When does Faith Formation happen?
There is never a bad time to tend to the life of your soul. That said, milestone moments in people's lives are excellent times to make religious connections and to celebrate and share what matters to us about Unitarian Universalism. Child dedications, marriage, times of illness or death; or smaller milestones - first days of school, anniversaries, new home purchases. These are times we look beyond ourselves to connect our struggles and our achievements with a larger, transcendent story. This is a role of religion; this is a task of faith formation.
Where does Faith Formation happen?
In our congregations, of course, but also in our homes, in workplaces, in places where we engage the wider world, in schools, on softball teams. Wherever we are, we are making decisions, taking action (or not), speaking out (or not), all based on how we understand our role in the world as people of faith. We can pray or meditate about our choices, we can check ourselves with UU friends, or our small group ministry circle, we may seek the counsel of our minister, religious educator, or pastoral care associate, but wherever we are, alone or companioned, we can be working on our own faith formation and spiritual growth.
Why is Faith Formation important?
Because we are given 'this one wild and precious life', in the words of poet Mary Oliver, and to live it most fully, we must care for our selves in body, mind, and spirit. And because intentional faith formation practices deepen connections to our faith, to our core selves, to our friends, family and faith community, and to a world in great need of healing.
This understanding will inform our work in support of the ministry of faith formation in our districts. I will continue to work with congregations to support the transitions of professional religious educators, and with search committees and other congregational leaders exploring ways to develop their faith formation ministries. In addition, I will be collaborating with other district staff, religious professionals and congregational leaders from around New England to inspire, imagine, and share best practices in 21st century faith formation. It's such an exciting time to be working in this field. It is such a privilege to partner with others who love our faith and do all they can to live into the promise of Unitarian Universalism. The ministry of faith formation is critical to our denomination's growth, depth and influence in the new century. Because this world needs us - and we deserve - to live our Faith. Fully engaged.
Welcome to our work.