Skip to main content

Bishop’s Institute For
Ministry & Leadership

Our Mission

The Bishop’s Institute for Ministry and Leadership was established in 2015 in the Episcopal Diocese of Florida to provide educational opportunities for laity and clergy by providing:

  • Academic preparation and formation for individuals seeking ordination to the vocational Diaconate or to the Local Priesthood in the Diocese of Florida;
  • Licensed Lay Ministry courses for lay leaders in our parishes seeking the Bishop’s License in specific areas of ministry, e.g. Worship Leader, Catechist, Pastoral Care, Evangelist and Preacher.
  • A variety of seminars in theology and spirituality and retreats designed to encourage all Christians who desire to grow in knowledge of their faith and mature in their discipleship and
  • Continuing education workshops and seminars for clergy and lay leaders to strengthen competencies in ministry and leadership.


Licensed Lay Ministry courses for lay leaders in our parishes seeking the Bishop’s License in specific areas of ministry

Milam Room, Diocesan Office,
325 N. Market Street,
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Saturdays – April 23, May 21, June 18,
July 16 and August 20
9:00 a.m. – 2 p.m. (lunch provided)

A Licensed Lay Worship Leader (LLWL) is a worship leader, a layperson that regularly leads public worship under the direction of the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation.

The LLWL must receive training and be evaluated and found competent by the Bishop, or the Bishop’s designee, in the following subjects: Holy Scriptures, the Lectionary, The Book of Common Prayer and the Hymnal, Church history, worship practices, the church’s doctrine set forth in the Creeds and an Outline of Faith.

To register, download this form and email to Sue Engemann: [email protected].
Read our course flyer for more information.


More Information on Licensed Lay Ministry Courses

What is a Licensed Lay Leader (LLM)?

The canons of the Episcopal Church allow the Bishop of a Diocese to license lay persons to specific ministries that they may exercise in their parish under the direction of their priest or in churches or missions that do not have a resident priest.

The Episcopal Church canon that provides the initiative for our Licensed Lay Leader courses is:

Title III: Ministry
Canon 4: Of Licensed Ministries (excerpts)

Sec. 1 (a) A confirmed communicant in good standing or, in extraordinary circumstances, subject to guide- lines established by the Bishop, a communicant in good standing, may be licensed by the Ecclesiastical Authority to serve as Pastoral Leader, Worship Leader, Preacher, Eucharistic Minister, Eucharistic Visitor, Evangelist, or Catechist. Requirements and guidelines for the selection, training, continuing education, and deployment of such persons, and the duration of licenses shall be established by the Bishop in consultation with the Commission on Ministry.

Course offerings

To date some thirty-six lay persons have been Licensed by Bishop Howard to serve as Lay Worship Leaders and Catechists in their parishes under the direction of their priest. They completed a twelve-month course taught on two campuses — in Jacksonville and Hawthorne in preparation for their License.

A twelve-month course is currently in progress to prepare lay men and women to be licensed in Pastoral Care ministry. There are some eighteen candidates from churches across the Diocese currently enrolled.

The Bishop’s Institute is planning to offer the Lay Worship Leader and Catechists courses again in the coming year in addition to the course in Pastoral Care. Courses for lay Evangelist and Preacher are also in the planning stage.

Who are the LLM courses designed for?

The courses are designed for those who feel they are being called to serve their church in a specific ministry and desire to be equipped for that ministry. In some cases the person’s rector or vicar may recognize that person’s gifts and initiate encouraging them in accepting and preparing for it. Others may already be exercising a specific lay ministry and see the course as simply an enhancement of their experience and skills.

Two basic requirements for everyone enrolling in a LLM course are:

  • The endorsement by the applicant’s Rector, Vicar or Priest-in-Charge. The endorsing clergy person affirms that the applicant is an adult in good standing in the parish and that he or she endorses the applicant for this ministry.
  • A licensed lay minister must complete and comply with the guidelines for the Safeguarding God’s People and Safeguarding God’s children programs.

