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Flexible pacing. Adaptable to diocesan needs.
Meets requirements of Episcopal Church canons & AED competencies.


Bexley Seabury makes it easier than ever to form and educate those called to be deacons so they can connect the church and the world after ordination.

Our self-paced, online program is deacon-focused, designed to:

  • Accommodate busy schedules of those juggling family, church, and professional responsibilities
  • Serve those in rural or geographically large dioceses
  • Provide diaconal education more affordably
  • Offer a path to dioceses who want to enhance staff resources providing diaconal formation.

Origins of the Deacons Formation Collaborative

The Deacons Formation Collaborative emerged from conversations among stakeholders from a number of Episcopal dioceses (California, Los Angeles, Washington, Minnesota, Southern Virginia, Upper South Carolina, Atlanta, and Georgia) as well as theological education providers (Bexley Seabury Seminary, the CA School for Deacons, Province 1 School for Deacons, EDOW’s Latino Deacons School). Together they forged this innovative model for dioceses to prepare deacons in partnership with Bexley Seabury.


God’s imagination is bigger than ours. We’ve caught a vision to train deacons a new way.

How is the Bexley Seabury formation model different?


More than ticking boxes.

The Association for Episcopal Deacons (AED) defined competencies to prepare new deacons for ministry and satisfy Canonical requirements. Bexley Seabury’s program is designed to ensure each participant can demonstrate these competencies as well as meet diocesan expectations and attain personal aspirations. The process helps each person form a diaconal identity, build skills, and expand knowledge for their particular ministry. It also inspires lifelong, life-wide, and life-deep learning.


Relational integration.

Three mentors ensure educational, denominational, and vocational perspectives are integrated as they guide and assess learners through asynchronous and hybrid (synchronous & asynchronous) learning experiences.


Tailored for each learner.


The DFC program is designed to meet learners where they are. Standard Paths can be customized to meet their particular educational and formational needs as well as more sensitively and fully acknowledge the gifts and knowledge individuals have already cultivated. Adaptations and accommodations can support different learning styles and educational backgrounds. This is particularly helpful for those who may not possess a college degree.


 Adaptable to real life.

Detached from scheduled courses, students can dedicate as much time to the program as their situation allows, pacing their learning to ebb and flow with the changing demands of their personal and professional lives. The program typically can be finished in two years, although students may choose to speed this up or slow it down.

Affordable Subscription Model

Smaller payments and potential savings.


Tuition is paid as a monthly subscription while learners are in the program rather than lump sum payments each semester. Smaller, regular payments provide a lower barrier to entry and offer potential savings to those who wish to accelerate their learning.

Accessible from Anywhere

Learn from wherever you are with others from around the church.

Online learning makes diaconal training available to anyone, anywhere as long as the learner has reliable internet service. Connecting online also adds church-wide perspectives as learners from across the nation engage timely topics and share ministerial experiences.


Bexley Seabury + Diocese

Bexley Seabury and the diocese will each contribute elements while other elements will be developed together. For example:

      • Bexley Seabury provides learning experiences, monthly integration seminars, and academic mentors, as well as mentor training and support.
      • Dioceses provide diocesan mentors and opportunities for local formation and contextualized learning.
      • Together,  seminary and diocesan tailor learning experiences to meet diocesan needs. Additionally, new learning experiences, jointly developed, may be made available to learners from other dioceses

The Deacons Formation Collaborative is strengthened as member dioceses contribute to the overall program and share resources using the seminary’s learning platform.

What is the Deacons Formation Collaborative (DFC)? 

The DFC formation program prepares individuals for diaconal ordination.

Participants in the program are guided by a three-person mentor team (academic mentor, diocesan mentor, and vocational mentor) as they progress through learning experiences designed to prepare them to meet canonical requirements and demonstrate the Association of Episcopal Deacons’ (AED) defined competencies. 

How it Works

Each learner will meet with their mentor team to assess their strengths and areas for growth using the AED competencies as a guide.

With their mentors, participants will use this information to choose either a “standard path” to meet their particular learning goals or discern ways to adapt the foundational resources.

There are 8 standard paths

Foundational resources can be adapted for a personalized path.

1. Engaging Holy Scriptures

2. Diakonia and the Diaconate

3. Deacons as Theologians and Diaconal Theology

4. Living the Life of a Deacon in the Pulpit, the Parish, and the World

5. Engaging God’s People

6. Organizing and Advocacy

7. Christian Church History, Episcopal/Anglican Church History, and Tradition

8. Wellness and Maintaining a Vibrant Spiritual Life


Standard paths can be customized to create a more personalized learning plan.  This may include using Bexley Seabury’s Lifelong Learning and graduate courses. 

Students can also integrate resources from other sources into their program to meet defined competencies.

In addition to participating in activities provided by local dioceses, participants will meet regularly with other deacons-in-training for formation, integration, and community.


The program can be finished in two years, roughly one path per quarter.

Participants dedicate as much time to the program as their situation allows. This means some students may be able to progress more quickly while others can choose to take more time.


As the learner feels they are ready, the mentor team assesses proficiency in meeting the AED competencies. Once all the competencies are complete, the learner will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Those who desire a graduate degree can continue in Bexley Seabury’s Mentor-Assessed Path (MAP) to the Master of Divinity.

Proven Deacon-Focused Approach +

Mentor-Assessed, Distributive Learning Model

Deacon-focused approach to curriculum 

Resources from partner dioceses

Mentor-assessed, distributive learning model

This innovative model enables learners to progress at their own pace to prepare and demonstrate their proficiency in the AED competencies
as well as
meet church-wide imperatives and local diocesan requirements.




Students pay $360 each month* for the length of their enrollment (typically two years). (Ask about discounts.) 

Next Steps

  1. Sign up to be notified when enrollment opens
  2. Secure diocesan approval and subscribe to the program
  3. Work with DFC and diocesan representatives to identify and invite mentors
  4. Meet with your mentor team for prior-learning assessment and goal-setting
  5. Review Standard Paths and Personalize your learning plan
  6. Register for relevant learning modules until competencies are met
  7. Pursue your diaconal ordination!