I am no spring chicken. I have (I hope I have!) a lot more good years ahead of me, but there is no hiding from the many, many moons that have gone into making me who I am. And why would I want to hide from them, anyway?
Each year that goes by represents the combination of people, sunrises, thoughts, and mistakes that make up my life, and these experiences are all so important to me. Yes, even the mistakes- especially the mistakes!!
A friend of mine recently reminded me that a baby falls thousands of times before learning to walk. All the really great and scary things we learn to do require “falling” or failing before we get to mastery. Not failing would mean we are not learning. And so it is with Religious Education.
I have been working on some new projects with the RE Committee. We are kind of on fire (in a quiet sort of way.) Our Committee will have a special longer meeting this Saturday to explore the ways we can experiment and learn to bring new energy to our program. Ways to serve our families using new tools. Some of these little projects will be great successes. Others will bomb…big time. All will provide us with information and will be tools for learning. My colleagues call this process “Experilearning.”
And I like that idea. That we are not born knowing everything we will ever need to know. That challenges arise to make us try new things, use our brains and hearts, stretch and grow. These are opportunities to reach out to others for help and inspiration. This is exciting spiritual work!
We are using the guidance of leaders like John Roberto, whose training on Faith Formation Rev. Deacon, Barbara Coppola, and Barbara Russell Willett and I attended last month. His work on adapting religious education is both groundbreaking and a natural next step to the ministry of our church. He sees faith formation as part of a network (an interdependent web?) serving many ages and stages of people across their life span as they cross milestones, using the new tools available to us in addition to traditional methods. (Check out his website!) He calls this model of doing Religious Education “Faith Formation Networks”.
Faith Formation Networks are already in place at Channing, we just can expand them in so many exciting ways. Faith formation is broader than children and youth RE. This is the work of the whole congregation, as we want ALL ages to grow as part of their connection to Channing. Let’s start talking, let’s start generating ideas together, let’s make some big mistakes together…
Experilearn with me!