Anglican Youth Ministry and Adult Formation
By Fr. Mark Perkins
About a year ago, the idea of crafting a "Portrait of a Well-Formed Anglican" came up in conversation with my rector. The purposes would be numerous:
To orient and focus our own work as parish priests.
To help parishioners evaluate themselves: their spiritual strengths and weaknesses, their Rules of Life, etc.
To equip parishioners in the formation of their children.
To draw attention to the various opportunities for spiritual formation and education that are or have been recently available in the parish, and to help parishioners see these opportunities as parts of a coherent whole.
To help parishioners understand and appreciate the partnership between our parish (St. Alban's Oviedo) and the school we host and support (The Ecclesial School at St. Alban's).
To encourage parents of school-age children to send their children to the school or to provide alternate avenues to receive the same formational opportunities the school provides.
For goals 1-3, we constructed a generic portrait that should apply to all Anglicans in all parishes:
Obviously, every priest and every parish will emphasize certain aspects of the portrait more than others, but we hoped to build a portrait that would be easily adaptable and generally comprehensive.
So: What are we missing? What should we change? What should we drop? And why?
To accomplish goals 4-6, we then identified the various means by which parishioners can pursue and live into the portrait at St. Alban's:
As you can see, we broke the opportunities into three color-coded categories:
Red indicates formational opportunities directly offered by the parish.
Green indicates formation expected to occur within the home and family.
Blue indicates formational opportunities offered by The Ecclesial School at St. Alban’s.
While serving a variety of purposes, these documents are especially helpful as a basic framework for building or modifying children's and youth ministries. But they are only a very basic start to such an enterprise.
To that end, keep your eyes out for our forthcoming "Guide for Evaluating and Developing Youth Ministry," coming in the next week or so!
Fr. Mark Perkins is Curate at St. Alban's Anglican Cathedral in Oviedo, Florida and Executive Editor of Earth & Altar.