The Iona Initiative in Arkansas is a three-year program to train new priests and deacons, many of whom already have full-time careers, to serve free of charge in small Arkansas congregations, especially those in rural areas that may not otherwise have the opportunity for a priest or deacon.

The Iona Initiative in Arkansas is a three-year program to train new priests and deacons, many of whom already have full-time careers, to serve free of charge in small Arkansas congregations, especially those in rural areas that may not otherwise have the opportunity for a priest or deacon.

The Iona program uses curriculum materials from the Diocese of Texas and the Seminary of the Southwest, and draws on the expertise of local instructors to offer high quality theological education.

The academic areas include scripture, church history, and theology; class sessions on spirituality, liturgy, and music; and the theory and practice of ministry. Students also engage in fieldwork in local congregations under the direction of clergy mentors.

Sessions meet at Trinity Cathedral in Little Rock one weekend a month for 10 months a year, September–June. The weekends begin Friday evening and run through Sunday afternoon. Throughout the weekend, Iona students lead worship and preach for the Daily Office services, as well as attending Sunday morning services at area Episcopal churches.

The Iona program accepts applicants who have completed the prescribed discernment process and requirements set by the Commission on Ministry under the direction of Bishop Larry Benfield. If you are interested in more information about the Iona Initiative in Arkansas, please contact the Rev. Canon Jason Alexander at jalexander@episcopalarkansas.org or 501-372-2168.

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