It’s all about the relationship
… and Beauty
… and Love!
The formation of the Formation Team.
The Office of Faith Formation (ECC-FF) is the organizing vehicle for the Episcopal Church in Colorado’s (ECC) efforts around education, formation, discipleship, leadership development, and evangelism… equipping Episcopalians for the mission and ministry to which each and every Christian is called. Being just one team on the bishop’s staff in the ECC, some broader context is important.
The Faith Formation team was conceived at the Bishop’s Convention address in 2013.
“There’s another step we need to take too. We need to re-vision, re-shape, and re-form the Office of Faith Formation in the Office of the Bishop. I want your help in re-thinking and re-tooling this ministry among us, and I call upon this convention to establish a “Faith Formation Visioning Team” to work with me over the next several months. The task? Not to design program that would tax already limited congregational resources, but instead to identify how we can more effectively, more creatively, more imaginatively tap into the collective talent and wisdom that is already among us, and work collaboratively and collegially, outside of our disparate silos, to create meaningful communities of learning and formation and practice that would be accessible and available to anyone in any congregation or community in this diocese.”
The bishop’s priorities for “living out the mission of the Church” in and through the ECC are:
- Proclamation: or “evangelism,” from the Greek euangelos meaning “bringing good news”… sharing our faith, but doing so in ways that hopefully avoids the presumptuous, pushy, and pompous connotations of that the word.
- Discipleship: from the Latin discipulus meaning “learner,” or those who seek to follow the teachings of Jesus. There is a strong connection between education and formation, knowing and doing, contemplation and action.
- Servanthood: no etymological lessons needed here! Following the example of Christ, we aim to promote a leadership that takes the form of service especially among the poor and powerless, marginal and vulnerable.
The ECC adds this descriptor: “The missionary work undertaken by the congregations of our diocese is both local and global in scope; we look to support all those who seek a deeper understanding and relationship with Jesus Christ.”
The ECC-FF, in particular, is responsible for the education and formation of all who find their way into our parishes’ door—from committed leaders to occasional pew-sitters. Our work is first and foremost to try to network, resource, and support the people in our parishes (whether stipendiary staff or volunteers, lay or ordained), who serve as point persons for this work at the grassroots. So the staff of ECC-FF acts, more than anything, like community organizers. We train, equip, coordinate, collaborate, encourage. But we are here primarily to support and strengthen the good work that is already being done in our parishes.
We are also here to augment education and formation offerings where limited resources in particular parishes constrain possibilities. The reality is that somewhere around 30% of our 114 parishes are relatively small (“family-sized” parishes of fewer than 50 attendees) and accordingly lack significant disposable resources. Budgetary and personnel constraints mean that education/formation offerings can in some places be slim. For those parishes, we are here to offer accessible programming for their parishioners. We are, for example, looking at a variety of “hybrid” faith formational models where we would facilitate mostly-online groups that meet across regions and gather occasionally in-person.
For more information about the conception of the Faith Formation team, read the entire 2013 Diocesan Convention Address from Bishop O’Neill.
An introduction to the people who make up the Faith Formation Office.
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Read the Diocesan Convention Address from Bishop O’Neill.