Observations from a Graduate of the Forma Certificate in Youth and Family Program

I have known since I was a teenager that I am called into vocational ministry. As I entered the Certificate in Family and Youth Ministry program I was in my fifth year of youth ministry, things were going well in my context, and I was looking for an opportunity for continuing education that would give me wings to fly. Participating in the program through Forma and Bexley Seabury completely transformed my approach to ministry.

This program equipped me with tools I didn’t even know I needed to have. The practical skills, such as creating a ministry plan, set me and the ministries I lead up to be sustainable and successful. During the weeklong in person portion of the program the conversations we had, ranging from practical theology to ministry in times of tragedy, enlightened new ways of thinking about my role as a youth and family minister. The depth and flexibility of the online portion of the program made learning foundational material intriguing and approachable. What I learned in this program empowered me to reenter my ministry context with more confidence. I am now able to more fully articulate my approach and orientation to ministry. I was able to take what I learned and run with it.

I am also so grateful for the relationships that I formed with the other students. Since completing the program we have stayed in touch. They serve as an informal network of support and encouragement. Not to mention the mentorship provided by the program’s teacher. Even after receiving the certificate the teachers have been an invaluable resource to me in my ministry.

I would recommend the Certificate in Family and Youth Ministry program to anyone looking to deepen their ministry skillset. Participating will certainly stock your toolkit. I would participate again in a heartbeat.

Samantha Haycock
Director of Children and Youth Ministry
Christ Episcopal Church, Alameda

Sign Up Today!

For more information and the 2016 dates go to: http://faithformationacademy.org.

Called to Transformation ABCD facilitator formation workshops announced for 2016; registration open for April

Slide1Called to Transformation is a partnership between The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief & Development.  The workshops are designed to train leaders in methods and tools to enhance local ministry and mission.

I highly recommend this training for Youth Ministers, especially at the regional and diocesan level. Called to Transformation could help yield some innovative approaches to mission and ministry. This is leadership development that holds potential across generations, locations, and traditional divisions in ministry. – Bronwyn Clark Skov

Asset-Based Community Development engages communities at a grassroots level to recognize local assets – such as people, buildings, relationships and even faith – and creatively envision how to use that abundance to achieve goals and imagine new forms of ministry.

“ABCD brings people together to transform their communities. It focuses on the gifts and strengths of individuals, congregations and organizations. By recognizing their own gifts, people are empowered to more deeply invest in achieving the shared goals of the community.” -Sean McConnell, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Senior Director of Engagement

Through the trainings, participants will learn about the theory and the practice of ABCD work, and then begin the process of creating a working plan to implement an Asset-Based Community Development project in their own ministry community.

Four Called to Transformation Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) facilitator formation workshops have been slated for 2016: April 18-21, Solomon Episcopal Conference Center, New Orleans, LA; June 13-16, Dumas Bay Center Seattle, WA; August 8-11, Nashotah House, Milwaukee, WI; and September 19-22, Bosque Center, Albuquerque, NM.

Register now for April training.

For more information click here or visit calledtotransformation.org

Christian Formation Conference : Kanuga

2016_ChristianFormationConference_ThemeArtwork_1000x4002016 Christian Formation Conference
JUNE 13, 2016 – JUNE 17, 2016

These are the words of our faith, but how do we live them out in this complicated, multicultural, technologically advanced century?  Learn with us about how to be the Church beyond our houses of worship.

The week will include more than 20 workshops covering such topics as racism sensitivity training, means of reconciliation, ministry with the homeless, how to host a dinner church and a wide variety of nuts-n-bolts workshops about formation basics. View the workshop list here.

See more information here.

Register here.

Contact: chris.lynn@kanuga.org

Faith Formation Academy to Offer Certification in Youth & Family Ministry

Today’s guest blogger is Randall Curtis. Randall is the Ministry Developer for Young Adults and Youth in the Episcopal Church in Arkansas. He also served as our resident tech expert at EYE11. Just last week, Randall was elected President of Forma.  He blogs at theholygeek.com. [Read more…]

Holy Mischief!

So what is that all about? Holy Mischief?

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Last week Episcopalians dedicated to the ministry of Christian Formation from Province IV (20 southeastern dioceses) and from across the church gathered at Kanuga Camp and Conference Center in North Carolina for the annual Christian Formation Conference.

For some the week was an annual pilgrimage to a sacred place where old friends and colleagues meet annually. For some it was a brand new experience of soaking up wisdom, learning new skills, and sharing learning experiences. And for us less frequent participants, it was a little of both.

For all of us it was a conference with a dose of Holy Mischief.

The Kanuga Conference design team, under the coordination of Emily Slichter Given, chose Holy Mischief as the theme for the conference this year. Ana Hernandez and Deanna Witkowski provided new settings and approaches to sacred music for the conference, helping set the tone for two keynoters.

Our first keynoter, Shane Claiborne, shared powerful stories of the Holy Mischief he and his friends have been making in Philadelphia since his college days in solidarity with and advocacy for the urban poor living in north Philly; with and without homes, in a food dessert, largely un-or-under-employed. Shane has authored many books and has traveled widely and was able to help us examine new ways to consider how to be Christians fully interacting with the unjust structures present in our own contexts.

Our second keynoter Matthew Moretz, of “Father Matthew Presents” fame on the Internet, called us to embrace technology, specifically digital movie-making, to harness the power of sequential moving images to tell our story and correct the negative impressions of Christians that abound in our culture. He helped us break down some of the possibilities of using whimsy to get attention, illustrate a point, and create empathy for regular characters in storytelling.

