The following is an entry I contributed to “The Encyclopedia of Christian Education” ed. George Thomas Kurian and Mark A. Lamport (Rowman & LIttlefield) that was published in 2015. This three volume set is a comprehensive resource of 1,200 entries by 400 contributors that most likely can be found in a theological library or institution. I also wrote entries for “Fund for Theological Education,” “Denominational Publishing,” “Ecumenical Publishing,” and “Division of Christian Education for the National Council of Churches.” My hope is that this gives those of you who work in Christian educational ministries in the Episcopal Church some context into the roots and history of education from our denomination.
The Episcopal Church is rooted in a history of preparing individuals for proclaiming the gospel locally and internationally since it was established in 1789 as an American denomination. The creation of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society in 1835 had led to the establishment of a Board of Missions and then, later in the century, A General Board of Religious Education and a Joint Commission on Social Service. In 1919, the General Convention directed the Presiding Bishop and Council to administer and carry on the missionary, education, and social work of the Church, building upon the corporate model of business that much of America was following. Continue reading Christian Education in The Episcopal Church: A Brief History
I spent the last few days of January in Houston, Texas attending Forma‘s 18th Annual Conference. It was a jam-packed few days filled with excellent workshops, outstanding speakers, and (most importantly for me) a chance to network and learn from colleagues from across the United States (and beyond) about new ideas, joys, and struggles in the world of lifelong Christian formation in the Episcopal Church.
There have been several Forma members who have shared their perspective of the event that you can read, including Kyle Oliver of the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Seminary who wrote about keynoter Brene Brown’s keynote. For those of you who are not familiar with Dr. Brown, it’s best to view her TED Talk regarding vulnerability. The best summary I can give of her amazing talk was what I put out on Twitter during the presentation (@rowsofsharonp). All her quotes:
- I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for Christian formation.
- If you want to form people with god you need to inspire them
- fear + anxiety + shame = scarcity
- The casualty of fear and scarcity is faith
- We can be a place that doesn’t offer certainty but that offers love
- Leading from scarcity moves people away.
- How many of you have a gratitude practice?
- how many of you incorporate gratitude practices into your ministry?
- Knowledge is only rumor until you live it in your bones
- Children need a place of belonging that is not school
- It is our job – formation folk – is to accept ppl for who they are and offer a space to belong
- I’ve never been asked to choose intellect over faith in the Episcopal Church
- Shame only works when you feel you’re alone. Embrace empathy.
- Our kids are desperate for boundaries.
- Difference between entitlement and privilege is gratitude
- Hopelessness + shame = violence. We need to cultivate hope and offer an alternative.
Continue reading The Art of Forming Faithful People: Forma 2015