From the beginning of humanity’s encounter with the Holy Presence we have sought to understand who is God, who we are, and what is our relationship with both God and each other. At the core of this is faith formation. Through the millennia, formation has taken many forms, from storytelling/oral tradition to study in the highest levels of academia. In ECMN over the last decade through the School for Formation we have aspired to provide robust, accessible, contextually appropriate formation for all the baptized—those who are pursuing ordination and those who desire to continue to grow in their faith.
It is exciting to imagine all the possibilities of creating our own School for Formation, yet like all start-ups, implementation and re-imaging can be heavy lifting. It is particularly exciting, and also extremely challenging, if what you are imaging is venturing into new territory. With this as the backdrop, your Missioner for Formation Susan Daughtry and I began a conversation about seeking out collegiality, collaboration, and partnerships.
In 2017, we cast a broad net across the Episcopal Church looking for others who were potentially doing similar work in their context. I distinctly remember a conversation with Susan suggesting how great it would be if she could find 4-6 folks who were doing something even remotely close to what we were offering in ECMN with the School for Formation. The gathering known as Uncharted was birthed, and to the surprise of both of us, we had over twenty people join us at the ECMN Retreat Center for worship, conversation, and networking!
This week we will host our second Uncharted. With over 65 participants (and a wait list!) coming from as far away as Hawai’i and Great Britain, formation thought-leaders, bishops, seminary faculty, theologians, and educational experts will come together at our ECMN Gathering Space for worship, dialogue, and networking.
Three questions will animate their work together:
How can we form leaders locally to have Beloved Community at the ground of their theological imagination?
How can we form leaders locally who will function missionally?
What technology and pedagogy can dioceses use to make this sustainable?
These three questions speak to the heart of local formation, inviting the Spirit’s transformation of our faith communities and the wider church from the inside as we remember and reinterpret the way of Jesus.
I am truly grateful for the Spirit’s work around formation in ECMN. I am particularly thankful to Susan, to Emilia Allen, Missioner for Support, and to all their colleagues for their tireless work for what looks to be an incredible gathering!
Beaming with ECMN Pride!