American Episcopal Church history. His research and teaching also focuses on the development of institutional and popular Christianity in the early Middle Ages. He earned a Ph. D. in history at New York University, and also holds masters degrees in history/political science and Asian history. In the Diocese of Long Island, Ted has served as Treasurer of Diocesan Convention, 1990-2000; Historiographer, 1997-2000; and member of Diocesan Council, 1981-2000. He was also Trustee and Treasurer, General Theological Seminary, 2000–2009, and was Chief Academic Officer at the seminary 2009–2010. Ted is a member of the American Historical Association, American Society of Church History, and the North American Patristics Society. He is a member of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church, and served as its Treasurer and as a member of its Executive Committee, 2003-2009. In 2012 he was elected by the House of Bishops to a six-year term on the General Board of Examining Chaplains, and currently serves as Vice President of the Trustees of the Estate Belonging to the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.
The Reverend Bruce Griffith Th.D, currently serves as the Interim Priest at the Church of Saint Luke and Saint Matthew in Brooklyn. He lectures in Theology at Mercer School.
The Rev. Dr. Michael Hull is the Director of Studies and a Tutor in Biblical Studies at the Scottish Episcopal Institute in Edinburgh. He also serves as an Assistant Priest at St Vincent's Chapel Edinburgh. He teaches at Mercer via distance learning.
Jason teaches Patristics at Mercer. He also teaches Humanities at The Stony Brook School and serves as Assistant Editor of Participatio: The Journal of the Thomas F. Torrance Theological Fellowship. Jason has experience in various ministry settings, including serving as a Director of Youth Ministries in a parish. Prior to his arrival at Mercer, Jason was Tutor in Divinity at New College, University of Edinburgh where he taught ordinands in the Scottish Episcopal Church. With a B.A. from Geneva College, an M.A. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from The University of Edinburgh, Jason's area of specialty is Theology, particularly Patristic Theology and its reception since the Reformation. Jason's first book, Thomas F. Torrance and the Church Fathers, was published by Wipf & Stock in 2014. He has published various articles in Evangelical Quarterly, Theology in Scotland, and The Expository Times as well as contributed essays to Studia Patristica LXIX (Peeters, 2013), The Holy Trinity Revisited (Paternoster, 2015), and T. F. Torrance and Eastern Orthodoxy (Wipf & Stock, 2015). He is currently writing a book on the Reformed-Orthodox Ecumenical Dialogue of the late 20th century and co-editing a book on T. F. Torrance's theological influences, both forthcoming with Wipf & Stock. Jason is a member of The North American Patristics Society, The T. F. Torrance Theological Fellowship,The Evangelical Theological Society, The American Academy of Religion, and The Society for the Study of Theology. He is especially passionate about the way in which Christology, the Doctrine of the Trinity, and the Church Fathers can influence diaconal and presbyterial ministry today.
The Reverend Michael Sniffen is Dean of the Cathedral of the Incarnation of the Diocese of Long Island, located in Garden City (NY).
Raewynne Whiteley is Rector of St James, St James, Dean of the Northern Suffolk Deanery, and Canon Theologian of the Diocese. She holds a PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary in Practical Theology (Homiletics), and also has particular interests in Church History, Theology, Liturgy, and Spirituality. She was ordained in Australia in 1996, and throughout her ordained ministry, has combined parish and academic work, having taught homiletics, theology, and women's studies, and mentored a number of students in the ordination process. Her book, Steeped in the Holy: Preaching as Spiritual Practice seeks to explore the practice of preaching from an Anglican perspective, relating it to other dimensions of the spiritual life. She also co-edited Get Up Off You Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog, and convenes the History working group of the Academy of Homiletics. Her passion for education and formation extends beyond the walls of the church: she is also a certified ski instructor, with a specialty in working with children.
New Mercer School for Ministry Faculty (Fall 2016)
Steven D. Paulikas
The Rev. Steven D. Paulikas is rector of All Saints' Church, an historic Episcopal parish in Park Slope. His doctoral research in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Oxford focuses on evil in the writings of the late 20th century philosopher and theologian Paul Ricoeur. He serves on the core team of the Commission on Ministry of the Diocese of Long Island, is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and sits on the Board of Governors of the Episcopal Church at Yale. Prior to ordination, Fr. Paulikas worked as a journalist in Eastern Europe, where he reported for the BBC, NPR, Newsweek, The Independent, and others. He received his M.Div. from the General Theological Seminary, an M.Phil. European Literature from the University of Cambridge, and his B.A. from Yale University. He is married to Jesse Lazar.
Jay R. Feld
Jay R. Feld is a graduate of Rutgers College (BA, 1977; MA, 1986), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1990) and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min., 2004). In 2006 he completed the Marriage & Family Therapy Intensive Program at Blanton-Peale Graduate Institute in New York City.
In his counseling practice Dr. Feld promotes recovery, healing and growth by helping clients to build safe and healthy relationships, develop consistent habits of self-care, and find meaning and fulfillment in their relationships and their work.
Ben Brenkert is a New York-based writer who left formation to become a
Roman Catholic Jesuit priest after learning that more and more lesbian
and gay employees and volunteers were being fired by the Church. Ben
writes for The Daily Beast. Ben (or his story) has been published in
the Huffington Post, Towleroad, OutBuzz, The New Civil Rights
Movement, New Ways Ministry, DNA Magazine, Believe Out Loud, The
Episcopal Cafe, The Orlando Sentinel, The Advocate, The Washington
Post, The Newark Star Ledger, The International Business Times,
Newsday, The National Catholic Reporter and The Riverdale Press. Ben
is happily married. He works as a therapist and school social worker
in New York City. He will begin a doctorate in education in 2017.