School of the Laity

HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL OF THE LAITY PROGRAM

In the fall of 1988, ten laypeople of Savannah Presbytery became the first graduating class of an innovative presbytery ministry known as the School of the Laity. A very demanding program of study requiring a two-year commitment and additional hours of class and preparation time, the School of the Laity was a vision of then Executive Presbyter Dr. J. Richard Bass who recognized the desire of laypersons to engage in serious study of scripture, theology, and ministry.

The students participate in two summer courses taught by college professors. Each session involves eighteen hours of class time and additional hours of personal study. The courses are: Introduction to the Bible and Introduction to Reformed Theology. In the final summer, they complete their studies with an in-depth course in Practical Ministry.

Students complete briefer courses in the spring and fall of two successive years. Savannah Presbytery ministers lead studies on Old Testament, New Testament, History, Mission & Polity and Practical Ministry 1. To date, over 250 laypeople have participated in the School of the Laity, representing two-thirds of the churches of the presbytery. Its graduates are providing outstanding leadership in their congregations, the presbytery and the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.

2017 School of the Laity graduates, from left: Ken Bailey, Emily Crawford Sanders, Barbara Conner, Daniel Walters