Happy New Year, Formation Friends!

To be honest, it seems really odd to type "Happy New Year"! We are barely two weeks in and WOW, 2021 is out of the gate at quite the gallop. Rounding the corner into the holidays, I found myself saying, a lot, "during this unprecedented time" because to be honest, I just had no other words to describe ALL THE THINGS going on in the world. I still don't.

All around, in the eyes I see above the mask, these unprecedented times are taking their toll. Whether it be parents still working and handling remote learning from home, people trying to make ends meet due to under-employment, those who live alone starved for community, or countless other scenarios, it is certainly easy to feel hopeless. Just last week Bishop Curry spoke on NPR with other faith leaders about how we can find hope in difficult times, you can listen HERE . Now more than ever, we have to be intentional about seeking and finding hope in our daily lives.

Yet in the midst of this we find ourselves in Epiphany, a time in the church year that is full of light and hope. Intentionally recognizing Christ's divinity and his incarnation, can fill our world with hope. This year our family started a faith at home practice for Epiphany. Each day we name either a person who brought Christ's light to us or someone who we shared Christ's light with. Thinking about those people, remembering their faces, has reminded me so much of God's presence in the world.

We are not the first and will not likely be the last to live through unprecedented times. How we choose to live in and through them will determine how our world moves forward. God calls us to honor the beauty of every person we encounter. The Baptismal Covenant binds us together as we strive for justice and peace among all people, respecting the dignity of every human being. I hope in the resources shared here you will find ideas and ways to do that at home, at church, in your community, and in our world. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so poignantly said, (in unprecedented times) "We must accept our unwanted and unfortunate circumstance and yet cling to a radiant hope. The answer lies in developing the capacity to accept the finite disappointment and yet cling to the infinite hope"

God's Peace,

Missioner for Lifelong Christian Formation
For Children

Wendy Claire Barrie author of Faith at Home: A Handbook for Cautiously Christian Parents wrote this Godly Play lesson to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Feast Day in April. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a saint in the Episcopal Church. This could be adapted for use anytime.

Younger Children

LISTEN: Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?: A Who Was? Board Book - Read aloud by the author, this book explores the basics of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and work.

READ: The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read - This Caldecott Honor book tells the true story of Mary Walker, a woman born into slavery who learned to read at age 116.

CREATE: Peace Dove Craft Martin Luther King Jr. believed in peaceful protest. Though found as a Christmas craft, making doves of peace can remind us of his constant focus on peace.

Older Children

READ: Portraits of African-American Heroes written by Tonya Bolden this book provides a beautiful portrait along with a short biography of 20 African-Americans who have shaped our world today.

CREATE: Patchwork Quilts based on the story told in The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom. Discovered well over 100 years after the legal end to slavery, it is believed that symbols in specially designed quilts were used to communicate on the Underground Railroad.

LISTEN/WATCH: This stunning recording of Lift Every Voice and Sing was for Juneteenth observances at Baylor University. This song and poem is the African American National Anthem and also the title of an Episcopal Hymnal.
For Middle &
High School Youth

Episcopal Curriculum for Youth provides several different lesson units on Diversity and Peace & Justice. This is a comprehensive curriculum that requires a commitment from leaders and time to inform parents ahead of time. It is grounded in Episcopal theology, it will need some updating to reference more current events.

Ministry to Youth offers a four part series on Race and Racism.
• Lesson 1 - What is Racism
• Lesson 2 - Racial Bias
• Lesson 3 - Hatred
• Lesson 4 - Discrimination
These lessons are meant to be taught in order and as a series. They are scripturally based. Reviewing them ahead of time with parents and youth leaders is an important part of teaching with ANY anti-racism curriculum.
READ: MARCH a Trilogy Slipcase Set written in party by the late Congressman John Lewis, this graphic novel set recounts his work and experience of the Civil Rights Movement.

LISTEN: Before Rosa Parks, A Teenager Defied Segregation On An Alabama Bus is a 8 minutes podcast episode on Radio Diaries that shares the story of Claudette Colvin.

CREATE: Instagram Story Prayer Stations Using this idea a jumping off point, create a list of prompts that focus on racial healing and racial justice for use during Black History month or at other times.

WATCH: From SALT Project this 2 minute video captures highlights from the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

A 4 part Zoom series begins on January 26th with Ms. Aljosie Aldrich Harding presented by The Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing. Click on the title link for registration information.

Pauli Murray was the first Black woman to be ordained and Episcopal Priest. Orphaned as a small child, she grew up with her grandparents in Durham. Songs in a Weary Throat: Memoir of an American Pilgrimage is Murray's Autobiography.

WATCH/LISTEN: God’s Gonna Trouble the Water: Freedom’s Call and Response in African American Spirituals Music and presentation about the history of African American Spirituals from the Washington National Cathedral featuring The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, the Rev. Dr. Rose Duncan, Kehembe Eichelberger, Stanley Thurston and Dr. Eileen Guenther.

PRAY: Breath Prayers in Anxious Times From Sarah Bessey's Field Notes, this post focuses on the ancient form of prayer which is easily adaptable. Simply choose one or two lines to meditate on and inhale and then exhale through them.
Shrove Tuesday

• Take Home Party Packs This post on Building Faith includes a good list of supplies that can be gathered for parishioners to pick up to have Shrove Tuesday at home. It includes some silly games to play and a way for members to share photos of their "parties" on Social Media.

