Workshops at the Forma Conference cover a wide variety of topics, engaging participants and encouraging interaction and input. Attendees come away with practical tips and methods for addressing the challenges we all face in our efforts to improve our formation offerings.
This year, topics range from a discussion of sexuality to supporting at-home formation efforts, from digital outreach to caring for the homeless, from special needs ministry to the maker movement, from asset-based community development to Vacation Bible School.
Beginning the conversation: Sexuality discussion for everyone - Leslie A. Choplin, D.Ed.Min.
Sexuality surrounds us in our everyday lives and yet, we don’t always have the tools to get those conversations started at church. How can the church offer safe and hospitable places for these transformational conversations? How can the church respond to the call to be a place to model open, sex-positive discussions about sexuality, embodiment, and faith? We know that creating a space for these conversations can feel daunting, but it does not have to be. Come learn about resources, available to everyone, to help you start the conversation in church--or wherever you are.
Bringing your youth, parents, vestry, and church leadership on board with your ministries message - Randall Curtis
You have a great vision for your ministry. You are excited about it. Now, how do you let everyone else know about it in such a way that they can get excited about it also? How do you bring other people into the creative process of ministry so that together you join in an open source ministry that grows and transforms for your context? This workshop is part marketing, part communicating and a whole lot of stories of success from different contexts.
Failure of the Imagination: Reviving the formation in Confirmation - Lisa Kimball and Patricia Lyons
As The Confirmation Project national research has confirmed, there are effective and creative approaches to confirmation preparation. There are confirmation programs young people eagerly attend and through which their faith grows demonstrably. And, yes, there are confirmation services that do not resemble graduation! What makes confirmation “work”? What is being confirmed? Why does it matter? With solid data and rich storytelling, this workshop is designed to reinvigorate the practice of confirmation.
Feed My Sheep: Nurturing Spiritual Practices in the Congregation - Kathleen Crevasse
The care and feeding of souls is important work. Lay or clergy, part time or full, working with children or adults, if you are engaged in congregational ministry, you are charged with planning the menu, getting the goods, and preparing and/or presenting the meals so that no one goes hungry. Come learn about, share your own stories and experience a sampler of spiritual practices. On the menu: Contemplative prayer, Lectio Divina, walking the labyrinth, creative prayer practices, seasonal quiet days/retreats/devotional booklets, everyday mindfulness practices and more.
Meeting God - and Each Other - in the Digital Space - Merrill Whatley and Lisa Brown
Helping others meet God in the digital space requires us to be in that space in an authentic way. Connecting with others online is no less unreal than connecting in person; how can we be there for others who are searching for God? Merrill Whatley works to make technology a bridge and not a hurdle, to make this environment more a more natural space for storytelling and conversation around people’s experiences in their search for God.
Social Justice Panel Discussion - Heidi Kim, Heidi Clark, Sharon Pearson, Eric Law, Eduardo Rivera, Malcolm McLaurin
Our baptismal covenant calls for us to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” Our panel will discuss ways that we can do this in our communities and other current events.
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Church Video, Better - Alex Haralson
Video is everywhere. You probably have a camera in your pocket right now, and it’s probably able to make some pretty good images. The accessibility we have to decent cameras these days, coupled with instant upload to the Internet, makes it a breeze to record video and send it out to an audience in a matter of minutes. So how do you stand out above the crowd? How do you connect with your audience? Visual storytelling can take many forms, whether it’s documentary, dramatic narrative, or experimental. Inspiration is all around us in the Church, and seeking out those stories will keep the content flowing. Whether we’re preserving a part of the church’s history, showcasing an important ministry, or creating a tool for prayer/meditation, there’s a way to make it into a captivating visual story! Join Alex to find ways to make church video better!
Fresh from the Field: What Your Church Can Learn from A New Church Plant - The Reverend Dr. Gray Lesesne
In 2015, the Diocese of Indianapolis chose to do something risky. We decided to plant a new congregation in a thriving new suburb, but with a twist: we are a church without walls. Good Samaritan Episcopal Church officially launched last fall in Brownsburg, Indiana, and we are focused on building a community of open-minded followers of Jesus who love and serve others. Come to hear what we are learning in the mission fields, to learn where we’ve had successes and failures, and to take home ideas that your congregation or ministry can use whether you’re brand new or have been around for many years.
