General Convention Endorsement
As part of its mission, Forma promotes the importance of lifelong Christian formation across The Episcopal Church, including advocating for robust and adequate resources for formation ministries at the local, diocesan and church-wide level. There are many ways Forma accomplishes this goal, including:
- being a presence at the triennial General Convention of The Episcopal Church by attending committee meetings, being available in the Exhibit Hall, and speaking on behalf of its membership at hearings
- endorsing (and helping to craft) legislation that supports lifelong formation ministry, including the church-wide triennial budget and other General Convention resolutions
- promoting equity in the workplace for Christian formation leaders through education and church-wide legislation
- Endorsing certain candidates for the elected bodies of The Episcopal Church who will embody the core values of the organization and are committed to advocating for lifelong Christian Formation as well as the importance of lay professionals in formation ministry.
Forma is pleased to announce the following endorsements for Executive Council:
Forma has endorsed 5 candidates for the elected bodies of The Episcopal Church who embody the core values of Forma (values found here) and are committed to advocating for lifelong Christian formation in the life of the Church as well as the importance of lay professionals in formation ministry.
The five endorsed candidates are below:
The Rev. Canon Anne Kitch serves as the Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Bethlehem. Forma has known Anne for years. Anne started her service to the Diocese of Bethlehem as the Canon for Christian Formation.
In her own words:
“As a lay person, I taught Sunday school and I worked as a youth leader at my local parish. It was in the context of my involvement with youth that l experienced my call to ordained ministry. I have served as a parish priest with responsibility for lifelong formation, helped found diocesan committees in Christian education and formation in two dioceses, and held a diocesan staff position as Canon for Christian Formation. I have keynoted and facilitated conferences, contributed numerous articles to Episcopal Teacher and other publications, written curriculum, and have several books published in areas such as Christian parenting, baptismal preparation, and children and worship. As a deputy to General Convention I have advocated for Forma initiatives such as the Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation in 2009 and the commending of Forma in 2015, and I served on the Formation Committee of General Convention in 2012 and 2015. In my current position as Canon to the Ordinary, I ensure our diocesan budget funds lifelong Christian formation and youth ministries, I provide training for lay leadership in the diocese including Christian educators and facilitate parish and vestry retreats.”
How will Anne use her voice to advocate for Formation of all the Baptized?
“I will use my voice as a writer, educator, and diocesan leader to keep the urgent need for a renewed focus on Christian Formation at the fore of church-wide work and conversation. I will continue to work to discern new and creative methods to equip lay leaders and clergy in under-resourced congregations to engage in this vital work. As a General Convention deputy and a member of Committee #15 Ministry, I will advocate for legislation that promotes Christian Formation.”
Andrea serves as the Diocesan Ministry Developer for the Episcopal Church in South Carolina. Andrea serves on the Forma Board through Jan. 2019 and has taken on the role of conference coordinator.
In her own words:
“I have served in Christian Formation as a volunteer or paid employee since the early 90s. I began teaching Sunday School in high school and served on the Diocese of Virginia's Youth Ministry board. In South Carolina, I worked as the Director of Christian Formation in a parish setting for 2 years and have been working on diocesan staff for 4 years. I have served on the Standing Commission for Lifelong Christian Formation and the Task Force for Leveraging Social Media for Evangelism.”
How will Andrea use her voice to advocate for Formation of all the Baptized?
“As a deputy and officer on the Christian Formation and Discipleship Committee, I will advocate for formation as a priority by helping bring well written and vetted legislation to the floor that will serve all baptized Christians as well as support funding for those initiatives. I will also write legislation where needed to support Forma initiatives and partnerships.”
Diane Pollard has been involved with ministry across the Church. She serves as a facilitator for Gathering of Leaders, is involved with many boards and organizations, and made Forma one of her conferences not to be missed!