Tom BrackettAt the closing Eucharistic celebration Tom Brackett, my colleague on the Episcopal Church staff, preached a powerful sermon demonstrating God’s capacity for mischievous interaction with mortals both in the Hebrew midrash and the Jesus story.

He shared his own harrowing adventure of faithful people resisting oppressors through mischievous and risky behavior, taking risks to save fellow humans. Tom also used a quote from Marianne Williamson to challenge conference participants to make Holy Mischief. I offer that passage at the end of this blog post.

I highly recommend interacting with any of these faithful Christians, each offering their own witness to the love of Christ in vastly different and deeply faithful contexts.

I offer prayers of gratitude for Emily and the Kanuga crew for convening us and feeding us physically, professionally, and spiritually.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. 

 Marianne WilliamsonReturn to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Information on e-Formation

Thinking about diving into social media but overwhelmed by the choices?

Then this seminar might just be the one for you: E-Formation: Faith formation for a connected, digital world.

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The Virginia Theological Seminary Center for the Ministry of Teaching is sponsoring this three-day immersion into the latest thinking, approaches, and tools for creating faith formation in a connected, digital world.

Topics include:

  • Develop skills for digital faith formation
  • Explore faith and spirituality in the digital age
  • Learn how to integrate digital approaches into faith formation with all ages and generations

Who should attend? Clergy, faith formation leaders, educators in schools and seminaries, media professionals, chaplains and campus minsters, regional and national church leaders, and publishers.

Find out more on their website.

Vibrant Faith @ Home Plus trainings

Vibrant Faith @ HomeVibrant Faith @ Home, a ministry of Vibrant Faith Ministries, has designed a half-day workshop to give leaders strategies and tools to empower families to grow in faith at home. Topics include:

Analytics Don’t Lie
Ever send faith stuff home? How do you know it gets used? Based on site analytics this session will identify ten characteristics of a faith-forming activity that will actually get used at home.

Using Digital Media to Connect at Home
Families of all ages and stages use media and networking tools 24/7 to access the info they and connect with those they want. Do the families of your congregation have access to the faith resources they need and want? In this session, participants will look at specific strategies and tools to help.

Home / Parish Partnership
Explore practical, doable, and effective ways to build connections between congregational programs and family/home life. Extend such programs as Sunday School, children’s religious education, youth ministry, adult Bible study and faith formation, Confirmation and other Sacramental preparation, even Sunday worship into the home.

Workshops are led by Leif Kehrwald, Team Leader for Vibrant Faith @ Home, a service of Vibrant Faith Ministries. Here are the dates and locations:

  • March 20, 2013 : Twin Cities Area
  • March 21, 2013: Sauk Rapids, MN
  • April 9, 2013: Corvallis, OR
  • April 16, 2013: San Jose, CA
  • April 18, 2013: San Diego, CA
  • April 19, 2013: Thousand Oaks, CA
  • May 2, 2013: Omaha, NE
  • May 30, 2013: Richmond, VA
  • November 5, 2013: Tampa, FL

Visit Vibrant Faith’s website for details and registration information.

Faith Formation Trainings Upcoming

21st C Faith FormationAs you’ve probably noticed, I am a fan of the 21st Century Faith Formation trainings offered by Vibrant Faith Ministries. A few dates are still available:

  • February 25-27, Denver, CO
  • (only 3 Openings left)
  • March 5-7, Seattle, WA
  • March 11-13 San Diego, CA
  • March 14-16, San Jose, CA

Register online

Also, Vibrant Faith Ministries posted in a recent email that they are planning to bring the “Vision & Practice of 21st Century Faith Formation” in the Spring and Summer 2013 (May-August) to the following locations:

  • Atlanta
  • Ohio (Cincinnati Area)
  • Nashville
  • New England (Boston Area)
  • New Jersey
  • New York State
  • Omaha
  • Phoenix
  • Milwaukee
  • Washington DC

Know of other great training opportunities? Post them in the comments to share with the rest of the EpiscoYouth community.

21st Century Faith Formation trainings upcoming

We received emails yesterday announcing the upcoming training sessions for 21st Century Faith Formation, featuring the leadership of John Roberto (LifelongFaith Associates & Vibrant Faith Ministries) and guest presenters Leif Kehrwald and Anna Rendell (Vibrant Faith Ministries).

The Episcopal Church has been partnering with John Roberto on several strategic initiatives in Lifelong Faith Formation. We are also hearing great reviews of this particular continuing education opportunity. Check it out! And if you do, send us your best learning as a guest blogger!

The Vision and Practice of 21st Century Faith Formation is a three-day interactive educational program for pastors, faith formation leaders, and staff in all Christian congregations.

  • Understand the new context of faith formation and the diverse religious and spiritual needs of all generations
  • Understand the emerging vision of 21st century learning and faith formation in a connected, networked, digital world
  • Discover a variety of 21st century approaches and resources for faith formation in the congregation, at home, and online
  • Learn how to design faith formation that addresses the religious and spiritual needs of all ages and generations, and uses the new digital media and web technologies
  • Develop the skills for becoming a learning architect and faith formation curator

Remaining dates are:

  • January 29-31, 2013, Dallas – Ft. Worth, TX
  • February 25-27, 2013, Denver, CO
  • March 5-7, 2013, Seattle, WA
  • March 11-13, 2013, San Diego, CA
  • March 14-16, 2013, San Jose, CA

Registration is $295 tuition + $60 for lunch & refreshments per person and $195 tuition + $60 for lunch & refreshments for each additional person from the same organization.