Educational Programs

Diocesan Lenten Program 2017: A Space for Grace

shutterstock_128682218In the last several years, the Diocese of Western New York has done a “One Diocese, One Season, One Book” program.  The whole diocese was invited to read the same book, meet in their congregations to discuss the book and come together to meet the author.

This year we are doing something just a little different.  Instead of all reading the same book, Bishop Franklin is inviting the Diocese into conversation.

The program is called A Space for Grace.  It consists of a program for each of the first five weeks of Lent.  The program connects one of the Scripture readings assigned for Sunday and a reflection piece that connects the theme of the Scripture to themes important in the world right now.

Each week as several conversation starters and a question.

The sessions are designed to be used in a variety of ways from Sunday morning adult education, to weekday small groups, to gatherings around dinner tables.  The sessions can be led by lay people, deacons or priests.

Everyone is invited to visit the Space for Grace blog at and join in the conversation about each week’s question.

On Thursday April 6 at 6:30 pm the Diocese is invited to gather at the Diocesan Ministry Center for evening prayer, reflections by Bishop Franklin and further conversation.

Bishop Franklin is hoping to be invited to participate in the program at a variety of congregations.  Please contact his assistant, Keri Mills at with the dates, times and places of your congregation’s gatherings.  The Bishop will get to as many congregations as he can.  The Bishop’s Sunday mornings are already spoken for, so invite him to gatherings at other times.

Download the program brochure!


Safe Church Training

cathy-teachingIt is the charge of every Christian to respect the dignity of every human being, to that end we offer Safe Church Training.

Safe Church Training protects not only volunteers and employees, but also those under their charge. By raising the awareness of leaders, everyone is safer.

Safe Church consists of two courses: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention and Adult Sexual Harassment & Exploitation Prevention. Volunteers such as Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, and youth camp staff are required to take “A Safe Place for Children.” All clergy and employees of the diocese and its congregations are required to take both courses.

The courses are offered at least twice yearly, usually in the late spring and in the early fall.  The next classes will be held:

  • Saturday, May 6, at Grace Episcopal Church in Randolph.  The Church: A Safe place for Children will run from 9 a.m. to Noon. The Church: A Safe Place for Adults will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Register online!
  • Saturday, June 3, at Christ Episcopal Church in Lockport.  The Church: A Safe place for Children will run from 9 a.m. to Noon. The Church: A Safe Place for Adults will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Register online!

Safe church is now easy to do online. Register with the diocesan office, and then finish the short modules assigned to you on your own time, in your pajamas. Each module, shorter and more specific than our current face-to-face classes, is intensely interactive in nature, has study guides to print out that will enable you to really cement your learning, and has a quiz at the end to ensure that you’ve absorbed the main points. Once you’ve registered the first time, you don’t need to do so to refresh your learning in future years, or take new or different modules. The diocese can see which modules you’ve done and when, and so it is more convenient than ever. And it’s free!


Seeing the Face of God in Each Other: Anti-Racism and Diversity Training

As this training is scheduled, it will be announced here.  At this time, the next training dates have not been set.


Prepared to Serve: Licensed Ministries in the Diocese of Western New York

Do you feel called to serve the Church in a broader way?
Does your worshiping community affirm that call?

mona-chaliceAs a lay person there are many ways you can serve God and the Church. Prepared to Serve deals with lay ministries that require special training, education and licensing.

You must seek special training within your parish or deanery to become licensed as a Eucharistic Minister, (a lay person authorized to administer the consecrated elements at a Celebration of the Holy Eucharist) or a Eucharistic Visitor (a lay person authorized to take the consecrated elements to members of the congregation who were unable to be present at the celebration of the Eucharist because of illness or infirmity.  Both of these ministries are recognized within the canons of the Episcopal Church.

Several additional licensed ministries are recognized in the canons.  They require substantial standardized training and preparation that is best handled at the diocesan level.  These are:

  • Pastoral Leader – Parish Administrator
  • Pastoral Leader – Pastoral Care Minister
  • Worship Leader
  • Preacher
  • Catechist
  • Evangelist

The training for these ministries requires a commitment of personal time as well as financial commitment.  Congregations are encouraged to share in this financial commitment.

Download a booklet outlining all of the courses offered and more information regarding licensed ministries.

The next class offered will be:

Lay License Application Form
This form may be used by clergy and wardens to request the appropriate license for any layperson completing a course of study through Prepared to Serve.  In addition, it may be used to request local licenses, such as Lay Eucharistic Minister.