Academy for Vocational Leadership Academic Year 2023-24

Applications Open for Academic Year 2023-24

Postulants ready to begin formation for Holy Orders or lay people seeking intensive theological learning may now apply to join the Academy for Vocational Leadership for the 2023-2024 academic year.

The Academy for Vocational Leadership is our three-year, bi-diocesan program of preparation for Holy Orders. Originally founded in its current iteration in 2015, the Academy is one of over 34 diocesan schools in The Episcopal Church forming leaders as part of the Iona Collaborative of the Seminary of the Southwest (SSW) in Austin, TX. All academic classes are developed and taught remotely by SSW professors with support from local faculty. Additional practical classes are taught by local practitioners and experts.

On June 15th, a notification went out from Bishop Singh stating that “our dioceses form priests through a diversity of paths by seriously considering every discernment as unique. Therefore, this fall, our dioceses will send candidates for priestly formation to residential seminaries, hybrid seminaries, and the Academy for Vocational Leadership. This will add an intentional step to the ordination process in Western Michigan.” Therefore, postulants seeking ordination as vocational deacons and priests from both Eastern and Western Michigan may apply.

The Academy is also open to lay people not pursuing ordination but desiring in-depth and intense theological learning for their own spiritual growth and vocation.

Please complete the attached application paperwork and return it by July 31, 2023. Once we receive and review your application, you will receive the “Summer Reading” homework along with instructions for completion.

Please note that participation in this program requires a basic understanding of technology, including the use of Zoom, accessing online password-protected platforms, word processing, and submitting papers online.

Questions about this offering? Please contact the Rev. Canon Tracie Little, Canon for the Southern Collaborative and Adult Formation, at 810-300-9177 or


All in-person weekends begin with dinner on Friday evening at 5:30pm and conclude by 3pm on Sunday afternoon.

August 11-13 – Opening Retreat, St. Francis Center

September 8-10 – St. Francis Retreat Center

October 13-15 – Zoom

November 17-19 – Zoom

December 8-10 – St. Francis Retreat Center

January 5-7 – St. Francis Retreat Center

February 9-11 – St. Francis Retreat Center

March 8-10 – Zoom

April 5-7 – St. Francis Retreat Center

May 3-5 – St. Francis Retreat Center

June 7-9 – St. Francis Retreat Center


St. Francis Retreat Center
703 E. Main Street
Dewitt, MI 48820


Tuition for the Academy is $4,300 per year, with one half due by November 1st and the remaining due by April 1, 2024. Tuition includes class materials as well as housing and meals at the retreat center. Text books will be an extra expense.

For inquiries about diocesan scholarship funds, please contact Canon Tracie Little at either or

The application deadline is July 31, 2023.