Opportunities for intentional transformation, sharing experiences and encouraging each of us to see the face of God in one another.
For decades, All Saints’ has had a reputation for excellent, innovative, accessible Christian formation. We have long known that being formed in the Christian story is a lifelong process and, as a community, we’ve sought to find ways of engaging people in that story and process at all different points of development.
For many years, in the adult formation program here, we have used a multi-class, multi-session program – mostly lectures – on Sunday mornings, allowing people to choose topics and teachers that they found inspiring, offering a buffet of options to feed our minds and hearts. Innovative in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, that method of offering formation has served the All Saints’ community beautifully for quite some time, forming generations of Saints’.
Through the work of an adult formation task force, we have begun to explore some new ways of approaching Christian formation. The committee explored what All Saints’ has done in the past and looked at how other churches of comparable size and situation are approaching adult formation now. We brought the “hearsay” of our individual communities, mixing in what we heard people asking for.
The recommendations from the Task Force, briefly stated, include:
- Opportunities for intentional transformation, including pilgrimage and
experiences of alternative forms of prayer and meditation
- Opportunities for demographic-based programming, times to be together with people who are similar in order to share experiences and support one another
- The use of small groups to help encourage seeing the face of God in each other
- Paying attention to different learning styles, both generational and pedagogical, to avoid a one-size-fits-all method of formation
The adult formation committee has taken these recommendations and created a new schedule of programs for Sunday mornings. The schedule offers opportunity for lectures and academic learning, as in our preacher–teacher series and our Lenten learning. It also offers opportunities to engage each other in important current discussions, as in our Two Weeks, Two Questions series. We have tried to keep some of our regular programs, such as Bob Edge’s ministry to us in music and our Jesus on the Front Page discussion groups.
It is our hope, as always, that everyone is able to find meaningful and engaging classes in this schedule. We hope you engage the materials and subjects offered, we hope you engage each other, we hope you engage God. Please continue to let me and members of the formation committee know how we can continue to improve this new way of being a community formed in faith.