Called to transformation.  This calling is at the core of our baptismal identity (it’s in Episcopal Church in Minnesota tagline, too). When we commit to following Jesus, we commit to being active partners in that transformation. We seek out experiences, practices, and communities that will  form  us, turning us toward God’s vision of Beloved Community. Both ECMN’s Children and Youth Ministry Network and ECMN’s School for Formation strive to create programs and experiences of  formation  as we follow God’s call to  transformation . The CYMN & SFF cultivate spaces where people can both experience and learn to build Beloved Community. 

Through God’s grace, in sacred space, we are  transformed —healed, forgiven, freed, and humbled to share ourselves in harmony with God’s mission. Our faith communities are our primary context for creating these relational spaces for this formative work. Beyond our local faith communities, ECMN’s CYMN & SFF networks create even more opportunities for formation.

You are invited to join in.

The  CYMN  gathers adults involved in Children's or Youth Ministry at our Episcopal faith communities for fellowship and support. These adults also coordinate with ECMN's Youth Commission to offer children's and youth events around Minnesota. These events create space for transformative beloved community for ECMN’s children and youth and those who serve them.

The School for Formation  offers hybrid courses and workshops for adults who want to grow in their faith and leadership. With topics on Christian practice, spirituality, theology, preaching, and pastoral care, these courses help lay and ordained leaders discern their call to join in God’s mission. Our learning experiences are not only valuable opportunities to gain knowledge, but offer opportunities to practice building the kind of community we want to create and lead in our own contexts.

Building Connections

As we build deeper connections and shared vision between these two networks, we hope to discover and share best practices, wisdom, and stories with all of you. We want to help all of our members and communities experience the transformative power of beloved community in their own lives.
 
So stay tuned! Twice a year, SFF & CYMN will send out a joint email to capture the upcoming seasons of ministry, including stories from across our networks that capture a snapshot of our joint mission. This isn’t about filling up your inbox—rather, it’s about shaping our collective imagination about the work God is doing in and with us.

Join Us in Prayer
 
We invite you to pray through the two stories below about beloved community in the CYMN and the SFF. What’s God doing in these stories? Do they resonate with you? What inspires or challenges you here? What might the Holy Spirit be inviting you to do or experience in these stories?

In partnership and hope,

Sarah Barnett & Susan Daughtry

TALES OF TRANSFORMATION
Getting to know you... x 400
Each one of ECMN's collaborative children's and youth events involves more kids gathering every year. This year over 400 youth from around the state gathered at EKID, SINC, EYQC, ECAD, EYMC, Pre-TEC, and TEC. These programs are all led by a volunteer staff of adults and cost nearly $95,000 annually to run. This is an enormous investment in and expression of faith in Beloved Community that should not go unnoticed. Our parents, kids, and faith communities all mobilize to make these programs happen.

One of our campers said recently, at the end of a week of camp, "I never knew what I was capable of until I discovered these friends and this place." So whether you make a decision to participate in programs like these or whether you find yourself swept up in an unforeseeable connection with even one person, go and join God's mission of creating beloved community wherever you are.
A Hub for Faithful Practice
A few weeks ago, a newly-ordained deacon called to ask a question about an upcoming course.

“These look great—I can’t wait to get started. And I’d like to be part of the deacon cohort this year, too.”

The process of formation for Holy Orders can be intense, but the School for Formation provides learning and fellowship that continue to be valuable even to ordained clergy.

This story illustrates so much of what the School for Formation has sought to create: a container for loving relationships, deep learning, and a mindset of missional service that can nourish and inspire those who offer themselves for lay and ordained ministry.

It seems the Holy Spirit is up to something in our midst. Come join in—there are workshops, courses, and practice groups starting soon! 
Building Beloved Community
in Your Context
These are good guidelines for any gathering of people seeking to experience God's love together. We've used these for camps, vestry meetings, ministry with kids, and any time people need to be able to do holy work together. They're surprisingly simple. Give it a try!

  • Know people by name. It’s ok to ask! Learn their stories. Support the work of God’s spirit in their lives.
  • Give permission. Dream big. Invite others’ ideas and opinions.
  • Practice the Way of Love: Turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, rest. Find out more here.
  • Embrace diversity. The more facets of the human experience we see, the better we can see God.
  • Respect the seasons. Experiment, create, and fail. We are not after any concise goal.
  • Participate in the Church beyond Church. Seek to build connections between your faith community, ECMN, and all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Pray and show up for one another. Pray for your fellow Episcopalians. Participate in ECMN gatherings. Pray and participate on Sunday mornings in your own faith community.
Sarah Barnett | Missioner for Children, Youth, and Camp | sarah.b@episcopalmn.org

The Rev. Susan Daughtry | Missioner for Formation | susan.d@episcopalmn.org