Forming All Generations in Faith: A Position Paper
The following statement is a collaborative position paper from representatives of a variety of formation networks in The Episcopal Church. If you would like to add your name as an individual endorser to this document, please submit your name, church, diocese and role in Christian formation to email@example.com. You may also download this document here, to share with your bishops and deputies as they prepare for General Convention.
FORMING ALL GENERATIONS IN FAITH
Christian Formation IS a Priority for The Episcopal Church
Why should this be a priority?
The Episcopal Church carries out God’s mission through the ministry of all its members, which is dependent on the formation and education of all ages – children (0-12), youth (13-18), young adults (18-35), adults (over 35) and older adults. This is a lifelong journey, requiring a multitude of opportunities for learning and reflection. Theological education takes place in many arenas: the home, community, congregation and institutions of higher learning.
Our Baptismal Promises commend us to continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers. We are continually being formed as Christians by being equipped to proclaim the Gospel, offering service to others, advocating for justice and peace, and respecting all persons. It is a lifelong journey.
Why should we have a denominational formation office?
Of the 109 dioceses in The Episcopal Church . . .
- 15 dioceses (14%) have a staff person who oversees Christian formation that includes ministry to children and adults (lifelong)
- 55 dioceses (50%) have a staff person who oversees youth and / or young adult ministry
- 6 dioceses (5%) have a staff person whose sole responsibility is campus ministry (who are located in a diocesan office). This does not include all those dioceses who financially support chaplains on college campuses, of which there are many.
- 10 dioceses (9%) have a Resource Center
- 44 dioceses (40%) do not have any staff person to support any age level of (non-ordained) Christian formation ministries
What has The Episcopal Church said in recent years?
On the church-wide level, an Office of Christian Formation & Vocation can provide the threads to connect those networks who work within dioceses and congregations in addressing specific aspects of Christian education and formation that cannot be done on the local level. Providing a vision, encouraging partnerships, identifying available resources through a central hub and fostering a holistic approach to lifelong Christian formation throughout The Episcopal Church can strengthen the ministry on the local level. Let this next triennium be a time when The Episcopal Church can develop strategies to strengthen diocesan and local networks. Together, we can continue the work that has just begun:
- The Five Marks of Mission calls Episcopalians to live out our faith in today’s world. Through education, we are equipped to live out Christ’s mission in the world. Mission and evangelism require an educational foundation that continually needs renewal.
- 2009 A082 affirmed the importance of formation in The Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation
- 2000 D045 affirmed that children are central to the mission of God, lifting up The Children’s Charter for the Church (1997 B005).
- 2009 A083 directed dioceses to formulate a strategy for lifelong Christian formation in the next triennium (Over these past three years, how many dioceses actually did this?).
- One third of The Episcopal Church is 65 years and older.
- According to an Executive Council Briefing on 1/27/12 (Price & Hadaway), congregations with younger members (children and young families) are more likely to grow. Families seek churches with strong Christian formation programs.
Christian education and formation is foundational to all that The Episcopal Church does – on the local, diocesan and church-wide level. Christian Formation in The Episcopal Church is lifelong growth in the knowledge, service and love of God as followers of Christ and is informed by Scripture, Tradition and Reason. For the Church to pass along the faith to future generations, its members must be equipped to experience, proclaim and invite others to share the Good News.
The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13
That IS the mission of God. It should be OUR priority.
Our future depends on it.
Download this document to share here.
- Forma (formerly National Association for Episcopal Christian Education Directors)
- Older Adult Ministries Task Force
- Episcopal Camp and Conference Centers, Inc.
- Standing Commission on Lifelong Christian Formation and Education
- National Organization of Episcopal Resource Centers (NOERC)
- Julie Lytle, Executive Director of Province One (Diocese of Massachusetts)
- Wendy Claire Barrie, Vice-President of Forma and Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministries at St. Bartholomew’s in New York City (Diocese of New York)
- Missy Morain, Co-Convenor of the Older Adult Ministries Task Force for The Episcopal Church and Director for Christian Formation for Children and Youth at St. Matthew’s, Pacific Palisades, CA (Diocese of Los Angeles)
- Nurya Love Parish, Associate Priest at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, MI (Diocese of Western Michigan)
- Peter Bergstrom, Executive Director of Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers, Inc.
