Ecumenical Institute for Ministry Albuquerque, New Mexico
EIM History
Copyright © 2013 Ecumenical Institute for Ministry (EIM), All rights Reserved Master of Theological Studies, EIM * 5825 Coors Road SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87121 505.873.4399 ext 229
We journey together with “one mind and one heart on the way to God.”
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1995 Dr. Wallace Ford, Executive Secretary of the New Mexico Conference of Churches, forms a committee composed of church leaders interested in serious adult education for those engaged in ministry. Originally called the New Mexico Ecumenical Theological Consortium, by October 1995, the group was renamed the Ecumenical Institute for Ministry.
The Lay Ministry Certification Program is designed and developed. It includes a core curriculum in Biblical studies, History of Christian Tradition, Christian Theology, Effective Communication in Christian Ministry, Formation for Ministry, and a Supervised Practicum. Teaching locations include Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Gallup

The Catholic community expresses a need for a Master of Arts degree program in Theology. Several institutions of higher learning are interviewed, including Dubuque University, Loyola (New Orleans), Gonzaga, Regis, Eastern New Mexico University, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and the College of Santa Fe.

In December, Fr. Joel Garner, O. Praem, Prior of the Norbertine Community in Albuquerque and a member of the aforementioned group of church leaders, invites the Director of the St. Norbert College Master of Theological Studies program to meet with the committee. 

1996 In January, the NMCC-EIM committee meets with Fr. Richard Ver Bust, Director of the St. Norbert College MTS program.
In February, Dr. Ford, with the authority granted him by the Board of Directors of the NMCC, formally requests that St. Norbert College and the NMCC enter into a partnership for the purpose of offering the 32-hour MTS program in NM.

Key animators during the early years:  Fr. Richard Ver Bust, Director of the MTS program at SNC; 
Rev. Dr. Wallace Ford, Executive Secretary of the NMCC; Fr. Joel Garner, O. Praem, Prior, Norbertine Community of NM;  Rev. Dr. Philip Butin, Presbyterian committee member (Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church) 
Fr. Mike Demkovich, O.P., Roman Catholic committee member;  Frances Vogel-Montano, Roman Catholic committee member;  Rita Lucero, Secretary/Program Coordinator for the MTS-NM program 

In the fall, Systematic Theology and Theological Method, taught by the Fr. Joseph Serano, O. Praem, is the first offering of the MTS program in NM. 


Articles of Understanding (7-11-1997) are drawn up between EIM & NMCC. It denotes that policies, procedures, and planning of EIM are administered through a State Coordinating Committee, which meets at least four times annually. The State Coordinating Committee is organized into three standing committees:  Faculty Committee, Curriculum Committee, and Graduate Studies Committee. The Graduate Studies Committee “oversees all aspects of the graduate program…including but not limited to budget, promotion and publicity, student admissions, financial aid, accreditation, library resources, faculty selection, course administration and evaluation, faculty payment, and student support and advisement.”  

There is a greater focus on the MTS program and the Graduate Committee. 


The MTS-NM program is approved by the North Central Association (NCA) accrediting board to become a program of St. Norbert College (SNC) at an additional site (Albuquerque, NM). 

Fr. Mike Demkovich, O.P., acts in the role of the Associate Director for the MTS program in NM. 

Dr. Howard Ebert, a teacher in the Religious Studies Department, is named Director of the St. Norbert College MTS Program. 

2003 Ecumenical Institute for Ministry separates from New Mexico Conferene of Churches. An EIM board of Directors is formed and by-laws formulated.
2004 The Rev Dr. Kay Huggins, a Presbyterian minister, organizes the faculty and plans the course schedules for MTS-NM.

In a letter dated Feb. 1, 2005, Fr. Joel Garner, O. Praem, proposes to SNC Academic Vice President Dr. Michael Marsden that SNC and EIM conduct a review of the partnership between the two, examining the scope of the partnership, expectations, and new directions, with the expectation that this be conducted annually. He refers to the ecumenical effort as “a pioneering effort.” 

Over 30 students are enrolled in the MTS-NM program

Dr. Kay Huggins becomes the Associate Director of the MTS program in NM.  (Fr. Mike Demkovich, O.P., withdraws from involvement with EIM.) 

An excerpt from the SNC Master of Theological Studies Program Review Spring 2008, says: “The MTS program, especially in Albuquerque, is intentionally ecumenical. In fact the initial requesting body was the Ecumenical Institute of Ministry (EIM) which was the educational arm of the New Mexico Conference of Churches (NMCC). While the results have been somewhat mixed in recruiting students from other mainline Christian Churches, both programs have moved toward more diverse religious representation among students and faculty.”

2009 EIM changes its address from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe offices to the Norbertine Community, with EIM Board meetings held in the conference room of the Norbertine Library 

Dr. Lynn Bridgers becomes the Associate Director of the MTS-NM program.  Discussions regarding a new structure for EIM begin, with three components: EED (Ecumenical Education for Discipleship); MTS (Master of Theological Studies); and Oversight and Development.


The new EIM structure has been ratified and is in place, with the following positions: 
The Rev. Dr. Judith Todd - program coordinator for the EED Program
Dr. Lynn Bridgers - Associate Director for the MTS Program 
Deacon Dr. Keith Davis - Oversight and Development (OD)
Abbot Joel Garner, O. Praem - Chairperson of the EIM Board of Directors 

In August, Dr. Kay Huggins assumes the position of Interim Associate Director of MTS-NM. 


In March, Dr. Kathy Dolan becomes the Associate Director for MTS-NM. 


Deacon Keith Davis becomes the President (formerly called the Chairperson) of the EIM Board of Directors. 

Jennifer Murphy-Dye is hired as the EIM Community Outreach Coordinator.

Dr. Christina Spahn chairs the EED Committee, Deacon Keith Davis chairs the OD Committee, and Abbot Joel Garner, O. Praem, chairs the MTS-NM Advisory Committee

EIM renews its relationship with the New Mexico Conference of Churches, with an agreement to be the “educational arm” of the NMCC and partner with the NMCC in promoting congregational vitality.

In November, the MTS-NM program has new staff members, as Fr. Peter Muller, O.Praem, becomes the Associate Director and Kelsey Nielsen takes the position of Program Coordinator.

2015 In August, the Reverend Dr. Kay Huggins begins serving as Interim Associate Director. In the summer of 2015 EIM Board of Directors initiate a discernment process regarding the future direction of EIM. Opportunities to be developed: Quarterly gatherings for theological discussion; coordination of Spiritual Directors in the Albuquerque area; discussions with Phillips Seminary regarding the possibility of a Doctor of Ministry Program in Albuquerque.
October 5, first Theology on a Growing Edge program engages 40; presentation and book signing Fr. John Dear, peace activist.
2016 In November, Dr. Chris Spahn is appointed as Associate Director; registration and other administrative aspects are coordinated through Dinah Grassel, MTS Program Coordinator at Saint Norbert College