After phone calls, emails, text messages, and social media queries here are three Educational Planning Calendars for your formation needs following the three lectionary cycles: Years A, B, and C. I have formatted them in Word so you can download and adapt to your own circumstances, adding in the dates each year. I have removed dates, so when you download the document you can add them depending on the year you are constructing.
Since the church calendar is a “movable feast” each year as the date of Easter always changes, each “Proper” lectionary readings are listed during “Ordinary Time” (the Season of Epiphany and the Season after Pentecost). You will need to determine which Proper to begin with day of the season, such as 5 Pentecost / The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost. Note, Just because a Sunday may be 5 Pentecost, it does not mean that Proper 5 is used.
Many churches have lay people who take on the volunteer role of adult education chair, children’s ministries coordinator, or youth group leader. Some churches have the luxury (and budget) to have a staff person (clergy or lay) who hold a position that oversees formation ministries. For the most part, especially our smallest congregations and those with part-time clergy, the “task” of Christian formation is part of the priest-in-charge’s portfolio. Enter the ministry of all the baptized: How can lay people in the congregation be trained to assist the clergy in the formation of God’s people – especially in the realm of preparation for Baptism, Confirmation, Reception, or Renewal of Baptismal Vows? Consider discerning whether you or someone in your congregation is called to be a lay catechist.
According to the Constitutions and Canons of the Episcopal Church,
“a Catechist is a lay person authorized to prepare persons for Baptism, Confirmation, Reception, and the Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows, and shall function under the direction of the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith” Canon 111.4.8.
Licenses for all canonical lay ministries (catechist, preacher, evangelist, worship leader, pastoral care) are issued by the bishop of one’s diocese.
I am pleased to announce that I will be teaching a course forBexley-Seabury Seminary’s Pathways for Baptismal Living School beginning on Tuesday, April 11, 2021 for a total of seven sessions, ending on May 29 for the Catechist License. The school’s mission includes providing “life-long, life-wide & life-deep learning for ALL the baptized.” My hope is that my course will provide the tools for those who desire to “up their game” as a Christian educator of children, youth, and/or adults and ultimately, to be certified as a lay Catechist in the Episcopal Church by their bishop.
This seven-session blended (synchronous and asynchronous) course will prepare you to teach/form God’s people. Each week we will engage in independent study, asynchronous discussions, and live web conversations to gain comfort and confidence developing and leading formational offerings. All from the comfort of your home (or office).
SESSION 1: Theology of Formation SESSION 2: Faith Development Across the Age Span SESSION 3: Curriculum Development SESSION 4: Delving Into Scripture SESSION 5: Sacramental Preparation: Baptism SESSION 6: Sacramental Preparation: Confirmation SESSION 7: Putting It all Together
I’m happy to answer any questions; to set up a phone call, send me an email. And if you don’t feel called to the ministry of Lay Catechist, perhaps you are called to be an Evangelist, Preacher, or Worship Leader. Pathways for Baptismal Living has a course for you also, plus much more.
I admit, while I like to plan for the future, I also look to the past. Recently I have been cleaning out boxes that have been in storage; boxes full of papers and notes from conferences and classes of years gone by. The cartons have included books, mostly old titles regarding “Religious Education,” including a number written by Dora Chaplin, a woman who paved the way for many of us Christian educators.
Dr. Chaplin, who was educated in England, taught at General Seminary from 1953 until retiring in 1971. In 1964 she was named a full professor, the first woman to become a full professor at the Episcopal seminary. Before that she was affiliated with the National Council of the Episcopal Church. She died in 1990 at the age of 84 and was a well-known writer of articles on religion and spirituality as well as the author of several books, including ”The Privilege of Teaching” (Morehouse-Barlow, 1962) and ”Children and Religion” (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1948). It is of this first book noted that I would like to share some “back to the future” insights.
Written more than fifty years ago, the content of her books exhibit the language of her time: masculine language for God, women as teachers, men as ordained, and Sunday School as a growing phenomena of the Church. While today is different: inclusive language for God, women in ordained leadership, and church attendance along with Sunday School participation declining, much of her theses can still apply to today. So here are some nuggets to ponder . . . remember this was published in 1962 . . .
We all have gifts, graces, and talents given to us by God. As Christians, we are called to serve God and use these gifts, graces, and talents. Congregations would not be able to offer its programs or opportunities for ministry without volunteers. Leadership is often “tasked” with finding volunteers to serve a variety of roles, including that of teacher and mentor for children and youth. It’s not about recruiting warm bodies, it as about an invitation into ministry. Here are some tips and pointers to invite others to share their gifts through the ministries of teaching and learning in your congregation. It is a call to ministry.
The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Matthew 9:37
vol·un·teer – n. one who chooses freely to do something vt. To offer or give of one’s own free will. vi. To offer to enter into service of one’s own free will.
Why do people volunteer?
They want to be needed
They want to help others and make a difference
They want to learn new skills or use skills they already have
They want to belong to a caring community and feel accepted as members
They seek self-esteem and affirmation
They want to grow in their faith and share their God-given gifts
Recently I have been invited to give workshops in numerous locations on the basics; the core documents and key websites that I believe anyone involved in Christian formation with children, youth, or adults needs to know about. For January’s Forma Conference workshop, I put together a handout where they are all located in one place.
But for those who want the documents with more of an explanation – here goes. Think of it as a catechism for Episcopal educators: a question with some answers. These are the questions I am frequently asked, and how I respond:
Q. What is the curriculum authorized by the Episcopal Church?