Even though we hear a lot of people using the phrase “cradle Episcopalian” as if we were born into this tradition, Christians — including Episcopalians– are made not born. In one sense we are “made Christian” by our baptism. In another sense we are becoming Christian, growing into our baptismal promises, becoming better disciples (followers of Jesus) all our lives long.
More and more, people are using the language “Christian Formation” instead of “Christian Education.” I think it is meant to mean that our Christianity shapes our lives, makes us more and more Christlike the more we live into it. Christian identity is not about what we know but about how we live. The word education often sounds like, “Just learn the names of the biblical books, memorize the creeds and (if you are Episcopalian) know about Henry VIII and the prayer book and BOOM, you are Christian.” Episcopalians seem to assume that is the case, since after Confirmation, there is often nothing available, apart from Sunday worship, to help us grow in faith. At Grace, we are offering Praxis for our youth, to help them grow in loving God and following Jesus even after confirmation, but beyond High School there have been few offerings.
A small group of people got together as an Ad Hoc Adult Formation Committee and would like to suggest that everyone at Grace read The Episcopal Way by Eric Law and Stephanie Spellers. The vestry will read it, the Wednesday a.m. study group will read it, the Monday night Bad Girls of the Bible group will read it and all of us hope to have a common language for what matters to us as Episcopalians. We are also hoping to schedule some small groups at times you choose for face to face engagement and we have created a Facebook group for online conversation for those who are not able to attend any face to face discussion.