Issue 3 – August 2010
- In This Edition: What’s Here
- About This Issue: Reflection on This Edition
- Conversations: The Right Reverend Michael J. Hanley
- Speaking of Resources: Helps in Print, Sight, Sound, and Cyberspace
- Mixed Bag: Practical Ideas from Around the Church
- Reflections from Barb: A Word from our Missioner
- Gleanings from The Vineyard: Across the Generations
- Coming Up: Important Events To Note and Attend
ABOUT THIS ISSUE:
Mary Sicilia, New Wine Editor
It’s mid-August but already fall is in the air. Funny thing about fall, that season which encompasses September, October, November on the calendar of the Northern Hemisphere. “Fall” is a uniquely American word for this season. It conjures up images of falling leaves and falling temperatures and, in the Pacific NW, the return of falling rain. In most of the world, however, this season is called some variation of “autumn” from the Latin, atumnus which means “plenty” because autumn is the season of the harvest, the season of gathering and celebrating what has been grown, a season of abundance. And in the Church, it is also a season of plenty as well — plenty to do! For those of us who work with formation, it is a very busy time of year as everything starts up again after the slower pace of summer. Everybody comes back after summers spent in far flung corners of the world. The pace quickens exponentially and threatens to overwhelm us, actually, with too much to do and too little time to do it. It is a good thing to remember in this season with plenty to do, to give thanks to the God of the harvest which it is our joy and privilege to sow and to reap as those who work with formation in the church. In the fall season, with its various rally days, ingatherings, Blessings of the Animals, and celebration of all the saints , it is a good thing to stop once in a while, take a deep breath, and remember Whose we are and the great abundance that we have been given.
CONVERSATIONS: The Right Reverend Michael Hanley
The Right Reverend Michael Hanley was elected 10th Bishop of Oregon last November and consecrated in April. Since then he has been busy visiting all of our parishes in his first 100 days in office. Formation is much at the heart of Bishop Hanley’s sense of mission. We were happy to have a chance to have an e-conversation with him on the subject as he was winding up his first visits around the diocese.
Editor: First, tell us a little about your own formation.
Bishop Hanley: I began life in Oklahoma raised in a Roman Catholic home. Both my parents, Eugene and Francis Hanley, were strong Christians and believed in Christian Education and practing the faith. When I was seven years old, my parents took on the care of five cousins ages 4 to 14 and so the weekend ritual of CCD classes on Saturday mornings coupled with confession and then attendance at Mass on Sunday mornings was very formative for me. I did not, however, attend our parish Catholic School. St. Pius the X parish did have a good school, but when I lost the hearing in my right ear during first grade it was felt that the parochial school did not have the resources to assist me and I was sent to Robert Fulton Elementary School. Therefore, during junior high and high school I did attend the Saturday religion classes offered by the school for those Catholics not in the Catholic school system. I remember the classes as interesting; they were also a regular way to get together with several Catholic friends from school. My deepest memories are not so much the content of those classes as the caring people who shared their lives with us, even when we were not the easiest boys and girls to manage! Christian education in practice.
Editor: Who were the main influences on you in your life as a Christian?
Bishop Hanley: I would have to say that my main influence as a Christian growing up was my mom. She was a good Catholic lady, always reaching out a hand to help children, friends and strangers alike. The lessons in caring for those less fortunate and looking for ways to be of service to others were endless. Intellectually, another influence was my major professor in undergraduate school. Tom was a Methodist minister and philosophy professor and we had many good conversations about what it meant to serve God in the world. Finally, another mentor and major influence was the first Episcopal priest I met, Fr. David. He was a kind and gentle man who listened well, who offered good reasonable advice and a helping hand to those in need. David was also willing allow the college group to explore new liturgies, and we all enjoyed that!
Editor: How do you define Christian formation?
Bishop Hanley: Formation is certainly book learning plus! We are formed by what we read, by those who share our lives and by the experiences we encounter. I remember specific books, specific relationships and specific experiences which informed and shaped the person I have become. When I read the book, I Heard An Owl Call My Name, I was changed by the picture of a life lived differently than my own. When I met and got to know teachers who were excellent role models, I was changed by my knowledge of who they were and what they stood for in their lives. When I traveled to places in the world different than my own, I was formed as a new person and new Christian by the cultural interaction. We are formed by good, happy experience and deeply disturbing experiences as well. We are formed by healthy relationships and good books as well as by unhealthy relationships and poor quality reading material. God takes the life we live and forms us with the material that is at hand.
