Just over 100 people gathered at the Cathedral Church of St Paul June 12 for a wonderful celebration honoring all the accomplishments of those completing their courses with the Whitaker Institute!! We now have new worship leaders, preachers, some ready to explore the path to ordination, some for whom ordination is just a few weeks away, and others who are excited about growing deeper in Christ!! All of these individuals have taken seriously the call to serve from their Baptismal Covenant.
I will be the first to admit that I am an education nerd; I love to learn new things!! Apparently, our Church sees the value of life-long Christian learning, as well. Once again, we have a resolution from General convention that emphasizes this idea:
A046: Commend Continued Development of Lifelong Christian Formation
Resolved, That the 77th General Convention commend FORMA, formerly the National Association for Episcopal Christian Education Directors (NAECED) for their work in developing and supporting lifelong Christian Formation in The Episcopal Church; and be it further
Resolved, that the 77th General Convention commend the ministry of Christian formation and education leaders in The Episcopal Church for continuing to lift up The Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation adopted at the 76th General Convention and the importance of inviting, inspiring, and transforming people in the Christian faith as well as the continued development of training for leaders of the Church; and be it further
Resolved, that the 77th General Convention commend to all dioceses and congregations the use of online Christian formation and leadership certifications as well as other forms of continuing education for Christian educators; and be it further
Resolved, that the 77th General Convention commend the work of FORMA, formerly NAECED in continuing to develop the Certificate in Leadership for Lifelong Christian Formation (CLLCF); and, the programs of the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary, the Certificate Program in Christian Education at the Seminary of the Southwest, the Certificate in the Spiritual Guidance of Children at the General Theological Seminary, and other recognized entities for offering continuing education opportunities and certification for those called to the ministry of Christian formation; and be it further
Resolved, that the 77th General Convention commend the Formation and Vocation Offices of The Episcopal Church in actively collaborating and serving as a resource as needed for the appropriate development and promotion of these certificate programs.
We, in the Diocese of Michigan, are very blessed to have a Bishop and his staff who have a vision for the importance of Christian Formation and we have the Whitaker Institute with its new Director, the Rev. Michelle Meech (right), who is eager to help us fulfill our call to learn that we may serve God and God’s people. Let me also direct you to the “Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation” which expresses the importance of continuing education for each of us as directed by our Baptismal Covenant.
There are many ways to pursue our educational journey:
- The Whitaker Institute
- Seminary courses, both in person and on-line
- The Rev. Chris Yaw’s on-line program Church Next
- Education for Ministry (EFM)
- Our own congregations – speak with the rector or Ministry Support Team about resources that are available.
Continuing Formation helps us to become the people that God needs us to be to proclaim the Gospel message to a world in need of God’s love!
~ Judith Schellhammer, Chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council