Category Archives: Teacher Training

A Back to Basics Q & A

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?

A. The Episcopal Church does not have an authorized, published curriculum for any age. If anything, all of what is taught should be based on The Baptismal Covenant and An Outline of the Faith (also known as The Catechism found in the Book of Common Prayer. However, the Episcopal Church, via a General Convention resolution and Task Force assigned for its implementation, created a seminal text: Called To Teach and Learn: A Catechetical Vision and Guide for the Episcopal Church  (1994). Every church was sent one. Many churches put them on the bookshelf or in a closet and never opened its covers. You can download it here, as well as a companion piece written by The Rev. Canon Joe Russell, Discovering Called to Teach and Learn. The Spanish version is here. Continue reading A Back to Basics Q & A


Program Year Countdown Resources

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

Planning Calendar for 2016-2017

Keep_Calm_and_PlanB_onYou’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

Youth Ministry Training

YouthSilouettesChurches 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

Words! Words! Words!

the_tongue_is_a_fire_by_kevron2001-d8agegdA 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!