I have served as the diocesan Missioner for Faith Formation and Development for almost 9 months, during which I have learned about the joys, challenges, and realities of formation ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington as we seek to support rising generations.
Here’s what has my attention:
Formation Ministry at the Parish – Our diocese is blessed with formation leaders who serve rising generations within their congregations. These parish leaders come together quarterly to connect, share ideas, and encourage one another in the faith. Recent gatherings include an Advent and Christmas formation planning meeting and an upcoming overnight retreat at the Claggett Center.
Episcopal Schools – Episcopal Schools provide meaningful formation for rising generations. Many Episcopal Schools in the diocese have chaplains that support the spiritual formation of their students. One of my goals is to strengthen the relationship between chaplains and the diocese through attending and helping with chapel services, offering open office hours for chaplains and being a resource to support their ministry.
Campus Ministry – The diocese is no longer engaged in the traditional chaplaincy model at our colleges and universities. We are working to reimagine what meaningful, vibrant and consistent ministry could look like through the possibility of partnering with congregations near campuses. If you would like to be a part of this conversation, please contact me.
Young Adults & Young Clergy – As we emerge from the pandemic, young adults are eager to form connections. Some congregations have seen an uptick in young adult participation. To support parishes with young adults, I have connected with their young adult leadership and offered a young adult retreat on discernment. Similarly, our younger clergy in the diocese are eager for community, too. In order to build relationships and strengthen their ministries young clergy met on Zoom in the spring and gathered together in person at Clergy Conference this week.
Growing Young Cohort – As part of our commitment to rising generations, the diocese has partnered with the Fuller Youth Institute to launch a ten-month journey dedicated to Growing Young. Eight congregations kick-off this important work with a two-day Summit the last weekend of October. The cohort will research, discern, and do the important work it takes to ensure their parishes are places of welcome for rising generations.
Supporting these life-giving ministries fills me with joy! I know that the Holy Spirit is moving in us and among us and I am grateful to be a part of it. Moving from parish to diocesan ministry has been an exciting learning curve. I look forward to strengthening and deepening our collective faith formation and development.
To learn more about diocesan efforts to support rising generations, contact me by email. To stay up-to-date on formation offerings in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, sign up to receive Faith Formation News, an online publication delivered to your inbox the second Tuesday of each month.
The Rev. Amanda Akes-Cardwell
Missioner for Faith Formation and Development