The Iona Program in the Diocese of Olympia uses a ‘one-room schoolhouse’ model, in which all students across all years study and learn together. This helps build community across the three years of the Iona Program, and gives newer students the opportunity to learn from more experienced students.

We presently use follow a three-year cycle in which 1/3 of each year is directed towards one of three topics: scripture, church history, or theology. This means that within a given year, each student will usually spend three months studying scripture, three months studying church history, and three months studying theology. Each yearly scripture module includes one or more Old Testament books, a Gospel, and often some of the Epistles. In addition to these over-arching topics, we also explore liturgy, prayer, and other practical topics.

Following each three-month module students write a paper, reflecting on the topics just studied, and how they relate to their ministries. These papers become candidates to be added to each student’s portfolio. These portfolios are then submitted to the Board of Examining Chaplains to fulfill the canonical requirements.

The Iona Program covers the following topics:


  • Genesis
  • Pentateuch
  • The Persian Period
  • Prophetic and Wisdom Literature
  • Gospel of Mark
  • Gospels of Matthew and Luke
  • Gospel of John
  • Acts/Paul
  • Deutero Pauline Epistles

Church History

  • The Early Church
  • The Imperial Church
  • The Medieval Church
  • Pre-Reformation Christianity in England
  • Continental Reformation
  • English Reformation
  • English Church Development: 17th – 19th Centuries
  • Christianity in the Modern World
  • The American Episcopal Church
  • Contemporary Society

Theology and Ethics

  • Christology and the Ethics of Jesus
  • Theology: Systematic and Moral
  • Creation, Anthropology and Election
  • Sin and Liberation
  • Holy Spirit, Salvation and Virtue
  • Ecclesiology and Politics
  • Sacraments, Sex and Medicine
  • Eschatology and Violence
  • Trinity, Economy and Ecology
  • Saintly Lives: Augustine, Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero

Other Topics

  • Spiritual Autobiographies
  • Stages of Faith
  • Lectio Divina
  • Rule of Life
  • Contemplative Prayer
  • Celtic Spirituality
  • Reading Icons
  • Labyrinth
  • Homiletics
  • History and Theology of the Book of Common Prayer
  • The Church Year
  • Christian Initiation
  • Weddings
  • Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Healing Liturgies
  • Hospital Visits
  • Preparing for End of Life
  • Small Vital Congregations
  • Title IV Disciplinary Canons
  • Parish Administration
  • Christian Formation
  • Ministry to the Homeless
  • Disaster Relief
  • Ministry to Older Adults
  • Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation