The Forma Advocacy Team is a group of dedicated lay and clergy who actively develop, promote, and support formation and lay professionals in the Episcopal Church. The Advocacy Team supports the work of Forma in two main areas, both which include the role as an advisor to those seeking information and support.
- General Convention
- Professional Development
Forma members Missy Morain, Director of Program Ministry at the Parish of St. Matthew in Pacific Palisades, CA and Kate Huston, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Diocese of California, share the Advocacy Team’s mission as we begin to await the release of the “Blue Book” in advance of the next General Convention.
The Advocacy Team begins its work for General Convention, the triennial governing meeting of The Episcopal Church, when the “Blue Book” reports are released. They earned this name years ago when they were actually published with a blue book cover.The reports include the findings, studies, and recommendations published by the various task forces created during the prior General Convention to implement or study legislation that advances the mission of the Episcopal Church. The Advocacy Team analyzes these reports to see which issues, legislation, and concerns might impact the work of formation in the church or lay employees. In addition to its study of the Blue Book (now published online), the Forma Advocacy Team analyzes legislation that has been introduced and the proposed budget. It provides resources and white papers to committees) that are developing formation legislation for General Convention. These white papers are available to Forma members and others, including diocesan deputations.
The Forma Advocacy Team has also interviewed candidates for Executive Council and other positions who are seeking Forma’s endorsement. If requested, Forma has also actively written and worked with members or dioceses to introduce legislation at General Convention.
Typically, the Advocacy Team has an active presence at General Convention in a number of ways. First, several team members attend the convention, mostly at their own expense, to provide resources, testimony, and lobby for legislation or outcomes that promote the mission and vision of Forma, formation in the church, or lay employees. Second, members of the Advocacy Team also attend as deputies (elected by their dioceses) and serve on committees. Third, the Advocacy Team helps support the Forma booth in the exhibit hall where we share information about Forma and its ministry in the wider church. Fourth, the Advocacy Team works to train and resource those at General Convention who are learning the craft of advocacy.
Those who have participated in the Forma Advocacy Team have been instrumental in helping to craft numerous pieces of legislation related to formation and lay professionals, such as retaining funding of the Episcopal Youth Event (EYE) in the 2012 budget, and supporting the full inclusion of lay employees in the pension system and related employment benefits. In recent years, the Forma Advocacy Team has primarily focused on updating the Safe Guarding materials and training, confirmation, creating partnerships between groups engaging in formation ministries across the Church, addressing budget cuts to formation ministries, continuing to advocate for lay pension and benefits, and the inclusion of all the baptized in all the ministries of the Church.
Forma’s Advocacy Team provides resources to churches, dioceses, and other groups about working with lay professionals such as drafting a letters of agreement, job descriptions, or negotiating sabbaticals. In addition, the Advocacy Team works with Forma for increased professional development opportunities at conferences and certificate programs. Finally, it supports formation professionals in running as deputies to General Convention or for other leadership roles in the church.
Members of the Advocacy Team are available to answer questions, to help you craft legislation for your diocese for General Convention, and to support your ministry in your context. Contact us at [email protected] with your questions or to join the team.