I can always tell when mid-August hits. The peepers are loud outside my windows at night and in the morning my in-box is full of queries: How do I access my curriculum subscription? Do you have a teacher commissioning service? I can’t find your planning calendar. What do you recommend for first communion instruction (with the caveat – “I know, but the parents were raised Catholic.”). The same questions appear year after year and I’ve tried to curate many of those answers within this site.
So here are some links (or documents) in one place to help finalize all those last-minute details as you prepare (or have already begun) to start your Christian education program year. Continue reading Program Year Countdown Resources
You’ve asked and have been waiting … here it is – the Educational Planning Calendar for the academic year of 2016-2017 which begins with the first Sunday in June 2016 (3 Pentecost – Year C) and runs through August 27, 2017 (12 Pentecost – Year A).
Here is how it is laid out: Continue reading Planning Calendar for 2016-2017
Churches have a variety of understanding as to what constitutes “youth.” For some this incorporates all ministry with those under 18 years of age (in High School and below). For others, it means teenagers. And there is a huge disparity in the attention span, interests, physical development, and maturity between a 13-year-old (Middle Schooler) and 18-year-old (soon-to-graduate High Schooler). Add the new label of a Tween (older elementary / early Middle School) individual who is living in two worlds – one of a child and one of a teen; an “in-between-er.”
There are a variety of curricular programs and resources for all of these age levels. But it takes an astute volunteer or youth leader to know the different needs of each group and how best to minister with them.
Recently someone posted a request on the Forma Facebook Group page for ideas as to where one might go to receive further training or continuing education in youth ministry. And of course, there was an abundance of suggestions. So, with thanks to all those folks, here are the organizations and conferences they’ve listed, plus a few that I’m aware of: Continue reading Youth Ministry Training
A sermon preached at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, Houston, Texas on Sunday, September 13, 2015.
Proper 19, Year B:
Isaiah 50:4-9 James 3:1-12 Mark 8:27-38
I’ll admit – I’m a Broadway musical junkie. And for the past few weeks in listening to the Letter from James all I hear in my head is Eliza Doolittle singing,
Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words!
I get words all day through; first from him, now from you!
Is that all you blighters can do?
We are inundated with words. Words from politicians, words from individuals who feel they represent us, words from people seeking justice, words from people seeking help. Words telling us what to do and what to believe. Words telling us we are right, telling us we are wrong.
Words are important. They often define who we are, where we come from, and what we are feeling. Words have power. Whoever invented the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” never had a bully taunt them, a parent scold him, a fiancée break an engagement, or a doctor give her a cancer diagnosis. Words cut deep.
And we hear words in church. God’s Word – and words from those who seek to help us recognize a connection between the Gospel and our lives. Continue reading Words! Words! Words!
I have written about the VUCA World since attending a conference many years ago (Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes) that featured Bob Johansen of the Institute for the Future. His research and predictions struck a chord with me and I continue to be reminded of his predictions as they are being lived out today – even though he spoke of these issues emerging in the future. The future is just as much a part of our past and present as they will be fifty or one hundred years from now.
Redding Voice offers a good overview at New Leadership Skills:
Bob also spoke about his earlier book Get There Early: Sensing the Future to Compete in the Present – look for what you have in common, not what you are polarized about. The Book of Provocation, written for the Episcopal Church, is a product of IFTF and CEEP. Bob said “Faith will live in the space between judging too soon and deciding too late.” The Book of Provocation highlights 15 sources of provocation for the Episcopal Church from the custom ten year forecast map. For each provocation the author suggests dilemmas that are likely to be raised for Episcopal churches if this forecast comes to pass, as well as discerning questions for church members to consider.
This VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) can also lead to opportunities (vision, understanding, clarity, and agility) in the present moment. Several polarities are being lived out in our country today that he names: the Rich/Poor Gap, Polarizing Extremes, and Urban Wilderness.
As we have watched young black men die and our cities have been filled with events of violence, hatred, and polarity the Church has again named the sin of racism that is alive and well in our society. At the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, three resolutions were put forth regarding resources for discussing racism and anti-racism training. And funding was provided for the creation of new resources in the triennial budget.
But what about now? What is available for our congregations to delve into this fall as a new program year arrives? Here are a few that are available to begin the conversation, according to each resolution: Continue reading Resources for Discussing Racism