Program Components

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Epiphany Association


We hope you will consider this two-year post-graduate certification program as an essential component of your commitment to continuing Christian education and adult faith formation. Offered is the premier theoretical and practical program in spiritual and ministerial formation that will qualify you in the new fields of formation anthropology, formation science, and formation theology that together comprise formative spirituality.


The science of formation utilizes a precise metalanguage and an empirical-experiential research methodology to disclose and integrate findings leading to the emergence of a truly systematic and holistic theory of personality. Formation science lays the groundwork for a complementary anthropological analysis and synthesis of the dynamics of human existence in service of a better understanding and living one's beliefs as articulated in formation theology.


The primary focus of this kind of theological reflection is to gain insight into the ways in which the authoritatively affirmed foundations of a faith tradition can be effectively implemented in the anthropological and theological details of our daily lives.


To help you to learn more about these rigorous and interconnected fields of endeavor, we have designed a program suited to your needs and workable with your already busy schedule. You have the option of taking the courses in a regular two-year cycle or in a three-year intensive summer cycle (See insert for dates). These offerings consist of the following four components for certification:




Theoretical Component

Taken in sequence, the first three theoretical core courses, will provide the integrative and experiential background for the remainder of the curriculum.


Practical Component

Taken in sequence, the remaining three practical courses will ready you for the teaching, directing, mentoring, or counseling work you plan to do in the field of formation and that will enhance your professional training and expertise in this area.


Retreat Component

Attend an Epiphany Lay Formation Academy (ELFA), if you have not already done so, prior to graduation.

Assignment Component

Do the course work, required readings, and written home study assignments for each course. Any one of your papers may be eligible for possible publication in our annual on-line journal, Epiphany International: The Journal of Formation Science, Anthropology, and Theology.


*Reading lists and the daily schedule will be sent upon request.


Having outlined the core curriculum, program requirements, and components of ECP, we want to explain the Epiphany Academy's commitment to offer comprehensive coursework in the study of formative spirituality. Under this canopy term we place the three interrelated fields of formation science, formation anthropology and formation theology. Our goal is to present them in a systematic, systemic, and original way. Details pertaining to each of these three intertwining fields are as follows:


Formation Theology

  • Formation theology offers an evolving, coherent integration of generally spiritual and specifically Christian wisdom. Initiated in Europe in the 1940's by Father Adrian van Kaam, CSSp, PhD, this theology brings together contemplatively and practically foundational insights into the formative, reformative, and transformative emergence of our human and Christian character, personality, and life call.

    The primary sources for such inspiring insights are the formational messages found in Holy Scripture and in the writings of the apostolic and patristic tradition; ecclesial doctrine, especially as expressed in catechetical theology; and the basic classical as well as classics-compatible writings of Church-acknowledged saints and masters of spiritual formation.

    Formation theology roots its ecclesial-experiential research, teaching and publication, insofar as possible, in our common Judeo-Christian heritage: the Ten Commandments; the Beatitudes, the Evangelical Counsels; the Lord's Prayer as taught to us by Jesus Christ; the creed of the apostles as well as the teachings of the early councils of the undivided church. It highlights in these and related sources meanings and implications for distinctively human and Christian character and personality formation, reformation, and transformation.

Formation Science

  • Formation Science and Formation Anthropology. In service, first of all, of its contemplative-experiential integration, formation theology has been developing an auxiliary pretheological formation science and a pre- and proto-theological formation anthropology for over sixty years.

    The term "science" is used in the original classical sense of scientia. This term comprehends not only the more recent positive sciences; it also fosters any reliable approach that can disclose the spiritual facets of distinctively human transcendence that cannot be measured by the methods of the positive sciences alone.


    The term scientia also takes into account, in the light of its own objective, contemplative-experiential findings, helpful insights from the sciences of measurement and the sciences of meaning that may aid our integrational understanding of human and Christian phasic and spiritual maturation.


    Formation science, and the truly holistic anthropology of formation that it serves, can also illumine the distinctively human transcendent personhood of those who do not share our own Christian faith and formation tradition.


    In its pretheological outreach, this approach is both ecumenical and transecumenical. It offers fresh and invaluable insights, rooted in wellsprings of formative wisdom, that may help to offset the devastating consequences of misunderstanding or distorting the essential messages of religious and ideological faith and formation traditions.


    Pre-theological formation science and its intact, prototheological anthropology offer excellent means to promote conflict resolution and to seek peace without compromise of what we believe. In this way we can begin to overcome the tension between form-traditional accretions and transcultural classical faith foundations.