Supporting Parents in Faith at Home - Wendy Claire Barrie, Christie Hord, Di Pagel
The research is in, and it clearly shows that regardless of what we in the church offer children, parents are still their primary pastors. The primary indicator of whether children grow into an adult faith is having parents who are active in their faith and who talk about matters of faith at home. Come and explore ways to support parents who are hesitant with their own understanding of faith talk to their kids about who God is, why we pray and how to read the Bible, and how we can help them connect what we do in church to what they do at home.
The Maker Movement and the Church - Missy Morain
God is the original maker and God made us in God’s image. This makes us makers at our core. We inhabit the first “makerspace” and were created to join God in this space to co-create. Churches are already “makerspaces”, physical locations where people can come together and make, places where it is safe to wonder and to explore. Makers push each other to build and invent new things, to create and innovate. We already know that being formed as a Christian isn’t about a teacher transferring knowledge to a student and measuring success isn’t about how well a student can regurgitate that information. Christian formation leaders in the church are already deeply engaged in creating space where the People of God can be made in the image of God. This workshop will help you tell that story and discover new ways of creating “makerspaces” in your Holy spaces.
What is EYE and why should we go? - Bronwyn Clark Skov
The triennial international Episcopal Youth Event takes place July 10-14, 2017, in the Diocese of Oklahoma in Edmund on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma. If you have never attended an EYE, are a diocesan registrar, or are one of the adults planning to lead a diocesan delegation, we would love to give you some tips and open up space for questions and conversation.
What is Special Needs Ministry? - Lisa Puccio
We will explore the components of special needs ministry including training for volunteers, how to set up a self-contained classroom, what is respite care and alternative, inclusive worship.
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Better Together: Collaborative Youth Ministry - Missy Greene, Monica Mainwaring and Charlette Preslar
We are better together. Collaborative youth ministry is one creative solution to the perennial challenges of youth ministries: leadership, critical mass, funding, staffing, variety, and equal access. Together, collaboratively, we can share our resources, our leaders, our learning and training and expertise, our deposits on retreat sites, our Friday night pizza… This workshop will offer two case studies from the Diocese of San Diego and Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, exploring the barriers to collaborative success and the benefits of shared ministry; the latter half of the workshop will be a guided discussion about transitioning to collaboration, including cost/benefit analysis and theological reflection.
Empowering from within: An asset-based approach to transforming community - Chad Brinkman and Heidi Kim
Often times we focus on the perceived needs of a community, sustaining narratives and cycles of dependency that are usually defined by others. What if our ministries were the product of partnerships that leveraged the shared gifts of our community? In this workshop, learn how the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) methodology builds and strengthens relationships both inside and outside of the Church, shifting viewpoints from scarcity to enough and creating sustainable growth in your faith community.
Knowing What We Know: Discernment for Everyday Life - Julia McCray-Goldsmith
Discernment is not just the work of the Commission on Ministry; it is the day by day practice of disciples seeking to follow Jesus in our homes, our schools, our workplaces (even our cars!) and our rest. This workshop will give you a chance to practice simple and powerful Ignatian prayer tools that are appropriate for all ages and useful to families and intergenerational gathering. You’ll take home some mini retreats and easy-to-share practices that will ground your ministry more deeply in God.
Laundry Love - George Daisa
The Laundry Love initiative consists of regular opportunities to help people who are struggling financially by assisting them with doing their laundry. Laundry Love seeks to bring economic relief by giving the individual or family the option to redirect funds toward food, medical, gas or transportation costs as well as school supplies and other basic, everyday necessities. Come learn more about this important ministry and how you can implement it in your own communities.
Social Media Panel Discussion - Sarah Stonesifer, Jason Oden, Wendy Karr Johnson
Social Media is rapidly changing the ministry landscape. Join the discussion on current best practices and how to leverage social media in your local context.
Vacation Bible School Panel Discussion - Lisa Brown, Christina Clark, Kathleen Crevasse
Vacation Bible School is one of the most discussed topics on Forma’s list serve and Facebook page. Come join the discussion! How do you determine the best theme for your Vacation Bible School program? Should you buy a VBS package or develop your own program? How best to find and train volunteers. Traditional VBS, Arts Camp, and Social Justice VBS will all be discussed. Learn about how your VBS program can extend your church’s mission and ministry - and then share that with your community
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