Faith Formation and Christian Education

Faith Formation and Christian Education

Welcome to the Faith Formation ministries page of the United Church of Christ! There is a wealth of information and resources for your adaptation and use on this site, so please feel free to visit often.
 
A Reflection on Faith Formation
 
Yet, O Lord, you are our God;
   we are the clay, and you are our potter;
   we are all the work of your hand. –Isaiah 64:8
 
Faith formation is at the heart of what the Christian life is all about. In many ways, we engage in the practices of our daily lives and the rituals of our faith communities—through worship, mission, working for justice and peace, evangelism, and education—so that our faith may be nurtured, enlivened, sustained, and formed. In this regard, the imagery offered by the prophet Isaiah of Potter God forming humanity, God's created own, is an appropriate vision for how we might view the ministry of faith formation.
 
In the United Church of Christ, we can understand faith formation to be "an engaged process of learning and practice integrated throughout all aspects of congregational and daily life." This definition highlights the initiative and action we must take in our own faith formation. In essence, we become clay so that we are formed and transformed by the Holy and by one another. But throughout all of our doing and being, we are reminded that God's "hands" are continually present in our efforts to gain both "head" knowledge found in education and learning and "heart" wisdom discovered through prayer, ritual, and practice.
 
So, it is indeed most fitting to say that faith formation is at the heart of what our living and being is all about; but without the hands that guide what we are continually becoming, the process is incomplete. May this webpage offer some helpful tools from which you and others can “become clay” and be reminded of God's formational presence along life's journey.

Faith Formation Resources

General

Transitioning the Ministry of Christian Faith Formation and Education in the United Church of Christ: A Letter from Rev. Ben Guess, Executive Minister of Local Church Ministries - October 2012

Reports

Foundations, Findings, and Futures: Christian Faith Formation and Education in the United Church of Christ – September 2012
Full Report
Executive Summary

Small Group Study Resources

Forming and Transforming: Study Resources on Faith Formation for Whole Congregations
Things Have Changed…
What’s In A Name?

Dialogues on Christian Faith Formation and Education
Dialogue #1: Marcus Borg
Dialogue #2: Doug Pagitt
Dialogue #3: Geoffrey Black

Dialogues on Christian Faith Formation and Education is offered with the intent of promoting conversation around the past, present, and future of faith formation in the United Church of Christ.

Presentations

Children and Families Ministries for the 21st Century (ppt)
Annual Meeting, Penn Central Conference, Selinsgrove, PA – June 2013

Transitioning UCC Faith Formation Ministries (ppt)
New England Association of United Church Educators (NEAUCE) Annual Meeting, Centerville, MA – May 2013

Infusing Best Practices of Faith Formation into Your Congregation (ppt)
New England Association of United Church Educators (NEAUCE) Annual Meeting, Centerville, MA – May 2013

Faith Formation, Christian Education, or Other: Shaping Ministry in Your Church (ppt)
Congregations Alive, Rocky Mountain Conference – February 2013

Futuring Faith Formation and Leadership Development(ppt)
Young Adult Service Communities (YASC) Host Church Leaders’ Training, Cleveland, OH – January 2013

Futuring Faith Formation for Wider Church Ministry (ppt)
Network of Wider Church Youth Ministers (NOWCYM) Annual Gathering, New Orleans, LA – December 2012

Christian Faith Formation: Best Practices in A Shifting Landscape (ppt)
United Church of Chapel Hill, NC – November 2012

Highlights of “Foundations, Findings, and Futures: Christian Faith Formation and Education in the United Church of Christ” (ppt)
Faith Formation for Children and Youth Ministry Team Retreat, Minnesota Conference – October 2012

Foundations, Findings, and Futures: Christian Faith Formation and Education in the United Church of Christ (ppt)
Education Consultants’ Gathering, Cleveland, OH – September 2012

Where Are All the “Young People?” An Exploration of Young Adults, Spirituality, and Their Experiences of Church (ppt)
Growth Ministry Team, Rocky Mountain Conference – August 2012

What Makes Your Youths’ Spirits SOAR? A Multisensory Focus Group on Youth Faith Formation – Youth Leaders (ppt)
What Makes Your Spirit SOAR? A Multisensory Focus Group on Faith Formation – Youth (ppt)
National Youth Event, Purdue, IN – July 2012

Out of the Classroom and Into the World: Faith Formation in the Postmodern Age (ppt)
March in the Son, Connecticut Conference – March 2012

Faith Formation and Education Research on Young Adults (ppt)
LinK Event: Young Adult Ministry Workers, Cleveland, OH – December 2011

Where can I find information on Christian Educators?

