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…]

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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.