Further inquiries

If you would like further information about the Bishop’s Institute Licensed Lay Ministry courses and/or you would like to be informed personally of proposed offerings please contact Mrs. Sue Engemann at the Diocesan Office: 904-356-1328 or [email protected]


The vocational Diaconate and local Priesthood in the Diocese of Florida: Academic preparation and formation

Vocational Diaconate

The academic component in the formation of vocational Deacons in the Diocese of Florida is entrusted to the Institute’s Deacons School. The Deacons School is a fourteen-month course that meets once a month on a Saturday at Camp Weed. The modules, taught by tutors drawn from our Diocesan clergy cover spiritual discipline; practical training and experience; the theology of the diaconate; Holy Scriptures; church history; Anglican theology and pastoral care.

Local Priesthood

Those accepted to study for ordination to the local Priesthood in the Diocese are enrolled in the Deacons School and receive the same basic academic formation as those preparing for the vocational Diaconate. On successful completion of the Deacons School, local Priest candidates complete six further modules in the theology and practice of ordained ministry as specifically appropriate to their preparation for the priesthood.

Further information

The academic courses designed for both vocational Deacons and local Priests operate within the overall discernment and formation process for those accepted by the Bishop with the recommendation of the Diocesan Commission on Ministry to prepare for ordination. For details on the overall discernment process for the vocational Diaconate or the local Priesthood in the Diocese please contact Mrs Leigh Phillips in the Diocesan Office [email protected] and she will gladly send you a booklet Journey of Discernment by return email.

Dietirch Bonhoeffer: A Weekend with Earl Palmer – Video Lectures

The distinguished author, preacher and scholar Earl Palmer presented this series of lectures over the course of the weekend of September 23-25, 2016. Videos of each session as well as the sermon at the Holy Eucharist can be viewed via the following links:

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4


C.S. Lewis Weekend Audio Links

The distinguished author, preacher and C.S. Lewis scholar Earl Palmer presented a series of four lectures over the course of the weekend of September 18-20, 2015. For those who want to review the series, The Bishop’s Institute offers these audio links.

C.S. Lewis, His Friends, His Journey Toward Faith

C.S. Lewis in a Time of War

C.S. Lewis: The Mere Christian Who Helped Us Believe

Stories of the Marvelous: C.S. Lewis, The Storyteller

Lenten Poetry Class

The Library, Diocesan Office,
325 N. Market Street,
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Mondays – March 7, 14, 21, 28, and April 4 12-1 p.m.

Come join Douglas Dupree, Rector of the Bishop’s Institute, on Mondays during Lent for noon-day prayers, lunch and a discussion of some of the poems and commentaries provided by Richard Harries in his new Lent book for 2022.

This is a great opportunity to take some time apart during Lent for thoughtful reflection and fellowship in a relaxed atmosphere!

Click here for more information. To RSVP, email Sue Engemann [email protected] or call 904-356-1328, ex.10.


The Call: Clergy Leadership Series

The Bishop’s Institute for Ministry and Leadership invites you to take part in a leadership series of three upcoming virtual forums with your fellow clergy as an opportunity for collective sharing and learning.

The series – which will be facilitated by The Rev. Adam Greene, Head of School at Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Dale Beaman of Beaman Coaching, and Douglas Dupree of Bishop’s Institute – takes place from November 2021 to January 2022.

Learn more, see the full schedule and register here.

Books Online

St. John’s Cathedral Bookstore & Gift Shop now offers online shopping through This means you can order any book online and support our bookstore ministry instead of Amazon!

Here are the steps to start shopping with us:

  • Create an account on
  • Then click “find a bookstore,” and you will see us on the map.
  • Select “support this shop” under our name.

Shopping on Bookshop is quick and easy:

  • Browse the book and gift categories listed on our Bookshop page, and purchase items shipped directly to you.
  • Here is the link for all reviewed and recommended books from the Bishop’s Institute:
  • Enjoy one-stop shopping for calendars and church supplies.
  • You also can purchase other books not listed on our store by using the search feature at the top of our page.
  • E-books and audiobooks are available on
  • Gift wrapping is available for a modest charge.
  • The bookstore is happy to order and ship books for you if that is more convenient. Just email [email protected], or call the store for assistance.
  • We already have been asked by groups and churches in our diocese to create a customized book links on Bookshop for their formation classes–let us create one for you to distribute to your class or book club!

Here is the link to shop our page

St John’s Cathedral Bookstore & Gift Shop
221 East Church Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Store: (904) 356-5507, ext. 152
Find us on Facebook @jaxcathedral books

Preachers on Preaching Video Series: Hosted by the Rev. Joe Gibbes