The Child Youth and Family Ministry (CYFM) Committee works to have a grace-filled impact on children, youth, emerging adults, and families throughout our synod. This will boldly empower all of us to live out our baptismal call in the world. We focus on:
- Baptismal Identity: articulating a shared theological understanding based in the baptismal covenant--CYFM is at the heart of ministry, with every person equally valued from infants to older adults.
- Connectivity: strengthening the network of support for CYFM by connecting people, congregations, conferences, and communities.
- Equipping: providing training that empowers leadership development in CYFM.
We want to know your stories! -- and to share them with other congregations. Are you planning an event? Let us know and we will help get the word out.
For more information, contact chairperson Deacon Charlie Germain at 845-225-4698. Committee meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend. To join the committee, sit in on the meetings, or get on our e-mail list, contact Charlie.
Ever wonder, what’s happening to the church? Attendance is down. The congregation is aging. Many congregations are experiencing financial difficulties. What’s the future? The Practice Discipleship Initiative was developed to help church leaders and congregations wrestle with these questions.
The Practice Discipleship Initiative is a movement in the ELCA designed to move the church into the 21st century. The theme for 2013 is "Faith Formation in a Missional Age." Seven presentations with questions to guide discussion were developed and funded jointly by the ELCA, ELCA Youth Ministry Network, First Third at Luther Seminary and the North Carolina Synod.
Webinars were and are being presented online between January and April 7. All webinars are archived and can be viewed at www.practicediscipleship.org. Presentations will also be done locally in the Metropolitan New York Synod by our synod coach. These resources are free of charge! If you would like to have one or more of the presentations done at your congregation or for your group, or if you have questions, contact Charlie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A short description of the presentations follows:
Faith Formation In a Missional Age
Terri Elton | Luther Seminary
The world is changing rapidly. 1 out of every 5 adults in the USA claims to have no religious affiliation. Our task of faith formation just got more difficult. The purpose of this year's Practice Discipleship Project is to explore the realities of faith formation in this missional age. This session will be an open discussion on the challenges we all face when doing ministry in this era. What are the challenges we are faced with? What is the opportunity? What are your fears and anxieties? What are your joys? We will seek the collective wisdom of the group on ways we can faithfully move forward and continue to support one another in our work.
Theology Session #1
"When Necessary Use Words"? Verbum Dei Theology for Right Now
Hans Wiersma | Augsburg College
By now, you've likely been admonished by some t-shirt, poster, or bumper sticker to "preach the gospel and, if necessary, use words." The slogan (inaccurately attributed to St. Francis) appears to turn the Theology of the Word on its ear. On the other hand, the slogan resonates in a culture where explicitly religious speech is met with suspicion or even outright hostility. Still, if "faith comes through hearing" and "God's Word does what it says," then should we not also be speaking up for the spoken, preached Word? Along with Scripture, we'll look at past and present resources from Lutheran and other traditions to guide our investigation.
Theology Session #2
Walking Together in Solidarity: A Theology of Accompaniment
Rozella White | Emory Center for Pastoral Services
The ministry of accompaniment is the sacred act of being in authentic relationship with others. The purpose of this ministry is to allow individuals, groups and organizations to grow in love and compassion towards each other. Accompaniment calls congregations to listen deeply to their contexts in order to discern how best to walk alongside the community. This accompaniment provides a reciprocal relationship of giving and serving that builds the bond between the community and the congregation. This way of being in relationship calls the congregation to take the needs and the wisdom of its context seriously.
Theoretical Session #1
Theories of Culture: A New Agenda for Theology, Ministry, and Faith Formation
Nathan Frambach | Wartburg Seminary
Culture: a familiar word that rolls off the tongue rather easily, perhaps casually, as though it needs no explication. How do we move beyond popular definitions to a deeper understanding of the notion of culture for today? Three assertions:
• The Christian gospel and culture(s) cannot be separated;
• We live within a pluriverse of cultures;
• Congregations are one of those cultures.
This workshop will help participants better understand the reality of culture(s) today for the sake of faithful, truthful, and effective ministry in a missional age.
Theoretical Session #2
In-cultur-ating the gospel
Colleen Windham-Hughes | California Lutheran University
The gospel is the good news for all people, in all places, at all times. And yet the gospel must be translated anew for each generation, made fresh for each culture. What is culture anyway? Learn how cultural intelligence helps to equip us for the work of inculturating the gospel for God's people in our places and times.
Practical Session #1
Dog Eating Chicken: Translating Faith
Heather Hamen | Texas Lutheran University
What's that you say? A dog eating chicken? Or did you mean a dog-eating chicken? It's funny how even when we speak the same language, we have to learn to communicate in a way that makes sense to the people we are talking to. In a missional age with youth, come explore what it means to speak their language and share with them a Gospel message that makes sense. In this workshop, participants will explore the ways they might take an old language of faith and translate it into a youth-friendly way of sharing the story. Participants will also spend some time learning how to teach youth to share their own stories of faith in a way that speaks to their peers.
Practical Session #2
Jeremy Myers | Augsburg College
So, how can my church engage our community in new and meaningful ways? This session will build off all the previous theological and theoretical sessions and offer a way forward with a handful of practices and exercises to empower your congregation to express its faith in public ways with your youth. We've figured out the service project (sort of) but now let's start talking innovatively and creatively about community asset mapping, public art, and public rituals.
- The ELCA National Youth Gathering: The next Gathering, a triennial event, will be in the summer of 2015 in Detroit. Visit www.elca.org/gathering for more information as it becomes available.