• Shrove Tuesday at Home This resource from Milestones Ministry provides an outline for prayer, history and discussion for a household to celebrate at home.
Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday Bonfire at Home This post from Jerusalem Greer offers a way for us to mark this important day in our faith journeys at home. Supplies and an outline of service are part of the post.
We Wonder on Ash Wednesday - This podcast for Children explores Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent. Though this podcast is from last year, new podcasts are updated seasonally throughout the church year.

• An Illustrated Labyrinth Meditation: Ash Wednesday Intended for use at home, not for congregational purchase, this resource from Illustrated Ministry is meditative using a labyrinth and prayer.
All Ages
SHARE: Micropractices for Lent from Vibrant Church Communications offers resources for churches to share with their congregations from downloadable Lenten devotionals to images to share on social media during lent.

DO: Track Your Time Outside Though not explicitly a Lent resource, 1,000 Hours Outside began as movement based on research sharing the benefits for children to be outside. Adults also benefit from more time outside too. This would be a great discipline for individuals, families, and parishes to share in during Lent and beyond, particularly as we continue to live with COVID 19 restrictions.

PLAY: Lent Madness The Golden Halo is up for grabs again as 32 saints gear up for this annual fun Lenten competition.It is a great way to learn about both well known and lesser known saints in the church. Click HERE to find brackets and see the saints for 2021.
Bless this Mess This resource from SALT Project is a 6 week devotional calendar for Lent. Each week has its own set of illustrated cards with engaging daily practices. Each Sunday outlines a simple candlelight service. Forty cards in all (including one for Ash Wednesday). This downloadable resource can be purchased for individuals or by parish size.

StoryMakers Lent Guide is developed for Christian Formation Leaders and Parents. They are also offering a FREE zoom webinar on how their Lent 2 curriculum. Click HERE to register.

Communal ashes: finding God in our lament this Lenten season This post from Fuller Youth Institute, though a couple of years old is a poignant reflection for this year's Lenten season.

Six Smooth Stones Written by Sister Barbara Jean Brown (Episcopal Nun) this book is a great introduction to 5 Spiritual practices that can be a focus for Lent or anytime. Practices are Spiritual Reading, Prayer of Attentiveness (Contemplation), Fasting, Works of Kindness (mercy) and Worship in Community.
Poetry in Lent The SALT Project offers 3 different Lenten devotions and resources based on the Poetry of Mary Oliver, Emily Dickinson, or Wendell Berry.

Products can be purchased for download for individuals or by congregation size.

Introducing Lent this class from ChurchNext is taught in sessions by Maggie Dawn author of Giving it Up a book of daily Bible readings for Lent.

Using daily scripture readings, this 14 day faith at home practice strives to help families and children reflect on how they and others can share God's love through acts of kindness.

You Don't Know Jack...
about Valentine's Day

From the archives, so to speak, this is a fun quick video about the real history of St. Valentine's.

This simple exercise from Creativity in Therapy is something EVERYONE can do. It is a good way to start the new year instead of creating resolutions.

In addition it could be useful with groups of any kind who are working on plans for regathering. How might both individuals and groups use this process to create a way forward.

Begun the 1700's in Germany, the Moravian Daily Texts "continues its promise of “a daily message from God that is new every morning." This resource is available in a variety of formats in print and online.

Did you know that the Episcopal Church and Moravian church are in relationship with each other? It is similar to our relationship with the ELCA.

This beautiful picture book for all ages captures the beauty and diversity of God's creation in every face painted.

Author and painter, Roger Hutchison ​serves as the Director of Christian Formation and Parish Life at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, TX, and is a member of the National Association of Grieving Children and Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

January Formation Leader Gatherings

• Thursday, January 21st at 7 PM
• Monday, January 25th at 4 PM

Are you responsible for coordinating Christian Formation in your parish for any age? We would love for you to join us for conversation and community.

Registration is required to receive the ZOOM information.
Join St. Paul's Wilmington...

For a variety of upcoming Christian Formation offerings for adults on Zoom. They are glad for anyone around the diocese to join them!

Origins of the New Testament taught by Cleve Callison- Jan. 17, 24
Studies in Mark taught by Rev. Ray Hanna for 4 weeks beginning Jan. 31st

Dust Bunnies in the Pews discussion led by Kathryn Hedgepeth will be a Lenten series beginning on Feb. 28th.

For more information or to register for any of these, contact Royster Hedgepeth.
Join us on as we
Journey Through East Carolina

It's not to late to start!

We will MOVE • LEARN • PRAY • GIVE our way 281 miles which spans the diocese.

You can walk, run, roll, row, or ride your miles over 10 weeks. You will learn more about our diocese, support our local communities and Trinity Center all along the way.

Want to learn more or register? CLICK HERE.
The FORMA Conference will be ONLINE this year. Check out the info below:

Workshops full of content that are useful to you personally as well as shareable with your congregations

Diverse voices who can speak across contexts

Engaging sessions that bring energy through the screen, amidst our virtual gathering

Workshops are framed in the Way of Love. Each time slot offers content specific to one of the Way of Love’s spiritual practices: turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, rest. All content will be made available asynchronously after the conference to registrants so you can access the whole of the programming at your own pace and won’t miss out on one session by attending another. 

Registration can be found HERE. A schedule can be found HERE.
The Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina | 252-522-0885 | www.diocese-eastcarolina.org