A Message from Ellen
January 18, 2023
January 18, 2023
As FLPC was beginning to come back into the sanctuary and to begin again to meet for classes and small groups, the staff had some heart-to-heart conversations about what was important to do and how to do the essential tasks safely. And, after our commitment to worship together, we agreed that classes and small groups where we find safe space to learn, to ask questions, and to talk about faith was the very next thing we felt was critical to do, and to do well. If the purpose of worship is to point to and to connect us with God, then the purpose of our small groups and classes is to help form our understanding of and service to that God.
We made an intentional change in the language we use for that function. We stopped calling Sunday morning classes “Sunday School”, and started calling them “Faith Formation.” We decided to be very intentional in our language to remind us all that what we do in our classes and small groups is intended to form our faith in God.
This next weekend, FLPC will hold two weekend events that grow directly out of our intentional commitment to form the faith of our children and youth. Ed Black and a lot of volunteers will be holding a “Created By God” weekend retreat here at church. This event is intended to create safe space to talk about God’s amazing gift of human sexuality in the frame of faith. It would be easier not to do this retreat, but not to do it is to default on our responsibility to the children we love and have baptized. I want Church to be a safe place for our young people to ask questions (even questions we don’t want to hear), and a place where they can bring their whole selves, not just the parts that are dressed up and look good. Human sexuality, for Christians, is a good gift from God, and in that frame this weekend event provides critical faith conversations for our youth and their families. I am proud to be in a congregation that takes the faithful , though tougher, path to forming the faith of our children.
Also next weekend, Bill Wannamaker and I will be accompanying our 2023 Confirmation Class to Charleston for a retreat that begins our confirmation process. Again, the unwavering commitment is to create a safe space for our youth to ask questions and to struggle with the faith they have learned in order to make it their own. This is faith formation.
Neither of these events are easy or convenient. But if we say that we are disciples of Jesus Christ, then we are committed to forming our faith and to forming the faith of our children and youth. So, I ask you: what are you doing to form your own faith? Do you read Scripture every day? What about your prayer life? Do you have questions about who God is or about what you have been taught about God? It is your responsibility to participate in your own faith formation. We have lots of opportunities. What are you doing to follow Jesus?
If the answer to that question is “not much”, then please choose something. New classes and small groups are beginning now! Contact the Church Office or Ed Black to get a list of possibilities. FLPC is in the business of forming faith. Come and go with us!
Ellen Fowler Skidmore