Editor: What do you see as the key components necessary for a parish formation program?
Bishop Hanley: One key to a excellent parish formation program is that it addresses all ages. The days of doing Christan Education classes for children during Coffee Hour for the grown ups who have finished with learning should be long gone. I still remember the Sunday morning forums put on by Fr. Dave. Even though I didn’t agree with everything he said, he made me think and challenged me to live in a wider world than the world I had first encountered. I know the challenges of finding good time for adult education in a Sunday schedule, but somehow we need to offer classes that challenge us and make more of us. It’s a challenge, but if we do not address it, we will miss out on the Gospel of Jesus so needed in the world today.
Editor: Five or ten years from now, how do you see formation being done here in the Diocese of Oregon and in the Church in general?
Bishop Hanley: I see formation in the future done in many different ways. We will need to network with each other. We will have to continue to try new ways of delivering the message of God. Some ways will prove fruitful; others will not. If we work hard, and if we share our successes and failures with each other, we will grow in our capacity to deliver good Christian education and formation to all. If we as educators are willing to learn ourselves, as well as being teachers of others, then we will have experiences in reaching out to the community that enrich our lives as well as the lives of others.
Editor: When you are not carrying out the functions of your office as bishop, what do you like to do in your “spare” time?
Bishop Hanley: I read, I pray, I walk in the beautiful world God has given us, I enjoy a good meal with friends and occasionally I like to do a little antique shopping. I find as I grow older that simple pleasures are the best. A long night in conversation with others about the world we live in – now that is a good time and time well spent.
Editor: Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?
Bishop Hanley: I have always marveled at the good work being done by so many dedicated individuals in the field of Christian Education and formation. So much done, with limited budgets and a mostly volunteer workforce. I’d like to see as much get done in some of the multi-national organizations and governments! And they have paid staff!
SPEAKING OF RESOURCES:
FOR YOUR BOOKSHELF:
HOLY WOMEN, HOLY MEN: CELEBRATING THE SAINTS (Church Publishing, 2010)
What do Joan of Arc, Pierre Teilhard Chardin, Johann Sebastian Bach, John Muir, Thomas Merton, Lydia, Dorcas, Phoebe and the Righteous Gentiles (those who sheltered Jews during World War II) have in common? They are all included for the first time in this new book of celebrations on the Episcopal Church calendar. From its earliest days, the Church has recognized those whose lives have served as examples of faith and inspiration. This expanded volume is a revision of the former Lesser Feasts and Fasts with more than100 new commemorations providing a fuller representation of the diversity of the Episcopal Church – both ancient and contemporary – as well as a broader ecumenical and international context. As in past editions, each entry includes biographical information, a collect and scripture readings. The book also includes a new section with prayers and scripture for various occasions such as care of God’s creation, on the occasion of a disaster, prophetic witness, and space exploration. There is also a six-week Eucharistic lectionary with daily themes and collects and a two-year weekday Eucharistic lectionary adapted from the Anglican Church of Canada. With a commemoration for almost every day of the church year, Holy Women, Holy Men provides a wonderful resource for the study of church history, worship and scripture. The individuals themselves are a rich expression of those who have served God and the people of the world in a variety of truly inspiring ways.
Exploring the lives of the saints is a part of our Episcopal heritage, so here are two other books about saints written for children:
Stories of Everyday Saints: 40 Stories with Bible Links and Related Activities by Veronica Heley
Folk Like Me: The Read-Aloud Book of Saints by K.M. Lucchese
These books and many more are available for check-out at the diocesan Resource Room.
NEW VIDEO RESOURCES
Living the Questions 2.0
Instead of giving participants all the answers, this series strives to create an environment that encourages conversation and exploration of topics that relate to the future of Christianity. The course is divided into three broad topic areas of 7 sessions each: Invitation to Journey, Reclaiming the World, and Call to Covenant. Each session includes downloadable leader and participant guides with discussion questions, suggestions for Bible study and spiritual practices. More than 25 well-known teachers and theologians provide challenging insights for lively conversation.
The Resource Room also has the first12-session Living the Questions series available as well.