In her own words:
“All of my work in the Church has been as a volunteer on the local, diocesan, and church-wide level. Locally, I am the member of a small parish in Harlem, it is the parish where I was formed. I have also served as a Trustee of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine as well as on numerous other diocesan committees. I have been a vestryman at the Parish of Trinity Church Wall Street and recently retired as Churchwarden. I am currently the board president of St. Mary's Episcopal AIDS Center - a nursing home and day treatment program for persons with HIV/AIDS. Our clients are primarily homeless people and I am passionate about this work. I have been a trustee of the Church Pension Fund (CPF) for the past eleven and one-half years, I will retire from the fund at this General Convention. During my many years on the fund I have advocated for a number of benefits. I am passionate about the provision for benefits for all people. I have been a deputy to General Convention since 1979. My career has centered around the pension benefits and healthcare communities and I am committed to the important fiduciary responsibilities that are required in these leadership roles.”
How will Dianne use her voice to advocate for Formation of all the Baptized?
“As a member of the Executive Council I will bring the experience of many years to the conversation, this will be enhanced by my background in finances and benefits. Christian formation for all of the baptized is just being seen as a priority and the success of our Church will only happen when all orders, bishops, clergy, lay, and diaconate are recognized as full contributors. I see myself as being able to advocate for this.”
Karen Phillips Smith
Karen has served many lay roles in the Diocese of Southeast Florida including the Standing Committee and the Executive Board.
In her own words:
“Over the last 12 years I have devoted my life as a volunteer parish administrator, director of Lay Eucharistic Ministers, Spiritual Renewal & Evangelism, I am a member of the Deputies of Color & the Indigenous Caucus.”
How will Karen use her voice to advocate for Formation of all the Baptized?
“I will continue to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ as I continue serve and seek out opportunities through my ministries to assure that all God's people are given the assurance of formation in Christ name.”
Sarah serves as the Digital Missioner and Learning Lab Coordinator at Virginia Theological Seminary. In that role, Sarah also runs the eFormation conference and boot camps.
In her own words:
“I used to describe myself as an Episcopal super-volunteer. For years, I helped to support the diocesan youth ministry program in Washington (D.C.). With a committee of youth and adults, we planned retreats, lock-ins, service experiences, and, most importantly, upheld youth in positions of church and faith leadership. As part of that group, I also was able to go to EYE twice; Summer 2005 as a youth and Summer 2011 as an adult chaperone.
I was the part of the founding, and subsequent first camp director of Camp EDOW - a diocesan sleepaway camping ministry that formed in 2012. Within this creation process, I was part of a visionary committee, executed the process of endorsement by state governing bodies, coordinated and staffed camp, led and participated in training, and was the point of contact for parents, families, and churches. All of these more administrative tasks and duties were pushed by the desire to provide a safe and faith-centered community for the children of Diocese of Washington to be able to share in their connection to Jesus and the Episcopal church and learn in an immersive week-long experience.
Throughout the years, my service to parish formation programs has taken varied forms. When the family director at my childhood church needed to step away from her obligations, I was the go-to person for much of the Sunday: Children’s Church, youth group outings and events, coordination of volunteers, and collaborate with the Sunday School. I was also a 2nd and 3rd grade Sunday School teacher at another parish for two years. As part of that process, I was a sounding board for the Family Associate to experiment with different forms of formational ministries to discern what was best for the congregation as a whole.”
How will Sarah use her voice to advocate for Formation of all the Baptized?
“I have long believed that I would not be a part of formation ministry if I did not have such strong advocates and mentors throughout my 30 years. Ranging from my grandmother, who started a women’s guild for those who worked full-time out of the house (when that was not accommodated by most), to my EfM mentor, who recommended that I put my name on the EDOW Standing Committee nomination slate. Those who have come before me have upheld my opportunity to be a lay leader - the epitome of what our Christian call in community is. It is now my turn to mentor and advocate for all within the Christian community, to make sure that the formation and discipleship ministries are upheld as strong connectors, programs, and an essential function of our reason to be church together. From a practical standpoint, I would advocate when appropriate for increased funding for formation ministries.”