The Ecumenical Institute for Ministry was founded in 1995 by a group of Church ministers and Christian educators who saw the need for systematic theological education for New Mexicans engaged in ministry in their local congregations. This visionary group, under the leadership of Dr. Wallace Ford, then Executive Director of the New Mexico Conference of Churches, chose to create an ecumenical partnership to provide education for ministry for laity and clergy of the faith communities of New Mexico. Members of EIM included United Methodist, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian (USA), Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and Evangelical Lutheran Churches of America, together with their congregations.
The EIM Coordinating Committee created a two-track curriculum of courses. Track I, the certificate curriculum was built around three courses in the core disciplines of Christian theological education: biblical studies, theology, and the history of the Christian tradition. Also included in Track I were courses for building communication and interpersonal skills, for understanding the foundations for lay ministry and Christian ethics, and the supervised practice of ministry.
Track II, the graduate level study of theology leading to a masters degree, was begun in 1996 by establishing a formal extension relationship with St. Norbert College in DePere, Wisconsin. St. Norbert College, regionally accredited through the North Central Association, now in partnership with EIM in New Mexico, offers a 32 semester hour Master of Theological Studies degree. The program is intentionally ecumenical and courses are taught by a stellar group of qualified local faculty as well as by regular members of St. Norbert graduate faculty. The MTS degree program focuses on practical theology and allows specialization in different areas of ministry.
The MTS core courses were offered, one each semester, fall and spring, from 1996 to the present. The specialization courses were offered in the summers. In August 2002, the first four New Mexico students graduated from the program, as an additional eight students were approaching the final stages of their course work.
In January, 2003, the New Mexico Conference of Churches Board decided to end its formal relationship with EIM. The Coordinating Committee incorporated as the Board of Directors of the EIM and continues to promote and organize the efforts of EIM to make theological education which is intentionally ecumenical available to the Christian ministers in New Mexico.