We are formed in community, among family and friends, peers and mentors. And our formation is ongoing – all of us are learning as we go. Sometimes we need to be with people who are different from us, we need a mixed group. Sometimes we need to be with people who are similar to us, people with whom we have a lot in common.
When we talk about faith formation, or religious education, we sometimes think of an older teacher or mentor instructing the young. Right now, at St. John’s, your leadership team is thinking of faith formation in all sorts of different ways… sometimes older people learn from younger people, and sometimes young learn from each other. Our job as leaders is not to “make people learn the right things in the right ways,” but to create opportunities for all of us to encounter each other, the stories of our tradition, and maybe even something of the sacred in our midst.
You may have already noticed programs that invite young people to be together, like the middle school sleep over. Or you may have noticed that we are making time to be together across ages, like in egg decorating.
When Congregational Life Consultant, Nancy Combs Morgan came to speak to us last fall, she brought up the idea of “huddling and mixing.” Sometimes we need time to be together with our peer group and talk about things that we share. A new parent’s group is a good example. And sometimes we can be challenged to grow by being with someone from a different generation.
As Ashleigh and I endeavor to provide opportunities for both huddling with people like you and mixing with others, we hope you will jump in and bring your best self to the experience. You never know what encounter might spark new friendship, curiosity, or joy.
Yours in Faith, Rev. Mitra