Strategic Plan Year Three Mid-Year Report: School for Christian Faith and Leadership

Strategic Plan Year Three Mid-Year Report: School for Christian Faith and Leadership

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12

The School for Christian Faith and Leadership, birthed at the beginning of the pandemic, continues to hold this proclamation by Paul to the Corinthians as a core driving principle. Every baptized person is a full member of the body of Christ, with gifts to fulfill the mission of the Church.

The School for Christian Faith and Leadership offers both online and in-person events as well as curriculum for congregations. Since September 2021, we have offered 25 courses to equip more than 500 congregational leaders across the diocese for their ministries of administration, justice, stewardship, formation, pastoral care, and parish vitality with both online and in-person events. More than a dozen congregations have used our curricula, including CREATE and A Faithful Life, resources developed for the Diocese of Washington for both youth and adults to learn more about The Episcopal Church and the Christian life.

You can view our offerings at Fall 2022 offerings will be announced soon.

In addition to courses, the School for Christian Faith and Leadership has developed a Path of Discipleship with a suite of resources to help members of your congregation grow in faith.

The Rev. Jenifer Gamber
Director for the School for Christian Faith and Leadership and the Tending Our Soil Thriving Congregations Initiative

The Power of Prayer (Stations)

The Power of Prayer (Stations)

What’s that one smell that always brings a memory flooding back to your mind? For me, the smell of warm velour triggers the smell of my grandmother’s 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera on a warm day. My sister and I spent many Saturday afternoons riding to minor league baseball games in that car, often accompanied by a Snickers ice cream bar. Though my grandmother passed nearly 20 years ago, this memory lives on in me, so much so that we served Snickers ice cream bars at my ordination reception!

Why am I writing about this very specific memory? Well, because our senses play a huge role in how we worship. Worship is an inherently incarnational experience. We show up in our physical bodies to participate in a physical gathering (when it’s safe to do so), yet in many ways, worship can also sometimes feel simply observational. Our bodies are there, but are we connecting with the Spirit through our senses? Through different modes of learning? Using different materials?

One way to foster a connection with the Spirit through our senses is by incorporating prayer stations into the worship experience.

Prayer stations are five-minute prayer activities designed to help the worshiper engage differently. Prayer stations invite you to touch, taste, feel, smell, and reflect using your whole self. Instead of sitting in a pew, you might be walking around a labyrinth. Instead of kneeling for a prayer, you might be filling a jar with sand as you pray for people suffering the effects of climate change. Instead of hearing the scripture read, you might be making a collage of what you hear the scripture inviting you to do. Each station draws you nearer to God in new and embodied ways.

Here you can find a folder full of prayer stations that correspond to the five practices along the Diocese of Washington’s Path of Discipleship: pray, learn, serve, give, share.

The beauty of prayer stations is their versatility. They can be configured for an intergenerational worship or you can create a small kit to give homebound members so they can set up their own station at home. However you choose to use prayer stations, we pray they might draw you nearer to God.

The Rev. Emily Snowden
Project Coordinator for the School for Christian Faith and Leadership & Tending Our Soil Thriving Congregations Initiative