ACTS (Alternative Clergy Training at Sewanee)

A non-degree, basic course of theological studies for diaconal education and candidates for ordination who have special circumstances

The Alternative Clergy Training at Sewanee (ACTS) program offers theological training for deacons and part-time or non-stipendiary priests in small congregations. These congregations can fulfill an essential role in the Church, ministering to underserved communities and engaging with the world in unique ways. ACTS was developed in response to the growing need for trained clergy in these communities.

ACTS partners with dioceses to provide comprehensive training for deacons and for priests for small-church, missional contexts, with an emphasis on leadership and evangelism in the context of the six canonical areas (Bible, Theology, History, Ethics, Christian Worship, and Ministry in Contemporary Society). The program comprises eight modules (outlined below), which represent the academic portion of students’ preparation for ministry. It is expected that dioceses will see to the other areas of preparation, including field education and spiritual formation.

ACTS is intended for those in priestly formation for whom, in the judgment of their bishop, full-time residential seminary is not feasible. It is not designed to be a substitute for the Master of Divinity degree, which is considered the most comprehensive preparation for the priesthood. Nor is it designed to provide formation in the Anglican tradition for students who have completed theological training elsewhere.

The Components



            Year 1:

                        Spring: Module 1: Old Testament and Preaching

                                    Module 2: New Testament and Preaching

                        Fall: Module 1: Christian Ethics and Moral Theology

                                    Module 2: The Practice of Ministry in Contemporary Society

            Year 2:

                        Spring: Module 1: History of the Christian Church

                                    Module 2: Christian Theology

                        Fall: Module 1: Pastoral Theology/Diakonia

                                    Module 2: Prayer Book and Liturgy

Admissions and Fees

Because of the wide variety of backgrounds anticipated in those who will participate in the program, the decision to participate in the programs rests solely with the bishop of the diocese from which the student comes.

Tuition is $2,500 for each session. This is exclusive of food, lodging, and transportation. Costs of the program will be borne by the diocese from which the student originates. Whether the diocese passes the bill along to the student, to the parish the student serves, or in some other manner shares the cost of the program is solely at the discretion of the sending bishop.


An online registration form may be accessed here.

The deadline for registering for the June 2019 session is May. 15, 2019. Please contact Dr. Andrew Thompson by email or at 931.598.1627 for details.