From time to time the Forma Facebook Group has a post from someone (clergy, youth minister, Christian educator) who is asking if anyone has a “rubric” for what children should learn in each year of “Sunday School” (or whatever you call it). I don’t want to disparage anyone who asks such a question; we live in a culture of moving from one milestone to another and having to “prove ourselves” in our accomplishments – especially if you want to “move on” to the next step, phase, class, or even graduate with that degree. And often employment, promotion, or a raise is determined by our success. But honestly, this question drives me nuts.
For those of you who have known me for years, I get this sort of question all the time. What curriculum should we be using? What should we be teaching? What does the Church (in my case, the Episcopal Church) say we need to teach? To that I always answer, “There is no one answer. Tell me about your context.” What would Jesus say? “Love one another.”
I don’t want to rehash my mantra here. (I’m saving that for other subsequent posts in the coming weeks as I dig through old boxes of books, articles, and research papers written.) But I will share what I have learned in my 40 years of ministry – benchmarks don’t form disciples of Christ.
Continue reading Benchmarks for Christians
The Way of Love
Over the past several months, The Way of Love has always been on my desk in one form or another. As part of the Presiding Bishop’s Working Group to create resources for the Church based on the seven practices of following Jesus. It’s been fun (and quite a ride) working with a creative bunch of Christian educators from across the Episcopal Church. I’ve created two particular resources for Church Publishing: The Way of Love for Families and An Intergenerational Gathering for the Way of Love. I was also excited to work with Mary Bea Sullivan of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama in bringing her Living the Way of Love: A 40-Day Devotional to publication in record time.
Many have asked for children and youth ministry resources for The Way of Love. You can certainly adapt the Families and Intergenerational materials I created above to fit your needs. Gratefully, many of you have been creating your own, or tweaking what exists to fit your ministries. Keep checking back to The Way of Love “official” website where seasonal resources are continually being updated and offered. Much of The Way of Love is created for “open space” sharing, meaning if you have created something – submit it to The Way of Love email addressor through this form. Those of us (myself included) on The Way of Love Working Group will review and be in touch if this is something shareable on the website so others can learn and use also.
Are you aware of these newly posted resources? Chris Sikkema has been Traveling the Way of Love. His first episode focused on Bless. Join him in the second episode from Jackson Hole, Wyoming where he focuses on Rest. Love the Tetons!
Resources for Eastertide are now available, with a focus on Go. Here you will find images to use as well as ideas for evangelism – yes, going out into the world to spread the Good News of Jesus in the neighborhood. If you tapped into any Way of Love resource during Lent, there is a “Test Kitchen” of Life Transformed on Facebook, where you can share how you are practicing Go and hear what others are doing.
And stay tuned for a September book by Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of Washington on Receiving Jesus: The Way of Love. It is available for pre-order now here.
Church Publishing Incorporated’s editorial team now has a Monday Facebook posting (around 9:00am ET) entitled “Mondays with the Editors.” So every three weeks or so I’ll have a post there (which in the past I would have written here). Follow CPI on Facebook to keep up with me and my colleagues to see what inspires us. These were my recent posts:
Going Beyond Books (12/10/18)
As Advent begins, it has become my tradition to review what has occurred over the past year, including projects worked on and events that have impacted my life. I gather favorite photos, remember trips taken, and the joys and challenges that have gone before. I begin to write my family’s annual Christmas letter which has become a way of my husband and I to reflect and give thanks. As an editor who has had the privilege of caring for the words of others that will be shared in the form of a published work, I am grateful that is role has taken me on a journey with so many, learning their story as well as developing collegial relationships and sometimes building upon friendships that began long before a book was even a dream.
Such is the memory from November, in which I was honored to “vest” Jenifer Gamber as she was ordained to the transitional diaconate at Washington National Cathedral. I was a friend and colleague long before co-writing (Call on Me) and editing (My Faith, My Lifeand Your Faith, Your Life). And to my joy, many other Christian formation friends also attended; that’s what we do––show up at life’s moments to support one another. And so now I have another photo to remind me of how grateful I am to have friends that I also get to “work” with; women who lead the way in helping make the Church (and the world) a better place. Alongside Jenifer, Wendy Claire Barrie (Faith at Home: A Handbook for Cautiously Christian Parents), and Emily Slichter Given (Building Faith Brick by Brick Iand II) together we have celebrated many milestones in our lives. Being their editor is just icing on the cake, being a friend is what I value most.
Continue reading Mondays with the Editors
Fall 2018 saw the launch of a bunch of great books I have edited and Spring 2019 is looking just as exciting.
One new area I have helped grow for Church Publishing is children’s books. I loved to read as a child which translated into weekly trips to the library with my children and helping to fill my almost 4-year-old granddaughter’s bedroom shelves with picture books that are multi-cultural, funny, environmental, justice-oriented, inclusive, and empowering (especially to girls). So I am always on the lookout for beautiful religious books too. So I am proud of two titles that I hope fill the shelves of church school classrooms, Godly Play rooms, and of course, the homes of children. Anna V. Ostenso Moore’s wonderfully inclusive Today is a Baptism Day is beautifully illustrated by Peter Krueger. And this month is the launch of Candle Walk: A Bedtime Prayer to God by Karin Holsinger Sherman that just appeared on my doorstep. Both are appropriate for children ages 3-10, but I believe parents and teachers will love them also.
Continue reading New Books!
Every three years The Episcopal Church gathers in what is known as General Convention to consider a wide range of important matters facing the Church ranging from liturgical revision to social justice initiatives, budgetary matters to theological discussions, and so much more. Some call it a grand family reunion that brings representatives (lay, clergy, and bishops) from all the 110 dioceses of The Episcopal Church together for ten days (more like two weeks). Officially, General Convention is the governing body of The Episcopal Church; it is a bicameral legislature that includes the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops, composed of deputies and bishops from each diocese. In July 2018, the 79th General Convention will be held in Austin, Texas hosted by the Diocese of Texas.
Leading up to this triennial meeting, various committees, commissions, agencies, boards, and task forces created by the 78th General Convention meet to study and propose legislation to be discussed and voted upon in Austin. While most Episcopalians are oblivious to the machinations of General Convention, the decisions that are made at this gathering has an impact on what can (and should) be happening in local congregations as each of us are members of this church body. For example, decisions that effect every church goers that was approved at previous conventions include: the use of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, the election of our current Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, the ordination of women, the inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in all aspects of church life, and full-communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). Continue reading Looking Toward General Convention