Click on the following link for further information about materials available in the diocesan Resource Room: http://www.diocese-oregon.org/resources/index.htm
Sharon Ely Pearson will be the keynote speaker for “From Generation to Generation: A Conference on Lifelong Christian Formation” on September 25 at Trinity Cathedral in Portland. As the Christian Education Specialist for Church Publishing, Sharon provides a wealth of information on the latest resources and curriculum for Christian formation that can be found on her blog, http://rowsofsharon.com/ and her monthly newsletter, Living-IN-Formation. To subscribe to her newsletter go to http://www.morehouseeducation.org
Jennifer Gamber, author of My Faith, My Life, a confirmation curriculum for teens also has an informative website that is especially geared to providing information for youth and youth leaders. Go to http://myfaithmylife.org/
WEBINARS FROM CHURCH PUBLISHING
A Webinar is a web conference used to conduct live meetings, training, or presentations via the internet. Each participant sits at his or her own computer and is connected to others throughout the country via the web. Church Publishing is offering a series of free webinars on various topics related to education and formation ministries as well as church administration responsibilities. Led by an expert on the topic, participants have the opportunity to ask questions and get input from the presenter as well as others attending the webinar. Go to http://www.churchpublishing.org/ to see the schedule of webinars and to register.
Contact Paula Franck, volunteer Resource Room Coordinator by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have further questions about resources and materials available for loan.
Practical Ideas from Around the Church
Blessing of the Backpacks Last fall at Prince of Peace, Salem, we tried something that is becoming increasingly popular in the Episcopal Church. On the Sunday before the public schools started, we invited the children to bring their backpacks, book bags, musical instruments, etc. to church for a special blessing. During the service we invited the children and all adults who teach or work at any level in public and private schools to come forward. After the blessing, they were each presented with a small wooden cross that they could attach to their backpack, wear as a necklace, or just keep in their pockets. It was a very meaningful way to focus attention on what is an important time for the entire community. Barbara Ross, Prince of Peace, Salem
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Doing a Blessing of the Animals on or near St. Francis Day (Oct. 4)? Consider having St. Francis as a guest. Rig up a volunteer in Franciscan wear (or close to it) and have him present, both to tell (or read) the story of St. Francis and then have his picture taken with whole households (including their animal companions) ala the proverbial Santa photo. Copies can be given to families and also posted on bulletin boards at the parish or on the parish website. Good stuff – lasting memories – and a chance to honor both animals and people, to say nothing of Saint Francis himself! Mary Sicilia, editor, New Wine
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On the menu for Blessings of the Animals? Why not animal crackers and cocoa to drink along with dog and kitty treats? Sarah Gibson, All Saints, Portland
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When I was vicar of a group of parishes in the UK we did an exercise to let non parishioners and the Diocese see how vital our parishes were. Each had a person responsible for gathering photographs from parish events and day to day parish life. Each Church made a collage(bits were cut out of photographs, all collages were the same size, and each Church in the Deanery made their own. It was a very vibrant and fast glimpse if you will, of what goes on in the parishes and environs. Visitors loved them, and at a large Diocesan event they were placed round the walls as good examples of ministry. It was fun and exciting in its finished form. It might be something you could use in this Diocese. The Rev. Patricia Pinkerton
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Looking for a way to make All Saints more “memorable” for your parish family? Consider having an All Saints Pumpkin Party. On an evening just prior to or on All Saints itself, invite all the households in the parish, young and old, to come together for a party. First, serve an All Pumpkin Meal (stew in a pumpkin or pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin juice (orange drink!) and pumpkin pie. Then carve All Saints pumpkins — carve various kinds of crosses (example: tau cross, Jerusalem cross, plain cross, Latin cross) in small, carryable pumkins. And then do a procession into your church carrying your lighted pumpkins and using them to illuminate the space. Do a simple evening prayer service and perhaps sing an All Saints hymn or two.
