2015 Annual Report – Faith Formation Team

-from Lori Alford, Faith Formation Team, Chair

Our objective as a team is to support the on-going faith formation ministry in the conference, including the oversight, advocacy, and distribution of the Ashley endowment.

Events supported throughout the year by the team included four Conference Youth Events at Pilgrim Point Camp and six Fourth Thursday Faith Formation gatherings – with some of the biggest number of attendees to date. This November will be the last of the Certification School trainings. We are sad to let go of this ministry in this capacity, as all of us on the team have benefitted in one way or another from this. However, we also see the need for the experience to expand and grow in ways that are best suited to Vibrant Faith and their ministry. The team distributed $20,000 of Ashley Micro-Grant dollars for congregations to grow their faith formation ministries and established the bi-annual Mission Trip Grant for 2015. Also, we provided funding to produce Parables, a manual highlighting ministry with children of all abilities, which was written by Leslie Neugent of Wayzata Community Church. An event was held at WCC celebrating this unique ministry. Our team also contributed to a Church on the Move event focused on Faith Formation and changes happening in the church.

Our October meeting was hosted by Mayflower UCC, with guest Ivy Beckwith, Faith Formation Team Leader of the national UCC attending. She shared information about family and children’s ministries worth watching nationally, and information about National Youth Event and Youth@General Synod. At that time we agreed to support Youth@General Synod so that there would be a table specifically for youth at the event. We also reviewed the Faith Forming Five initiative – is it working? What more does it need? How can we invite more churches to participate? This is an on-going conversation for the team, with plans to revisit these questions at another time. We also spent time creating the next years’ budget.

In January, Wade Zick hosted the Faith Formation Team at his home. We allocated Mission Trip Grants for 2015, reviewed Faith Forming Five and had further conversation about a writing group to support that initiative. We spent time working through how to best support churches in sending youth to National Youth Event and determined budget to allow for support. We continued budget conversations concerning the best stewardship of the Ashley endowment – the conference has benefited greatly and we’ve been able to support the national setting, but we also considered whether what and how we give is enough.

Our conference has been gifted with many talented Faith Formation advocates and it has been a pleasure to serve alongside these good people.

Team Members: Lori Alford (chair), Beryl Bils, Kevin Brown, Kayla Bonewell, Tom Ewald, Julia Kwam (secretary), Sheri Nelson, Jodie Nyberg, ex-officio Wade Zick (staff)