Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Faith Formation at 11 AM Sunday Morning

Two months into our 11 a.m. Sunday Faith Formation Groups for all Ages, we have six young people’s groups and five adult groups meeting each week, with an additional parenting group that meets on first Sundays. All groups are led by two co-facilitators each week, and most use curriculum developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association, adapted for our Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church context. Because having numerous Adult Faith Formation Groups is still so new for us, here is an overview.

Every week we offer “WELCOME,” a gathering for first time visitors.

Every week, we offer one of the following “BEGIN” sessions on a rotating basis, so that each session is offered roughly once a month. These sessions were initially intended for relative newcomers but folks who have been in the church for quite some time have attended and found them very informative and enlightening. Everyone is welcome.

1. Where do we come from? (UU history)
1. How do we grow in faith? (UU Religious Education)
2. How do we live in the world? (UU Social Justice)
3. How are decisions made? (UU Polity)

We have a third gathering each week, one of the six “GROW” sessions listed below. This series is intended for those who have been in the church awhile but have not been involved in much religious education other than perhaps the BEGIN sessions listed above. Each GROW session allows participants to sample a particular curricula that we recommend for ongoing groups. At the conclusion of each GROW session, the facilitators pass around a sign-up sheet for those who are interested in forming an ongoing group using the curriculum that was sampled that day. The form asks people to identify their best days and times to meet. When six or more people sign up for the same curriculum and can meet at the same time, we find co-leaders and form a new “DEEPEN” group.

1. Non Violent or Compassionate Communication
2. Spiritual Practice
3. Social Justice
4. “What do I mean when I say I am a UU?”
5. Discovering our Personal Gifts
6. Learn, Serve, Care—Home Groups

The next step on our Adult Faith Formation Path, “DEEPEN” is for going deeper into a given topic or practice with a group that meets together on an ongoing basis, over time. Our most recent “DEEPEN” group, “Spirit in Practice,” just started in November (the result of people signing up for more at the conclusion of a Spiritual Practice session in the “GROW” series.) All groups are open to anyone who would like to join in at any time.

1. Afterthoughts and Preview—every Sunday
2. Spirit in Practice—every Sunday
3. The Art of Unitarian Universalist Parenting—first Sundays of each month

To date: 69 adults have attended at least one 11 a.m. Adult Faith Formation session.
27 volunteers have co-facilitated one or more sessions.
Average attendance: 20 participants.
Nov. 7 was our highest attendance to date w/ 35 participants.

This is a snapshot of 11 a.m. Sundays, at age two months. What we have accomplished, thus far, has been possible because of the cooperation, patience, vision, presence, persistence, and skills of the team of co-facilitators. My deep gratitude to them. They are:

Marty Adler-Jasny
Gina Grubb
Harold Waddle
David Holt
Carl Bretz
Sarah Johnson
Claudia Earhart
David Savoie
Linda Shissler
Judy Bocknek
Brenda Parker
Anne Scott
Jen Stark
JoAnn Garrett
Liz Peelle
April Dixon
Annie Golson
Ernie Burress
Martin Bauer
Angelina Carpenter
Martha Deaderick
Trish Holst
Donna Bass
Robin Toth
Anne Parks Johnson

This 11 a.m. hour is a work in progress as we continue to build a “Learning Community which fosters the lifelong development of spiritual and ethical Unitarian Universalists” (Goal 2 of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church Long Range Plan.) The Adult Faith Formation Team members are listed below. They welcome new members of the team as well as any and everyone’s suggestions and support in shaping adult faith formation opportunities for the congregation.

David Savoie, chair
Ann Ragan, secretary
April Dixon
Robin Toth
Peter Lorenz
Kim Kasten
Linda Shissler

In faithful and fruitful partnership,

Tandy Scheffler, Director of Faith Formation
11/14/ 2010

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