UCC Educators
A page that shares information helpful to educators.

Seeking A Church Educator
So, your church needs a Christian Educator. Where can you find viable candidates? What qualifications should you look for? What is reasonable compensation? "Seeking A Church Educator" gives a concise guide to get you started.

Where can I order selected resources for Worship and Education?

The United Church of Christ Book of Worship is now available on CD along with a catalog of selected resources from the Worship and Education Ministry team.

Great Resources
Looking for resources for your congregation education program which are:
+Inclusive,
+Multi-racial and Multi-cultural,
+Age or interest specific,
+Currently available (from United Church of Christ Resources or another publisher),
+Printed or Multi-Media
Check the bibliographies for some of the best resources recommended by United Church of Christ congregations.

Faith Practices

Where can I find information on spiritual formation?

What Matters includes a variety of resources to connect your questions of faith with the deep faith expressed by the UCC. Explore six aspects of our faith through links below. Discover what matters through reflection, stories from UCC congregations and members, stories from history, Bible study, prayer, worship, and service.

Here, we also link to our pages for UCC women, ministry, ministry to children and families, and youth ministry.

Celebrating Christian Education Sunday

Resources for Christian Education Sunday

 

Service Prayers and Liturgies (Online)

A Ministry of Transformation

 Hymns

Come, Teach Us, Spirit of Our God – TNCH #287

O God, Who Teaches Us To Live – TNCH #359

Praise the Source of Faith and Learning – TNCH #411

Teach Me, O Lord, Your Holy Way – TNCH #465

God, Speak to Me, That I May Speak – TNCH #531

O Grant Us Light – TNCH #469

Colorful Creator – TNCH #30

Open My Eyes, That I May See  

Litany for Recognition of Teachers

One: Teachers are called to serve the church in a variety of roles – ordained and lay, volunteer and paid. The United Church of Christ [or insert your own church name here] recognizes and affirms with deep appreciation the outstanding, faithful, and dedicated commitment to the teaching task. Today we honor all those dedicated teachers in the UCC. We thank you, O God, for the ministry of education.

Many: Gentle and Loving God, through the ministry of teaching we learn about you, your creation of humankind, your trust in us to be your people, and your expectation that we will be responsible stewards of your creation.

One: We also learn, from the Holy Spirit and from our spiritual ancestors, that we have room to grow in faith.

Many: Priests, prophets, and wise counselors teach us through the Hebrew scriptures. Evangelists, apostles, and letter-writers in the Christian scriptures teach us of your love and forgiveness.

One: Most of all, we learn from your living Word, Jesus the teacher.

Many: That story, always fresh, comes to us through teachers in the church.

One: We thank you now and offer you praise for the educational ministry of [names]. Help us to affirm and support them in the ministry of teaching.

Unison: We pray in the name of Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

[Present certificate or other gift, and/or offer handshake or sign of peace.]

Adapted from the 1999 Excellence in Teaching Awards. Originally from the Committee on Certification for Church Educators in the United Church of Christ.

Where can I find information on universities, colleges and seminarians?

Just click on our link to our Seminarians' Page plus links to UCC-related seminaries, universities and colleges. Also, you will find information on campus ministries and a mailing list for college students.

Undergraduate Scholarship
The United Church of Christ Undergraduate Scholarship for UCC members studying at U.S. colleges and universities.

Other Resources

These are foundational documents on education in local congregations that were developed by the former United Church Board for Homeland Ministries.

Educational Mission

La Misión Educativa 

Planning the Mission

Other Links

Contact Info

Ivy Beckwith
Faith Formation Team Leader
700 Prospect Ave
Cleveland, OH 44115
216-736-3875
beckwithi@ucc.org