- Lyle SmithGraybeal, President of Forma and Program Director for Renovare, USA. (Diocese of Colorado)
- Sharon Ely Pearson, member of the Standing Commission on Lifelong Christian Formation and volunteer Godly Play teacher at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Wilton, CT (Diocese of Connecticut), Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated
- Keane Akao, Chair of the Standing Commission on Lifelong Christian Formation and Education (Diocese of Hawaii)
- Kevin Montgomery, Co-Chair, Formation Cluster at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, Washington, DC (Diocese of Washington)
- Kellee Wattenbarger, Director of Christian Formation at St. Christopher’s Church, Springfield VA (Diocese of Virginia)
- Meg Wagner, Director of Christian Formation at Trinity Episcopal Church, Iowa City, IA (Diocese of Iowa)
- Linda Scott, Resource Center Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta
- Jimmy Jeffreys, Director of Christian Education at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Goldsboro, NC (Diocese of North Carolina)
- Laurie Bailey, Director of Christian Formation & Communications at Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans, LA (Diocese of Louisiana), Treasurer of Forma, Member Province IV Christian Formation Steering Committee, Member Standing Commission on Lifelong Christain Formation & Education
- Shannon Kelly, Christian Formation Consultant and Freelance Writer, canonically resident Diocese of Milwaukee and resident, Diocese of Southern Ohio
- Julia McCray-Goldsmith, Ministry Development Officer (Episcopal Diocese of California)
- Caren Miles, Director of Children and Family Ministries at Church of the Heavenly Rest, New York City (Diocese of New York)
- Becky Rochford, Coordinator of Christian Education at Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville, Tennessee (Diocese of Tennessee)
- Mindy Boynton, Children, Youth and Family Ministry at Ascension Episcopal Church in Stillwater, MN (Diocese of Minnesota)
- Michele Craig, Children’s & Youth Director at Christ Episcopal Church, Rockville, MD (Diocese of Washington DC)
- Wendy Billingslea, Associate Rector – Faith Formation at Christ Episcopal Church, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (Diocese of Florida)
- Patricia Mitchell, Priest, Canon for Christian Formation (Episcopal Diocese of New York)
- Carla McCook, Priest, Bishop’s Assistant for Christian Formation (Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee)
- Heidi Carter-Clark, Associate to the Rector for Parish Life and Family Ministries, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church. Creve Coeur MO (Diocese of Missouri), 2009-2012 SCLM CO56 Task Force Member, Volunteer J2A Mentor, Lifelong Learning Consultant with LeaderResources, Mother to an ever-in-formation 12 Year old Episcopalian, Current Member and former President of NAECED/Forma
- Dorothy S. Linthicum, Instructor/Program Coordinator at the Center for the Ministry of Teaching, Virginia Theological Seminary
- Kate Gillooly, Minister for Christian Formation and Program at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights OH (Diocese of Ohio)
- Donn Morgan, former dean and president of Church Divinity School of the Pacific, current professor of Old Testament (Diocese of California)
- Linda Sue von Rautenkranz, Deacon and Consultant for Formation & Youth Ministry, St. Paul’s, Plymouth Wisconsin (Diocese of Fond du Lac)
- Ben Linder, Director of Children’s & Youth Formation at Epiphany, Seattle (Diocese of Olympia)
- Sister Barbara Jean Brown, St. James, Millcreek (Diocese of Delaware)
- Kathy Monson Lutes, Priest, Province VI representative to Council on Lifelong Faith Formation (Formerly ECCE – Episcopal Council for Christian Education) (Diocese of Minnesota)
- Amy Haynie, Priest, St Martin in the Fields, Keller, Texas and Reconciliation Coordinator, Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, Director of Youth Ministries at parish level, Representative to Province VII Youth Ministry Network for the diocese
- Susanna Singer, PhD, Priest and Associate Professor of Ministry Development and Director, Doctor of Ministry Programs at Church Divinity School of the Pacific (Diocese of California)
- Sabrina Evans, Director of Christian Formation for the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma
- Kim Snodgrass, Youth Ministry Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri
- Deborah Bell Rodahaffer, Program Director at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Louisville, Kentucky; Province IV Christian Formation Steering Committee; Forma Past-President; Deputy to General Convention ’12, ’09, ’06; Education Legislative Committee ’12 and ’09 (Diocese of Kentucky)
