Tag Archives: Facebook

Springtime is for . . . Confirmation (among other things)

Alleluia! He is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

confirmationFor many congregations, the time is drawing near when the bishop will make his or her annual visitation to confirm all those young people who have been preparing for confirmation. Classes were probably held during the Lenten season (or hopefully have been since September), so things are winding up. Perhaps those who were baptized at the Easter Vigil will be presented for confirmation, but most likely youth are finishing up their classes, writing their faith statements or letters to their bishop, and parents are planning the party to be held after the big event.

The Sunday after the rite of Confirmation is celebrated, most of those newly confirmed will be sleeping in, as well as their parents and siblings. The Sunday after a confirmation is often like the Sunday after Easter. “Low Sunday” in church-speak. Hopefully, they will be back in a few weeks, but as is the case in so many families, confirmation is one of those rituals that brings parents back to church to have their child “get done.” And for confirmation, that will mean they’ve been “signed, sealed, and delivered” into adulthood. Their rite of passage. Their graduation from faith formation. The parental responsibility of “bringing up their child in the Christian faith” has been accomplished.

For those who know me personally, you know I’m pretty passionate about this topic. Who (and how) we prepare youth for confirmation, and how we connect with parents about their role in this “mature decision” and lifelong commitment, is something I believe we (the Church = clergy, educators, vestries, parents, congregations) need to address. We need to have conversations about our own experiences and what we believe the role confirmation has in the life of today’s teens as well as what it means to a congregation. If we had a better understanding of why we feel the way we do about confirmation, I believe we would be “doing it” differently.

SignedSealedDeliveredI felt so strongly about this, I invited a group of colleagues in the Episcopal Church to contribute to a book that was recently published. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Theologies of Confirmation for the 21st Century offers a historical perspective of how this rite came to be (liturgically, sacramentally, and theologically), essays from bishops, priests, scholars, and Christian formation leaders, and a discussion guide for small groups and congregations to share their own theology of confirmation.

I invite you to read the book (via print or for your e-reader). Join in the conversation – here or on the book’s Facebook page. In the coming week’s I’ll be posting some reactions and resources.

What is YOUR theology of confirmation?

To blog, to tweet, to pin, to dream

Rows of Sharon seems to have fallen off my radar screen (in a way) as other social media and writing assignments have usurped by on-line time. So here’s how I’m making up for lost reflections here.

It’s an interesting world we live in today, and as a digital immigrant, I’m having fun learning all the ins and outs of the various avenues that seem to open up each day. I’ve just succumbed to linking my personal e-mail (via gmail) to Google+. I’m still not sure what the enhancement will be to being part of “circles” yet, but as they say, “You’ve got to be in it, to win (participate) in it.”

For those who’ve told me they can’t keep track of all the blogs, websites and other digital pieces I manage, I figured I’d run down all of them here in one place. Not just to share with you, but to list them all in one place.

E-mail – that goes without saying. Being a remote staff person for Church Publishing (I am one of many as more and more of us can easily do our jobs using today’s technology in which we are a simple conference call, “Go To Meeting,” or “Web-Ex” connection away.

Blogs – That’s where the time gets eaten up. I oversee many of these; some more intensely than others. Building Faith is sponsored by CPI and has an article posted everyday. Thankfully, I have a cadre of great educators who contribute an article or two each month. Otherwise, all articles come from me – either personally written or searched for from other avenues in the public sphere. I also post weekly to the site that corresponds to my book, The Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education. I list the lectionary readings for the coming week with some reflection questions for personal or group use. There are some for my work with the Standing Commission on Christian Formation and Education: The Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation & Education and Building the Continuum.

Facebook – of course! What started as a simple way to keep connected with friends (which it still is) has become a major way in which I share resources, ideas and information with colleagues, educators and others. I administer several Facebook groups – professional and personal. There’s one for each of the blogs I administer, my church (where I’m Jr. Warden),  St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wilton, Connecticut, plus I share oversight with others from CPI for Church Publishing, Living the Good News and Weaving God’s Promises. Thankfully, many of the blog postings automatically are set to also post to their particular FB pages, so I don’t need to manually make all the connections work all the time.

Twitter – You can find me at @rowsofsharonp. I’m amazed that I have 254 followers! Most days my blogs posts are simply pushed to Twitter and if I come across an article or new resource, I tweet that. At events I’m more active, such as the recent Children, Youth and a New Kind of Christianity Conference this past May in Washington, DC. I expect I’ll be tweeting at Kanuga’s Christian Formation Conference next week and during July at General Convention. Follow me!

Pinterest – This is the latest one in which I am still learning and adding from time to time. At first it seemed this was a social media site for collecting and sharing recipes, the latest fashions and shoe styles. None of which I have the slightest interest in. However, I do try to keep my bibliographies and book lists up to date for when folks ask for recommendations. And lately I have not been doing well at that. So . . . why not create a virtual site that directly links to books, categorized by topic and ministry category! Check it out and let me know what titles you believe should be added to each “board.”

LinkedIn – I’m “there” too, but it’s pretty static. I’m not looking for a job and the conversations seem to be a bit of a stretch. So no efforts going into that one.

Stumbling, Tweeting, Blogging – oh my!

“Lions, tigers and bears – oh my!”

That used to be the line when starting along the wilderness path toward the unknown. For many, using social media is that same murky and dark forest. And it seems I have entered the woods in recent months!

As a Christian educator who prides herself on being able to communicate and share ideas and discoveries with others, the use of webinars, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, You Tube and Stumble Upon has opened a whole new world. But what does that have to do with Christian formation, teaching and spreading the Gospel?

Technology and digital media are transforming the ways we live. We are a global society. While there is still nothing like face-to-face community and relationships, utilizing web-based technologies and digital media to provide faith formation in virtual spaces (online) and being able to extend and deepen faith formation that takes place in physical places is a growing field. By providing online content (print, audio, video), interactive experiences, and connecting individuals with people from around the world (and in your backyard) learning and sharing God’s Word can be transformative in a whole new way.

I continue to believe that Christian formation is still about forming relationships at its core. It’s meeting face-to-face and sharing one’s faith questions, hopes & dreams, and encounters with the Holy One. But using social media can help spread the Word, the resources, the ideas and the learnings to so many more. The forest (or world wide web) doesn’t have to be that scary place that one enters with her lion, tin man or scarecrow anymore!

Would Jesus be on Facebook?

Being connected through various forms of social media is becoming an important networking tool for the 21st century. Whether you Twitter, are LinkedIN or on Facebook (plus the myriad of others social networking sites that I’m continually discovering) have you ever thought of how Jesus would communicate in today’s world?

A friend posted this link on her Facebook status and it intrigued me enough to take a look. And at first I thought it was pretty lame. But upon further reading to the end of the page, I realized this was a pretty cool way to share the Good News and follow how Jesus and his “Facebook friends” might have stayed connected through Holy Week and after the Resurrection.

How many “friends” would he have? 777,777,777,777?

Would you accept an invitation to a Pentecost Party? What would you bring? Who else would you invite to join you?

The High Priests gave Judas a gift of 30 pieces of silver? Would you want to give a gift to any of the disciples?

Give it a look. Even though it may be tongue-in-cheek, this site might make an interesting ‘culture source’ for theological reflection or group study. What question might you post to Jesus on his page if he were to be YOUR friend on Facebook?