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At Holy Trinity, we recognize that one of the best gifts God has given us is each other. We believe we were made to love and support each other and to learn together. Because of this, the foundation of our congregation's learning is inter-generational. Our Faith Formation Team helps plan events and programs for all ages to Grow Together in Faith.
“Faith formation are the practices and opportunities—such as praying, worshiping, learning, celebrating, and serving–that engage an entire community in lifelong Christian formation and ongoing spiritual growth. It is not a trendy program, a one-stop-shopping curriculum, or a quick fix.” Lower Susquehanna Synod (http://www.lss-elca.org/resources/what-is-faith-formation/)
Over the past several months, the Faith Formation Team has worked with John Roberto, founder of LifeLongFaith Associates, to continue the process of defining, evaluating and adapting Holy Trinity’s faith formation programs to meet the needs of the current and future members of our faith community.
The changes made in April 2015 caused a sense of loss, hurt and frustration. When the changes were made (Yes, I (Scott Carson) was one of those people who recommended ending Sunday School. More about that at the very end), there was never the thought that GIFT was going to be the sole faith formation event. But, life at Holy Trinity got a bit confusing starting in the fall of 2015 and further work was put on hold.
Our goal to develop a holist short term and long term plan has been guided by the Ministry Site Profile (MSP), Congregational Assessment Tool (CAT), Transition Team data, conversations, surveys and research.
Some have wondered if the middle of the call process is really the time to be going through this process. Our thought is that we do not want to pass this work on to our new pastor. It would be unfair to him or her to take on such a task on their arrival. If we wait until he or she is settled in, then another year will have passed. Do we want the new pastor to provide insight, recommendations and guidance as we implement the plans? Absolutely. But it should be a program we developed.
The output of our meetings with John is a Faith Formation Plan (Version 1.0) to consider. Below is the Sunday portion of John Roberto’s proposal. He made other recommendations concerning Wednesday nights (building programs around the existing worship service) that will be shared for your thoughts next week. On May 12 and 13 we meet with John to provide feedback on his Version 1.0 proposal and to develop Version 2.0. If you’re interested in joining us for these sessions, please let us know. We would love to have you share your ideas. Prior to that meeting, we are asking the HTELC community to review his proposal and to provide us feedback we can use to make informed decisions in developing Version 2.0.
You can post your comments here or email them to Scott Carson (email@example.com) or Pastor Grace (PrGrace@htelc.com).
The following are my (Scott Carson) thoughts:
My prayer is that we become a congregation that John Roberto describes in his book Reimagining Faith Formation for the 21st Century: Engaging All Ages and Generations: “Some congregations are intentionally intergenerational. They make their intergenerational character a defining feature of their community life, ministries, and faith formation. These churches make it a priority to foster intergenerational relationships, faith sharing, and storytelling; to incorporate all generations in worship; to develop service projects that involve all ages; and to engage all generations in learning together. For these churches, being intergenerational is a way of life. It is an integral element of their culture. It is who they are!”
As a science teacher I understand that at times I must do direct instruction and teach students Newton’s Laws of Motion, but the true learning happens when my students must apply those laws in an experiment. I think the same is true with our faith formation. Yes, there are times when we need to directly teach the 10 Commandments or the Good News of Jesus, but I feel the conversations we have about how we try, with the Holy Spirit’s help, to live our faith our more important. My favorite type of faith formation takes place in the kitchen, talking with our youth about life as I’m cutting bread for coffee hour.
If you’re interested in learning more about John Roberto’s approach to reimaging 21st century faith formation, please visit his website.