- Jennifer S. Ogelby, St. James Episcopal Church in Essex Junction, Vermont and Director of Rock Point Summer Camp (Diocese of Vermont)
- Betty Kondrich, member of Church of the Good Shepherd (former Christian Education Director); Chair of the Adult Lay Formation Task Group (Diocese of Ohio)
- Catherine Drewry, Director of Children’s Ministries at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church Athens, Georgia; Member of: Province IV Christian Formation Steering Committee, Diocese of Atlanta Commission for Christian Faith Formation, Forma (Diocese of Atlanta)
- Mary Ann Kolakowski, member of St. Paul’s Pawtucket, Rhode Island; Former Diocesan Director of Christian Formation (position cut due to budget shortfall); Lay Deputy GC 2006, 2009, 2012 (Diocese of Rhode Island)
- Mary Lou Crifasi, Director of Christian Formation, Eastern Shore Chapel, Virginia Beach & Province III Co-coordinator for Christian Formation (Diocese of Southern Virginia)
- Janie Stevens, member Standing Commission for Lifelong Christian Formation, Forma (Diocese of Texas)
- Mary Perrin, Rector, St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church, Kalamazoo, MI (Diocese of Western Michigan) and Province V representative on The Episcopal Church’s Council for Life-Long Formation
- Eric Funston, Rector, St. Paul’s Parish in Medina, Ohio and Trustee of the Diocese of Ohio and chair of the Summit Mission Area Council (mission areas are this diocese’s equivalent of deaneries or convocations in other dioceses)
- Kit Carlson, Rector, All Saints Episcopal Church, East Lansing, Michigan
- Jane Alice Gober, Director of Christian Formation, Cathedral of St. John, Albuquerque, New Mexico (Diocese of the Rio Grande)
- Lisa Brown, Director of Children’s Ministry, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania (Diocese of Pittsburgh)
- Colin Haffner, Youth & Young Adult Coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane
- Jamie Martin Currie, Missioner for Christian Education for the Diocese of Texas
- Terra Cutlip, Warden, St. Paul’s Lewiston, New York (Diocese of Western New York)
- Amanda Musterman-Kiser, M.Div., Youth Ministries Coordinator, Christ Church Cathedral, Lexington, Kentucky (Diocese of Lexington)
- Barbara M. Billings, Director of Children’s Ministries at Church of the Redeemer, Bryn Mawr, PA (Diocese of Pennsylvania)
- Amy Cook, Missioner for education, formation & discipleship – Diocese of Massachusetts and President of NOERC
- Pamela Dunbar, Deacon, Missioner for Christian Formation & Youth Ministries for the Diocese of Dallas
- Laura M. Wells, Director of Christian Formation at St. Andrew’s On-the-Sound in Wilmington, North Carolina (Diocese of East Carolina)
- Christina Clark, Family and Youth Minister at St. Barnabas Parish, Denver, Colorado (Diocese of Colorado)
- Eric Travis, Missioner for Youth and Young Adults in the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan
- Kristina Gilbert, Director of Family Ministries at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, NC (Diocese of North Carolina
- Cindy Spencer, Coordinator of Children and Youth Ministries, Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, Washington (Diocese of Olympia); Province 8 Educators group; Province 8 representative to the Council for Lifelong Christian Formation
- Randall Curtis, Jr., Ministry Developer for Young Adults and Youth (The Episcopal Church in Arkansas); Board Member of Forrma; Province VII Coordinator for Youth Ministries
- Karen M. Meridith, Director, Education for Ministry, The School of Theology Programs Center, University of the South, Sewanee Tennessee
- Laurie Weeks, Director of Christian Education, St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Rochester, Michigan (Diocese of Michigan)
- Barbara Tensen Ross, Missioner for Lifelong Christian Formation, Diocese of Oregon; Christian Education Network Convener, Province VIII; General Convention Deputy appointed to the Education Committee; Member of Forma; Volunteer Godly Play storyteller at Prince of Peace in Salem, Oregon
- Kathy Graham, Director of Children’s Ministries at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Birmingham AL (Diocese of Alabama)
- Kim McPherson, Director of Religious Education at Saint John’s Cathedral in Denver (Diocese of Colorado)
- Lisa Puccio, Director of Family Ministry at Christ Church Cathedral, Houston; Forma (formerly NAECED) board member; Kids4Peace Houston Co-Director (Diocese of Texas)
- Beth Scriven, Associate Rector for Youth and Young Adults at St. Clare of Assisi Episcopal Church, Ann Arbor, MI (Diocese of Michigan).
- Valerie Bailey Fischer, Rector, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Teaneck, NJ (Diocese of Newark).