As part of the updates from council, I wanted to share with you the work that the Faith Formation Task Force (FFTF) did this past year.
In March, a group of ten Messiah members gathered to explore future directions and practices for faith formation (cradle to grave) at Messiah. We studied the document on Faith Formation published by the ELCA but also looked at what other churches and denominations were doing. We looked at the strengths and weaknesses in Messiah’s faith formation programming and talked about what staffing should look like going into the future. In August, we presented our recommendations to the personnel team and church council. The council voted to accept our recommendations and now is moving forward into the implementation phase.
What does this mean for Messiah?
The FFTF recommended that Messiah adopt the ELCA’s vision and four components of faith formation as the building blocks for faith formation at Messiah. If you have not seen the ELCA’s document, you can find it HERE. This sets a framework for providing faith formation at all ages and stages of life. We also recommended the hiring of an Associate Pastor with the primary focus of this position being on faith formation of children and youth. The council is now working on this.
We have met with the Assistant to the Bishop, Rebecca Shjerven, and are putting together a task force to write Messiah’s Ministry Site Profile.
It is our hope that we have a new Associate Pastor in place by July 2021. We also recommended that Pastor Chuck’s job description be amended to include responsibility for the coordination of adult faith formation.
While it was “out of scope” for the committee, we also recommended considering a pastor overseeing care ministry. The personnel team and council took this recommendation to heart and have hired Pastor Susan Kirklin-Hackett to begin 10 hours per week beginning November 1.
There are many more recommendations that you can find in the report.
You can find the report on Messiah’s website under church council. The adoption of this report means change for Messiah. Our current budget does not permit us to look at having two positions focused on faith formation and so while we will be bringing on an associate pastor later this year, we will also be saying goodbye to Associate Director of Faith Formation Savannah Phelan at the end of May 2021. This was a difficult choice for the council and personnel teams to make. We believe that Messiah should be a two-pastor church to meet the varied needs of the congregation.
We encourage you to read the Faith Formation report and think about engaging in the process of calling a new associate pastor.
We are looking for 5 – 6 people right now to help write the ministry site profile. If you are interested in participating, please reach out to Council President Charlie Radabaugh. By next month, we will be looking for people to form the Call Committee. Again, if you are interested, please reach out to Charlie or any of the council members. Our contact information is on the website HERE.