For well over 100 years in the United States, Christian churches had a highly integrated religious ecosystem. It consisted in multigenerational family faith practices and the transmission of religious values at home; strong congregational community relationships and church life, especially participation in Sunday worship; weekly Sunday school for children and youth (and in many cases adults); and church groups (youth, men, women). Many Christian traditions, including our own, relied heavily on the faith traditions of their people to transmit faith from generation to generation—at home and at church. And all of this was surrounded by an American culture that explicitly and implicitly supported Christian value systems and Christian practices. There is no way to go back to this older way of doing things – it has eroded over the past several decades because of all the changes in the culture and society, the family, technology, communication, and more. In other words, we have undergone great change in our environment. Similarly, the relationship between faith formation and its environment has changed. We need a new system of faith formation that reflects these changes and that responds to the pace of change in the future. The Parish has set the following goals regarding Christian Formation:
By the year 2020, the parish will establish a comprehensive system of faith formation that provides resources for faith formation: that engages every generation in the parish; that addresses the specific needs of various age and generational groupings; that is family-based; that addressed those who identify as “spiritual but not religious” or religiously unaffiliated; that exploits opportunities provided by online and other digital opportunities.
Beginning March, 2017, the parish will form a Christian Formation Task Group to explore new opportunities for Christian Formation with initial priority being youth (7-17 years of age).
Beginning March, 2017, the parish will participate in “Re-Imagining Formation for the 21st Century” with John Roberto. (Sponsored by Diocese of Central Pennsylvania and Lower Susquehanna Synod).
By June 1, 2017, the parish will engage a specialist in youth and young adult ministry on a part-time basis. Parish will continue to explore cooperation with local Lutheran churches in a joint venture to sustain this position.
In July, 2017 (and annually, thereafter), the parish will participate in local ecumenical Vacation Bible School event.
By September 1, 2017, the parish will begin to integrate youth and young adults in the worship life of the parish more fully in current worship ministries and in special worship opportunities.
By January 1, 2018, the parish will have explored alternate formats and proposed elements of inter-generational faith formation in place of/in addition to traditional Sunday School.
By January 1, 2018, the parish will have scheduled and begun recruiting youth and young adults to participate in service/mission projects within and outside of the parish as available.
By January 2018, the parish will fully integrate appropriate forms of social media to engage the wider community in attaining its articulated outcomes in the arena of Christian Formation.