Guest Blog: 2016 Annual Faith Formation Leaders Conference, October 6-8

GUEST BLOG: Province I

ALTERNATIVE MODELS OF SUNDAY SCHOOL/FAITH FORMATION

Faith formation leaders from across Province I gather each fall for informal networking, resource sharing, and continuing education (2014 The Once and Future Church, Lisa Kimball and Tricia Lyons; 2015 Faith @ Home, Wendy Barrie).

For 2016, the planning team decided to look local. Our goal was to identify practitioners that are facing shifts in children, youth, family, and adult participation in faith formation and finding creative models to meet their needs and interests. This year's format blends longer, interactive presentations with short, structured ways to learn from one another. The presentations include

  • Messy Church: Creative Worship for Busy Families - Learn how two Massachuttes churches have partnered to offer an innovative intergenerational way of being church for all ages and stages.  Part of the Fresh Expressions movement in the United Kingdom, Messy Church is a growing model for worship and faith formation in the United States. It is a montly gathering of creative play, celebration, and dinner around a christ-centered theme. The Rev. Laura Goodwin, St. Andrews, North Grafton, MA and The Rev. Lisa Green, St John's Sutton, MA, will share experiences and resources from their successful first year.
  • Going Where the People Are - Formation for Tiny Congregations - Wonder how to engage folks when there are not enough people, time, or resources for a "regular" program. Linnae Peterson, NH Coordinator for Christian Formation, will lead our conversation on how to use existing groups and gatherings as places to create learning opportunities.This process works well in many settings, particularly very small parishes.
  • Online and Hybrid Faith Formation - Emily Keniston, ME Coordinator for Christian Education, will lead the conversation about ways technology can support and enhance one's ministry.  In addition to supporting families at home, the conversation will explore administrative shortcuts, using technology for collaboration between churches, and preparing volunteers to teach. This interactive workshop include an invitaiton for you to share your experiences and lend your voice, particularly sharing strategies that work.
  • Learning with Legos - Sometimes a small Sunday school allows for more creative teaching methods.  Amy Cook, DioMA Missioner for Education, Formation and Discipleship, shows how one small church creates movies of Bible stories using legos, an iPhone, a computer, and the creativity and talent of the one to eight children who happen to show up that Sunday.  
  • Living Compass - Amy Cook, DioMA Missioner for Education, Formation and Discipleship, is an enthusiastic champions of this faith-filled approach to wellness that helps churches become centers of wellness and healing in their communnities.  It can be used both for formation and discipleship of church members as well as outreach to the community,  This session introduces the wide variety of programs available for adults, parents, and youth that include 6-week small groups, 4-week parish classes, Lenten and Advent programs and online resources.  Materials are flexible, inexpensive and well laid out. 
  • Understanding Our Contexts and Colleagues - Julie Lytle, Executive Director of Province I, will introduce faith formation as a living system using Margaret Wheatley's "Two Loops." We will literally map our contexts, recognize the strengths and challenges of differing perspectives, and use insights from the mapping exercise to explore ways to overcome obstacles to change. 

There will also be

  • Resource Spaces - share what you have, take what you need
  • Social - time to reconnect with established friends and meet new faith formation colleagues
  • Speed Dating - short interactions to share stories about our ministries and whats working (whats not) with one another

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    There are two options for participation.

    OPTION A: The full workshop begins with dinner at 6 pm at Barbara C Harris Camp and Conference Center on Thursday, October 6 and concludes with lunch on Saturday, October 8.  All meals are included with a range of lodging options including a private lodge room, shared adult cabin (4 per building) or the bunk house (16 in the building).

    OPTION B: For those who can only get away one night, you can join us for dinner at 6 pm on Friday for half the cost. 

    We have attempted to keep the cost for this offering low. All conference costs are being paid by a Province 1 Sowing Seeds of God's Mission Grant. Still, our goal is to eliminate obstacles to participation.  If you or your community can help offset costs for someone else to participate, please consider a donation. If you need help, please contact Julie Lytle, executive.director@province1.org, about the potential for a partial scholarship. 

    REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS September 15, 2015.  CLICK HERE.
    Participation is limited; there are 30 spaces.  Sign Up Now!!