Greetings from the
Office of Christian Formation!
October 2019 - a publication of the Office of Christian Formation
Happy Autumn!
As we prepare for All Souls & All Saints Days, we look back to our ancient roots and traditions to find the practice of altar-making. This printable can be used by you or as a classroom activity, to create a temporary sacred space at home or work. Feel free to fill and add to it as you like, remembering your "cloud of witnesses" in the process.

(Thanks to Sierra Gore for the prayer included on the altar!)


the Office of Christian Formation
Here's something we're chewing on, thinking about, listening to, and taking in this month:
"Welcoming Our Hispanic/Latino Neighbors:
4 Tips & An Open Heart"
by Yoimel Gonzalez Hernandez

In the end, it is only a matter of listening to your community, learning from them, and exploring God’s voice in this journey across cultures, languages, and stories.

As we witness the political and social issues arising around multicultural community, we find it ever more important to remind ourselves of this article. As one of our staffer's grandmother said "You have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen more than you speak."
Our 1st DIOVA Formation Leaders Retreat!
We've published the schedule and details about sessions for our retreat day!

Where: Trinity Episcopal Church, Fredericksburg
When: Saturday, October 26th from 10:00am - 3:30pm
Cost: $15 for a single registration, or $30 for up to four people from the same parish

Registration IS OPEN!

Plus check out our updated info about the YOUTH MINISTRY workshop!
"Youth Ministry in Context"
A ministry toolkit and success-sharing conversation
led by Sierra Gore, Christian Formation & Camping Ministry Assistant at the Diocese of Virginia

Sierra leads our Parish Youth Ministry program, working with young persons across the Diocese to empower, enliven, and equip them to be ministers to their peers. In this workshop, she will work with you on understanding your circumstances and resources to better prepare for your ministry and will go over some best practices. Additionally, there will be time to discuss what many often view as "failure" of a youth program and how it can be viewed and worked as a success. Sierra believes meaningful relationships are paramount to youth ministry, and while this will not be a fix-all workshop, you WILL leave with inspiration, resources, and a support network.
Here's something we're chewing on, thinking about, listening to, and taking in this month:
Over the summer, NPR re-released Wade in the Water, a 26-part documentary series. I often pray through music and song and this series has been illuminating to learn more about my own culture. As I’ve been working on an expanded songbook for Shrine Mont Camps, I keep my learnings in mind as we add new songs and give some of our favorites a deeper context. NPR also made a playlist with many of the songs featured on the series! - Sierra
Another tool Sierra's been loving lately: Google Classroom!

If you have a Google account, you can connect your team! "It’s been helpful for PYM this year to share documents, reminders, and have multiple threads of conversations all in one place. You don’t have to be an educator to use this awesome, free resource. "
Senior High Weekend -
November 1-3, 2019

Link to Eventbrite page
Link to Facebook event
Link to Youth Minister guide to Eventbrite
Fourth & Fifth Graders Weekend -
April 17 - 19, 2020 (a new event!)
Sixth - Eighth
Graders Weekend -
May 8-10, 2020
Here's something we're chewing on, thinking about, listening to, and taking in this month:
"Because country music is so strongly associated with white working-class people in the South, many of the same stereotypes that reduced impoverished farmers to “Okies” during the Dust Bowl years are still assigned to country music itself. But Mr. Burns takes pains to complicate these expectations, to highlight not just the story of an art form with roots in both slave quarters and mountain cabins but also the moral evolution of some of the genre’s most prominent musicians."

This review from Margaret Renkl in the New York Times says it better than I could - this documentary reminds us of what unites us in a world divided. It reminds us of the everyperson roots of an art form that grew up in this country but has come to be pigeon-holed like many things in our contemporary society. This documentary reminds us, as it were, to go deeper, look further, and listen closely to our histories, our stories, and the voices of those "everyday people" around us.

What does this have to do with the church? It seems pretty evident to me -- it's heart is a message of the complexity of living in the modern age, and the belief that, if we turn back to our ancient roots, we can find our center. The Presiding Bishop asks us to do this in the Way of Love with the seven practices (Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest) which are rooted in our own ancient ways as Episcopalians. Reminding ourselves of our our origins -- this is what I take away from Ken Burns' "Country Music." - Megan
CONVENTION 2019 needs YOU!
Do you know a young person who would benefit from and enjoy the opportunity to attend General Convention in Northern Virginia this year? We're looking to include them!

Have questions about what it means to be a Youth Delegate at Convention? Download the Diocese of Virginia's informational packet HERE .

Sound exciting? Then encourage that young person to apply from their parish! The form for their certificate of election to convention is located below.
All forms must be submitted to  Bill Martin.

NOTE: This document is a fillable form PDF file. In order to complete the form on your computer, you must first save the file on your computer. Once it is saved, you can open and complete the form.
Summer 2019 Camp Reunion!

Saturday, January 4, 2020
1:00 - 4:30pm

Epiphany Episcopal Church
3301 Hidden Meadow Dr.
Oak Hill, VA 20171
Is YOUR church in NOVA near St George's, Arlington? Do YOU have families that would love to hear about camp?

Spread the word! All are welcome to attend this free informational session about Shrine Mont Camps!

Download a PDF of our flyer at the button below!
Here's something we're chewing on, thinking about, listening to, and taking in this month:
"Faithful Families" Book Review

Supporting people in their faith journey can feel overwhelming sometimes, and when it’s your own family members it can be even more so. Often, families feel busy – hectic – and the notion of “doing something” for their faith feels like adding one more thing onto a too-full plate.

This is why I love Faithful Families: a new offering from Traci Smith and Chalice Press that introduces a number of simple and profound faith practices for home use. A new edition of a book called Seamless Faith, this book incorporates routines and traditions that families can use in special crossroads times (such as the loss of a pet or a person, a new school or home, or in times of fear and uncertainty), throughout the church year (plenty of options for Advent, Lent, and various holidays in between) and during all the everyday moments of a family’s life.

I love this book for its straightforwardness and its simplicity: cultivating and nurturing faith in your household can feel like a big, daunting thing, something that you might need more education, more background, more expertise to do well. Smith’s suggestions are accessible and clear, yet they invite families to participate in practices that draw them closer to each other, to life’s big questions, and to God. The book is plainly outlined, making it easy to highlight and bookmark your way through (like I did), as you discover things to try, and I can imagine this book sitting somewhere you can grab it whenever you want to take on a new habit as a family or whenever a moment opens that calls you to prayer.

This is a book that’s great for anyone; it would make a fantastic baptism gift and would fit in well in a parish library collection. Formation leaders will love it because although these are practices written for household use – they can be easily adapted and incorporated in all sorts of congregational settings. There’s even a “how to” guide to help formation leaders introduce these practices to the families to whom they minister! I love this book, and can’t wait to start using the ideas shared in my own household.  - Paris
Do you follow our Facebook page for the Office of Christian Formation? Well, you should!

In the coming weeks, we'll be posting links to recommended Advent resources (it IS the time to start planning already!), with mini-reviews and ideas!

Make sure to follow us at the button below -- we can't wait to share with you!
The Staff of the Office of Christian Formation!
Paris Ball, Minister of Christian Formation & Director of Camping Ministry

Megan Nolde, Christian Formation & Camping Ministry Associate

Sierra Gore, Christian Formation & Camping Ministry Assistant