Regina in front of St. John's Church, Little Gidding, Huntingdonshire. Little Gidding was the site of a 17th c. Anglican religious community that was the subject of Regina's dissertation.
Hello from England! I am finishing up my trip, which involved some vacation with Chris and for the last few days an academic conference at Magdalene College, Cambridge University. I look forward to seeing many of you on Sunday, as we resume our regular worship schedule, register children and youth for Christian Formation, and enjoy the Welcome Picnic after the 10:30 service!
This is also Tom Marsan’s first Sunday as Grace’s new Minister for Christian Formation for Children and Youth, and I know you will welcome him warmly. I admit, Tom’s title is a bit ponderous. Why not just call him Director of Christian Education? Well, Grace is a place that believes in shared ministry, and especially in the ministry of all the baptized that is so emphasized in the New Testament. We don’t really need a Director; we need someone who will share in and guide our ministry together. (The root of the word ministry is “service.”) “Minister” does not imply ordination—it celebrates the role that all of us have as called to serve the church and the world in the name of Christ. And why “formation” instead of “education”? The word “education” is perfectly good, but it comes with a lot of baggage—it implies a classroom model, and a model of one teacher with many students. But growing up in faith is really more of a life-long shaping process—like the wonderful images from the Hebrew prophets of God as the potter and us as the clay. And our formation happens in all kinds of ways, most of which occur outside a classroom setting: at home, in worship, in service together, in fellowship. Christ is our Teacher, and we are all students. Christian formation is a life-long process—there is no “graduation,” until we see our Lord face to face. And so, we specify “for children and youth”—rather than assuming that the only ones who need to be educated or formed in faith are young people!
I am so glad to have Tom join our staff and our community, and to begin another school year with you following our Teacher for life, Jesus. May we be formed and shaped together into vessels of love and service for a hurting world.