Pastoral Letter: Faith Formation Opportunities

September 03, 2020

Greetings, Calvary,

It has been 25 Sundays of digital worship, 26 Sundays since worship was open to folks in the Sanctuary, and 28 Sundays since I was in worship with you before going on parental leave. That is exactly half the Sundays in a year that we have not been together - while I know we have lived it, it is still hard to believe.

Shortly before my parental leave and Covid-19 safety measures began, my role at Calvary shifted to oversee Faith Formation of all ages. I began this new role by forming a Faith Formation Ministry Team (FFMT) with Rev. Krysta Baglien, Mike Burck, Cory Crile, Libby Johnson, and Estela Schweissing. While our work together looks very different than originally envisioned, the FFMT pivoted to our new online dominated mode of communication and meetings. Over the summer this team has met with Ms. Angela to assess ways to support the Children’s Ministry and with David Farwig to explore meaningful ways of faith formation with music when we are able to gather. In the coming weeks this team will meet with Church School leaders to creatively explore the vision and mission of Calvary’s Church School ministry when we are able to resume meeting without Covid safety measures in place. Thanks to this team, Calvary is exploring creative ways to engage our faith formation during these ever-changing times.

In addition to worshipping through our virtual services (thank you Damon Scalfaro and Rev. Matt Nelson for producing those services), we also have a variety of faith formation small group opportunities to meet different needs. There are several groups who have decided to wait until Covid safety measures have lifted to resume meeting, a few groups that have chosen to make reservations with Lori to meet onsite with Covid safety measures observed, nine groups that are shifting to meet via zoom, and three groups that are meeting socially distanced outdoors while weather allows. If you aren’t connected to a group yet but would like to be, contact me and I will help you find a good fit for your interests/needs. Thank you to all the small group and church school leaders who are supporting their groups in whatever ways they can. Your work is helping us stay connected, which is such a vital need these days.

Beyond small groups, there are three other faith formation opportunities that you may view on you own and access at any time. If you haven’t had the chance to explore these, here is a bit of information to get you started.

  • The Spiritual Practices segments from The Gathering Worship are all accessible on the Faith Formation playlist on our YouTube Channel and include tutorials on topics such as Creating a Prayer Altar, Breath Prayer, Prayer Walks, Body Prayer, Praying the Hours, Journaling, etc.
  • The follow-up to our Sabbath study from winter/spring is a study on four discernment models - St. Ignatius’ eight stages of discernment, the Wesleyan quadrilateral, the Quaker Clearness Committee, the Ignatian Examen. In each discernment practice you are invited to explore what Sabbath looks like for you and those in your life, especially now that many of our Sabbath practices are impacted one way or another by the realities of Covid. This time apart has also brought up many big life decisions and discussions and these four discernment models could serve as a helpful companion as you make those big decisions. What might we be able to learn about ourselves and what God is drawing us towards during these times? Access the full Discernment and Sabbath study here.
  • The other series consists of two interviews on Life Discussions in the Time of Covid-19 Safety Measures. I had the privilege of interviewing Rita Berglund (MA, LPC ~ Psychotherapy) and Jason Whitehead (MDiv/LCSW) on how we can tend to ourselves, be there for others, and live each day as best as we can during these times. You may watch the interviews in full or in segments divided by topic (17-26 min each). These interviews will hopefully help you add tools to your life toolbox, give you space to practice difficult conversations before you have to have them, and remind you that you are not in this alone. Access the full playlist of video segments here

Wherever you might be engaging your faith formation during this time I pray you are finding meaningful connection with God, self, and others. If there are ways I can better support your faith formation journey please let me know! This is a time to try new things, examine what was and what can be, and learn how to support one another - so send me an email if we can do any of those for you.

Take good care of yourself, Calvary!

Pastor Morgan

Author: Morgan Fletcher
Category: Uncategorized