Adult Faith Formation
The Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation notes that it is a lifelong journey with Christ, in Christ, and to Christ.
A Life of Faithful Living identifies the signs and thresholds of a faith-filled journey with God. This document is helpful for individuals who may want to wonder, widen, and deepen their understanding of themselves and of God and for congregational leaders to see the scope and sequence of how the stages relate and guide their adaptation of educational and formational resources for local contexts.
The Path Ahead: Spirituality & Purpose in Later Life
Would you like to help your congregation explore the spirituality of aging? The Path Ahead: Spirituality & Purpose in Later Life is a six-part program that combines guided discussion with contemplative practices to reframe how people of faith live into their later years. Sightlines offers a new view of aging -- and new tools for the spiritual toolbox.
Congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington are invited to send two to three members to "train the trainer" workshops, where participants will learn to facilitate the series. Curricula and resources will be provided. At least one person on the teaching team should be grounded in contemplative prayer or practice. Sightlines is designed to be co-facilitated and neighboring congregations are encouraged to collaborate. Sightlines is a joint project of Seabury Resources for Aging and the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
Check Seabury Resources for Aging for upcoming events and details of training sessions.
The School for Christian Faith and Leadership
Launched in the fall of 2020, the School for Christian Faith and Leadership seeks to be known as a catalyst for faithful discipleship and adaptive leadership, offering trusted resources and learning journeys that equip individuals for baptismal living and lead faith communities into greater vitality for the 21st century. The School offers diverse learning experiences, curates resources to support and revitalize ministries, gathers and supports communities of learning and practice, and responds to cultural issues that face our communities. Check this page to learn about upcoming learning opportunities.
The Way of Love
The Way of Love is an intentional commitment to a set of practices. It's a commitment to follow Jesus: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest. The Episcopal Church, and many others, continue to create resources to support the Way of Love. Check out the Episcopal Church website for videos, small group curriculum, intergenerational events and more by topic and season of the church year.
Also, check out the Diocese of Washington's website page devoted to the Way of Love, including a podcast for each practice by Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde.
Formation during the Pandemic
The need for social distancing during the pandemic can heighten an already significant experience of isolation among the elderly. Consider connecting the younger and older adults in your congregation through pen pals or phone calls. If you are looking for a small group program specifically designed for the elderly at this time, take a look at Aging Gracefully during the Pandemic. Some congregations have purchased Chromebooks for their older members. If you try this route, be sure to write clear instructions for connecting online and line up tech support.
- Faith formation for Vital Congregations challenges congregations to consider more than content as they shape their formation offerings.
- This chart provides an overview of the many curricula available for ministry with children (last updated May 2020).
- The field of available curriculum is wide. This guide provides a four-step process for a congregation to find the curriculum that aligns with its mission and vision.
- This resource offers tips for evaluating potential curriculum choices.
- ChurchNext provides more than 100 courses on a variety of topics that you can take on your own or in a group.
- Education for Ministry (EfM) is a four-year program that meets weekly for 39 weeks a year.
- Lesson Plans that Work offer lectionary-based lessons written by experienced church school teachers using practical approaches to respond to the needs of volunteer teachers.
- Aging Gracefully during the Pandemic offers small group discussions for older adults during the pandemic.
- Covenant Bible Study offers a 24-week, in-depth Bible study with scholars on the themes of creating, living and trusting within the over-arching theme of covenant. (Abingdon)
- Conversations with Scripture is a series of short books covering a variety of books of the Bible (Church Publishing)
- Free discussion guides for download
SELECTED BOOKS FOR SMALL GROUP STUDY
- Curry, Michael. Love Is the Way (Random House, 2020) Use this Small Group Discussion Guide.
- Gamber, Jenifer. Your Faith, Your Life: An Invitation to the Episcopal Church (Church Publishing, 2016)
- Gunn, Scott and Melody Wilson Shobe. Walk in Love : Episcopal Beliefs & Practices (Forward Movement, 2018)
- Hamilton, Adam. The Walk: Five Essential Practices of the Christian Life (Abingdon Press, 2019)
- Johnson, Richard. All My Days: A Personal Life Review offers a way for older adults to remember and record important life events.
- Owensby, Jake. A Resurrection Shaped Life (Abingdon Press, 2018)
- Here's a curated list of books about the history of Christianity.
Websites and publishers
- Forma is the premier network of Christian educators in the Episcopal Church. Join the Forma Facebook group of over 4,000 Christian educators.
- Abingdon Press offers a wealth of publications for adults.
- Church Publishing publishes books and other resources for an Episcopal audience.
- Forward Movement offers a number of resources for adult faith formation.
- Living Compass provides resources that attend to the whole person--heart, soul, strength, and mind.
- Seasons of Adult Faith Formation offers a network of faith formation for older adults and diverse resources.
- GEMS newsletters offers best practices of formation with adults by Janet Schaeffler.
- Together in Mission has been created to help pastors, parish clergy and staff, parish ministry leaders and families become more intentional about evangelizing at every phase of life.
- Milestones Ministry provides vital Christian resources for faith formation and outreach to individuals, congregations, and community members.
- Vibrant Faith at Home offers hundreds of activities hundreds of activities organized by target audience in the following categories: Bible Stories, Caring Conversations, Learning about Faith, Prayer, Rituals & Tradition, and Serving Others.
Selected Books ABOUT MINISTRY WITH Adults
- Foster, Charles R. Educating Congregations: The Future of Christian Education (Abingdon Press, 1994)
- Fowler, James W. Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian: Adult Development and the Christian Faith (Jossey Bass, 2000)
- Loder, James E. The Logic of the Spirit: Human Development in Theological Perspective (Jossey-Bass, 1998)
- Lytle, Julie Anne. Faith Formation 4.0: Introducing an Ecology of Faith in a Digital Age (Morehouse, 2013)
- Prentiss, Demi and J. Fletcher Lowe. Radical Sending: Go to Love and Serve (Church Publishing, 2016)
- Stokes, Kenneth. Faith is a Verb: Dynamics of Adult Faith Development (Twenty-Third Publications, 1998)
Selected Books about Ministry with Older Adults
- Johnson, Richard P. Parish Ministry for Maturing Adults: Principles, Plans & Bold Proposals (Twenty-Third Publications, 2007)
- Linthicum, Dorothy and Janice Hicks. Redeeming Dementia: Spirituality, Theology, and Science (Church Publishing, 2018)
- Parent, Neil, A Concise Guide to Adult Faith Formation (Ave Maria Press, 2009)
- Regan, Jane, Where Two or Three Are Gathered: Transforming the Parish through Communities of Practice (Paulist Press, 2016)
- Regan, Jane, Toward an Adult Church: A Vision of Faith Formation (Chicago: Loyola Press, 2002)
- Regan, Jane, Forming a Community of Faith: A Guide to Success in Adult Faith Formation (Twenty-Third Publications, 2014)
- Roberto, John et al. The Seasons of Adult Faith Formation (Lifelong Faith, 2014)
- Schaeffler, Janet, Let This Be the Time: Spiritual Essentials for Life’s Second Act (Twenty-Third Publications, 2020)
- Schaeffler, Janet, Deepening Faith: Adult Faith Formation in the Parish ( Liturgical Press, 2017)