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When Halloween Falls on a Sunday
Every six or seven years, Halloween falls on a Sunday and 2010 is one of those years. Rather than trying to ignore it, you may want to use it as an opportunity to do something a bit different. During the years I was at St. Paul’s, Salem, we tried to help families connect the Celtic roots of All Hallows Eve to what has become a very secular holiday. When Halloween fell on a Sunday, we invited people of all ages to wear costumes to church. During the service we included some special readings including the Slaying of the Dragon passage from Revelations. We prayed for the safety of the children and sprinkled the entire congregation with holy water before inviting those in costume to process out at the end of the service. We made coffee hour fun and festive by renting a popcorn machine so that everyone was greeted with the smell of freshly-popped corn. (Smaller congregations could accomplish the same thing with microwave popcorn.) We decorated with pumpkins and served apple cider and doughnuts. We also had several old-fashioned activities for people of all ages including bobbing for apples (in individual bowls of water); a cakewalk set-up with the names of saints arranged like a clock (we used cupcakes for the prizes so that we could do it over and over); and various simple games such as ring toss where mini-candy bars were given out. This special day was well-received by people of all ages and helped people make the connection from All Hallows Eve to the following Sunday’s celebration of All Saints Day. (For additional information about the history of Halloween go to http://www.loc.gov/folklife/halloween.html.) Barbara Ross, Prince of Peace, Salem
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REFLECTIONS FROM BARB:
Barbara Ross, Missioner for Lifelong Formation, Diocese of Oregon
What is Lifelong Christian Formation?
“Lifelong Christian Formation” is a popular phrase in The Episcopal Church today. It’s even a part of my job title! But what in the world do we mean by “Lifelong Christian Formation”? Perhaps we can start by thinking about how Christian Formation might be different from Christian Education. Christian Formation is the broader term. Christian Formation includes Christian Education, but it also encompasses a whole lot more including worship, continuous learning, intentional outreach, advocacy, and service. A way that helps me think about it is that Christian Education is what we do with our heads while Christian Formation is what we do with our hearts and our hands. Both are important. We certainly need to learn about God, to study the Bible, learn the creeds and our church history; but that knowledge is of limited value unless it changes the way we live our lives. Christian Education helps us learn about God, while the goal of Christian Formation is to come to know God in a way that transforms our lives and inspires us to live a life of service.
In 2009, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church adopted the Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation with the hope that it would become the framework for Christian Formation in the Episcopal Church. The Charter was written by some of the same people who wrote The Children’s Charter for the Episcopal Church which many of you may be familiar with. The Children’s Charter changed the way we think about children in the church and especially how we include them as full members of the church. The goal of the Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation is to recognize that formation does not stop at a certain age but needs to be a lifelong endeavor. Thus, the charter places great emphasis on the importance of quality adult formation.
Our own diocese adopted the Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation at our convention last fall. A copy of the charter is posted on our website at http://www.diocese-oregon.org/artman/uploads/printablecharter.pdf
In our continuing effort to help our diocese live into the spirit of the charter, the Ministry of Lifelong Christian Formation is planning a conference to be held Saturday, September 25 at Trinity Cathedral in Portland. Keynote speaker will be Sharon Pearson, Christian Education Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated which is our own Episcopal publishing house. Sharon is a personal friend and a person I admire very much. We met when she represented the Diocese of Connecticut on the national Episcopal Council for Christian Education. Since that time, Sharon has gone on to become a nationally-recognized expert on Christian formation resources. But more than that, Sharon articulates a compelling vision of Christian Formation in the Episcopal Church in the 21st century. I encourage you to be with us on that day to hear Sharon and our own bishop +Michael speak and to attend one of the many fine workshops that are being planned. On-line registration will be available on our diocesan website beginning September 1.
GLEANINGS FROM THE VINEYARD:
Across the Generations by Connie Brady
(Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the December, 1995 issue of The Vineyard. )
Here is a collection of ideas to promote ministry, communication and friendship between young people and older adults in our congregations.
Older Adults can minister to youngsters by:
- serving as foster grandparents in the preschool program
- acting as mentors to a young adult in the parish
- teaching a skill or sharing a hobby with church school classes
- becoming “a friend to the church school” – a benefactor who provides needed supplies, children’s books, special treats, support for the teachers
- telling stories and sharing traditions with church school classes in cooperation with the teachers – some examples: on a Sunday in Advent, bring, display, and tell histories of family creche collections; on the church name day share pictures and objects from your history of the parish. Ask older members to share their early memories of church and/or Sunday School; Use a campfire model of having all sit in a circle as young people listen to elders talk about what their faith means to them
Children can minister to older adults by:
- serving as greeters with adults who model the importance of welcoming people by name and making introductions
- with their families, adopting a “church grandparent” who is included in family life (Caution: find out first if the “grandparent” wants to be adopted)
- on a similiar vein, have a “secret” grandparent – perhaps a parish shut in- for whom the child makes cards, small gifts, or treats, then have a “revealing day” in which child and “secret grandparent” meet
- if the parish has a senior program, have church school classes prepare presentations for a few sessions: presenting a Christmas pageant or carol sing, giving a puppet show, putting on a worship service with hymns, prayers and readings led by the children
Intergenerational gathering like Shrove Tuesday or Name Day parties have long been used in bring congregations together as a family, but to increase interaction between young and old, consider
- inviting young people and older adults to be part of the planning committee
- concentrating on activities that are fun to all ages to do together
- publicizing your event as a time not just for families, children or adults, but for everyone — the WHOLE parish.
