Monday Musings: Faith Formation Formation

As we re-vision, with the guidance of our new Senior Minister, who we as First United are and who we want to become, I am grateful for the attention that “Faith Formation” is getting—in our newsletter, in our updated job description for Derek Roe’s position, in our congregational conversations, and in our visioning and aspirations for our future ministries.

I’ve thought a lot about faith formation for children. Our daughters’ time at First United was not the childhood church experience of years past. I found First United through the UCC listing in the telephone directory in 2004, and John Krueger took my call early in his first interim time with us. In response to my question, “Do you have a robust children’s program?” he replied, “If I tell you the truth, will you still give us a chance?”

We gave First United a chance, stayed, and treasure our experience here. But it was a somewhat lonely time for kids, and when we visited other congregations, our girls couldn’t help but notice that other churches offered more peer presence and programming. Still, they knew that the adults here cared deeply for them, and being in an Open, Welcoming and Affirming congregation was a deal breaker for them as well as me. They both enjoyed one-on-one relationships with their Minister and feel that the progressive faith formation they received here remains resilient in their adult lives.

I believe that faith formation is profoundly important for young people, setting them up for a lifetime of knowing that a faith community can be a valuable resource for them as both spiritual and social beings. I also believe that this is true for all stages of life, and one of my great hopes is that in the coming years First United will succeed in reaching out to many who don’t even realize that what we offer exists, or that their lives would be richer for knowing us.

As we think deeply about our faith formation offerings for all ages, I’m excited and energized. I am eager to deepen and develop my own relationship with my God and my ministry through renewed attention to spiritual growth and grappling with issues of social and racial justice. I appreciate the reminder that we are all ministers, and that we need to feed and further our faith to be effective as ministers.  As I look with longing and anticipation toward our reopening and our re-visioning of our congregation, I welcome especially the educational opportunities we can create and grow in.                                                                                                    

Mary Peckham