Faith Formation Communities of Practice: A Lifeline of Support

Faith Formation Communities of Practice: A Lifeline of Support

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Faith Formation Communities of Practice (FF CoP) have continued to meet via zoom during this season of pandemic and they have been a key to resilience for many of our educators.  Especially in times of isolation, this kind of small group provides a valuable network of support where leaders can gather and share.  Here are a few comments from participants:
  • The sharing of ideas and practices and experiences is incredibly valuable.  And the friendship and support of these amazing people makes a huge impact.
  • It has enabled me to survive.  I would find the isolation of the job nearly impossible to deal with otherwise.
  • I just wish every church educator would take advantage of the FF CoP program to help support them in their ministry.  It is good for the educator, but even better for the church they serve.
Each meeting has a similar pattern of gathering in shared devotion or worship time, time to check-in with one another and build community, time to engage in conversation regarding an idea, concept, best practice, or some aspect of the work the gathered group has in common and a time for looking ahead to future meetings to explore new ideas or insights the group would like to cover. Each group is united in a covenant the group creates that guides member participation in healthy boundaries for participation in the group and for keeping confidentiality. These groups are created to be open and safe spaces.

At present, there are thirteen groups in various geographic areas across the three southern New England states.  Each is led by a trained facilitator.  They gather six to seven times during the program year to offer leadership development, best practices, and space for personal reflection.  

We are grateful to these leaders who share their wisdom and expertise with FF CoPs: 
Facilitator                                           Region
Patricia Berry                                     Plymouth, MA
Cheryl Caronna                                 Southeastern CT
David Clark & Jenn Murray                Winchester, MA
Tracy Gormley                                   Greater Hartford, CT
Lisa Haupt                                          Northeastern CT
Debi Mastroni-Kenyon                       Western CT
Deb Moore                                         Northampton, MA
Kerry Mortland                                   Framingham, MA
Kristin Putney                                    Rhode Island
Sue Rader & Nancy Sides                Central MA
Becky Stambaugh                             Southwestern CT
Sally Tomasetti                                  Wellesley, MA
Lynn Varney                                       Newburyport, MA
 
               
Sue Rader and Nancy Sides have led the Central MA group with care and compassion for over 13 years and will retire at the end of July.

Nancy shared this reflection: When we began in April 2008, little did Sue and I realize what an enriching, spirit filled journey this would be. So now 13 plus years later here we are.  Sue, now a grandmother, continues her ministry as CE Coordinator in Gardner and I am now retired.   For everything there is a season and for both of us we feel it is time for change.  We both firmly believe in the concept of Communities of Practice for Faith Formation Leaders, and we have been both honored and humbled to serve as co-facilitators. Thank you for that opportunity.
Please join us in celebrating the dedication of Sue Rader and Nancy Sides to the group in the Central MA region!

Learn more about the FF CoP Program- Faith Formation Communities of Practice.

Join a community-   Contact Debby Kirk or the facilitator in your region. The program for faith formation leaders is subsidized by your proportional giving to SNEUCC.  There is no cost to participate in a group.

Train as a facilitator-   Each facilitator receives training and then attends two annual cohort gatherings per year. Facilitators receive a stipend for the work.  Note: facilitators may attend the September 18 summit free of charge!

For more information, contact Debby Kirk, SNEUCC Faith Formation Team Leader

Author

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Debby D. Kirk

Debby Kirk is the Faith Formation Team Leader of the Southern New England Conference.  She serves on the Faith Formation Team and oversees the Youth and Young Adult Ministries programs of the Conference. She organizes leadership development programs ...

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