From Generation to Generation: A Conference on Lifelong Christian Formation:
Saturday, September 25, 2010, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at Trinity Cathedral, Portland
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom: Enlighten by your Holy Spirit those who teach and those who learn, that rejoicing in the knowledge of your truth, they may worship you and serve you from generation to generation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. – Collect for Education, page 261 in the Book of Common Prayer
Keynote speaker: Sharon Pearson, Christian Education Specialist for Church Publishing, Incorporated (the publishing company of the Episcopal Church), co-author of the recently revised edition of The Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education; all-around great person, and well-respected Episcopal resource guru!
Who should attend: Those who minister with adults, young adults, youth, and children in local congregations and through diocesan program groups. In addition to what we traditionally think of as Christian education,
this conference will encompass the breadth of Christian formation including worship, continuous learning, intentional outreach, advocacy, and service.
Workshops: Workshops on a wide variety of topics will be offered throughout the day.
Registration: On-line registration will be available on the diocesan website www.diocese-oreogn.org, beginning September 1.
“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.”
Safeguarding God’s Children Fall Schedule
Safeguarding God’s Children is required for all clergy, paid staff, vestry/BAC members and volunteers who work with children and youth. According to our diocesan policy, the training must be renewed every ten years. On-line registration is available at the diocesan website. Go to www.diocese-oregon.org and from the left-hand menu, click on SAFE Church. Additional locations will be scheduled after the first of the year. For further information, please contact Barbara Ross, Missioner for Lifelong Christian Formation, at 1-800-452-2562×111, 971-204-4111, or email@example.com .
+Saturday, August 28, 8:30-12:30 – Grace, Astoria
+Saturday, October 2. 8:30-12:30 – St. James, Lincoln City
+Saturday, October 16. 8:30-12:30 – Trinity Cathedral, Portland
+Sunday, October 17, 1:00-5:00 – St. Andrew’s, Portland
+Saturday, October 23. 8:30-12:30 – St. Luke’s, Grants Pass
+Sunday, October 24, 1:00-5:00 – Prince of Peace, Salem
+Saturday, November 6, 8:30-12:30 – St. Bartholomew’s, Beaverton
+Sunday, November 7, 1:00-5:00 – St. Edward’s, Silverton
+Saturday, November 13, 8:30-12:30 – St. Martin’s, Shady Cove
CALL on-line courses for fall:
The Rev. Michelle Meech, the director of the Center for Anglican Learning & Leadership (CALL), is delighted to announce CALL’s fall line-up of online courses. The selections range from courses in Anglican liturgy and Christian history, to compelling and current themes in theological and biblical studies. New offerings include classes in spiritual guidance, sustainable food practices and dreamwork. Since 1997, CALL, as the continuing education arm of Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP), has been offering online courses in support of ongoing Christian formation and vocational discernment. With all content overseen by CDSP faculty, the CALL program provides expert instruction to Christians who might otherwise have no access to such rich educational opportunities.
Says Meech, “While education is an integral part of Christian formation for all denominations, as an Episcopalian I am particularly connected to my church’s call to lifelong Christian formation in the charter adopted at the 2009 General Convention. For over a decade, CALL has been offering education in alternative formats such as online environments. I think our experience and expertise in this area uniquely enables us to support the Episcopal Church as it continues to embrace alternative and multi-faceted educational formats that can sustain the priesthood of all the baptized.”
The 122nd Convention of the Diocese of Oregon will be held October 28-30, 2010, at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in Eugene. Theme for this year’s convention is “Together in the Breaking of the Bread.” This year’s diocesan outreach project will focus on Haiti. Working through Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD), the immediate priorities will be to provide clean water, sanitation, food and shelter. And looking forward, we will help address the serious problem of erosion caused by deforestation. Our contributions for fruit and other trees will provide our neighbors with both food and jobs. Details of the project will be forthcoming. For further information, please contact Ellen Nesbitt, ERD Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.