September 2016 (1)

Our Mission:
Supporting lifelong faith formation in the home and congregation.

From the Social Media Coordinator's Desk
For this "6 Questions" issue, we are turning the tables a little bit.  Our President, Debbie Streicher, will step down in December after four years in this office. I thought she would be a great interview for our e-news. It seemed a little weird to ask Debbie to write a message introducing herself.  I volunteered because it gives me the opportunity to pay tribute to a woman on my personal "most admired" list.

I don't remember how I heard of this organization. At the time I was leading Faith Formation in a small congregation and definitely needed help. I do remember wanting to get involved -- deeply involved -- from the beginning.  But what I remember most was my first telephone call with Debbie to discuss open positions in this organization and the organization in general. I remember how she made me feel: excited, committed; really, on fire with the Holy Spirit. I can't name too many people who have made me feel on fire with the Holy Spirit.

Debbie is a true visionary and has led this organization admirably for the past four years.  She led us through a name change and has poised us for the future.  She's passionate and organized. She knows what she wants to accomplish and finds a way to do it.
Read Debbie's answers carefully, especially her "three things" in question 4. There is great wisdom there.

I know Debbie will continue to work in Faith Formation and will go on to do great things, but I will miss her. She's my inspiration...but more importantly, she's my friend.  
But now that I know she's a certified ski instructor, I may show up in West Virginia one day looking for a lesson. CENetwork Board: ROAD TRIP!
Peace and blessings,
Judy Twist
Social Media Coordinator, CENetwork

6 Questions and a Cup of Coffee with...Debbie Streicher!

I have served on the board of the Christian Education Network of the ELCA for 8 years. I have been a Region 8 Representative, Vice President of Communications, and most recently, the President. I am a lifelong Lutheran and was raised in a small congregation in PA where my great grandfather was a mason and built the church building where we worshiped. I have been actively involved on staff in a congregation, served as a consultant, written articles for faith formation magazines, and spoken at events and led workshops across the USA, in Australia and in Canada over the past 25+ years. I am now blessed to be able to work out of my home alongside my husband of 37 years, Burt. Two years ago we moved to a lovely setting in the mountains of West Virginia and enjoy the many visits we get from friends and relatives, especially our three sons, two daughters-in-law, and two grandsons. I find I now embrace John Denver's song with great gusto: 'Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River..." And it is from here that I smile at you with a cup of coffee in my hand!
1. Can you describe your call to ministry?

The first words that come to mind are "on for the ride.".I believe the ELCA has encouraged and nurtured me for many years and am thankful for this: From being asked to be a Partner in Education about 18 years ago when as a volunteer mom I had just begun my role on staff in our congregation to being involved in the CENetwork and taking part in many ELCA education and evangelism events over the years. I have a framed scripture verse on my desk given to me at an ELCA event that has my name and reminds me to, "Go, for you are an instrument whom I have chosen..." Acts 9:15. Had I not said yes and gone to these events, I may not have experienced the larger body of Christ in this church. I learned that we should never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit when we open our hearts and minds to God's work in our lives, and I have learned to try my hardest to be en"theo"ast ic and stay on for the ride.
2. What is the best part of your ministry now?
It is that I now get to work with my husband, along with David and Gloria Anderson, developing resources and doing consulting and coaching for Milestones Ministry. We began our ministry together in August 2014. David and I had crossed paths many times in our different ministries over the past 20 years and now to work together with our spouses in this ministry is the icing on the cake!
3. What is one fact about you that would surprise people?

I love downhill skiing and began when I was 10 years old. I was on Junior Ski Patrol and became an instructor. During my college years, my advisor told me to either stop coming to class in my after-ski boots or take a break from school to get it out of my system. I took a break for one semester and worked seven days and nights a week teaching skiing (beginner to expert) at three different ski areas in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. I took the PSIA (Professional Ski Instructor Association) test in Vermont just before returning for my last semester and graduating from college. My parents were obviously relieved!
4. What are three things Christian Educators need to keep their eye on?
  • The changing landscape and culture of the church. I believe we need to think outside the "church box" by being creative and finding effective ways to use resources and social media in positive ways. There's a whole new world where lifelong faith formation can and is beginning to happen. Let's embrace it!
  • Lifelong Lutherans in the congregation are no longer the norm. I believe we need to be intentional about teaching all ages what it means to be Lutheran.
  • Christian education translates as Sunday School for most congregations. Sunday School is not possible when there is a void in children and youth. We need to assess what is best in our own settings and in most, it is not age-segregated "classes." For me, this translates to faith formation opportunities for all ages to be together in a setting where they learn, talk and pray together. We also need to begin thinking about places faith formation can happen other than in the church building and equip all ages to do so.


5. What are some of your favorite resources?


My very favorite resources are people. We should never overlook the fact that no matter what the materials may be, it is the people who make the difference. Faith formation happens through personal, trusted relationships. The material resources that are my favorites: Milestones Ministry (of course!), Faith Inkubators, Lifelong Faith, Spirit and Truth Publishing, and Bibles for children and youth from Augsburg. I see great value in Lectionary resources of all types that help establish much needed rituals and traditions. 


6. How can we pray for you?


I ask that you pray for my family, our health and safe travels. Although we live in West Virginia, our children are in Missouri, Virginia and England. We have many miles between us and first and foremost on my mind each day is their safety and well-being.  And I ask you to pray for this organization and each board member and their families. Please pray that we live into our theme scripture from Colossian 2:2, " be encouraged and united in love." 

Prayer Pause
Holy Cross Day was Sept. 14.
Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross so that he might draw the whole world to himself.  To those who look upon the cross, grant your wisdom, healing, and eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.
(ELW p. 57)
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Cummings
CENetwork Chaplain



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Christian Education Network of the ELCA
Vision Statement


Building a community which equips, encourages, and empowers those engaged in lifelong faith formation in a changing world by:

  • Providing resources and educational opportunities
  • Facilitating communication and conversation 
  • Offering networking, idea sharing, and mutual support
  • Nurturing spiritual growth






Contact Us
CENetwork of the ELCA 
(formerly LACE)
P.O. Box 9304
Rochester, MN 55903

  Phone messages may be left at 
(507) 721-0057