I have a confession to make. All summer I’ve been worrying about our education programs. We have named Spiritual Formation as one of our bridges to hope, but our bridge needs some repair.
At first I thought about our Youth. We are planning to begin an ambitious program, Journey to Adulthood. It demands a regular commitment from the youth as well as the leaders. I’ve worried that we don’t have that base built up, that our youth won’t want to commit to meet every week, that sports and other activities will take priority.
Then I started to worry about Sunday School. We want to offer our children a rich perspective, but we have so few children that it’s hard for them to get a wide exposure to different ideas and experiences. We’ve tried various curriculum packages. Teachers have labored for years, and some need and deserve to take a break.
And of course, close to my heart is adult education. I taught college before I came to New Jersey, and I love to see minds open and people get excited by ideas. We have several programs, but I’d love to do more and see more people participate.
Why, you might ask, did I worry but not act? I didn’t feel that it was my place. I am here in David’s place only for three months. I can’t start programs that I can’t sustain. Nonetheless, I feel I should have done more than I have. That’s why I’m confessing.
But confession isn’t action. It clears the decks for action. So now I’m doing what I can: I’m telling you all about it.
I suspect you know all these things already. You know one another, and I hope you talk to each other. Some of these problems have deep roots, while others are of recent origin. But I know that there’s a big difference between one or two individuals lamenting to one another and the energy that a public conversation can generate. If we lament in private, we may come up with an idea, but we’re likely to feel as I did – “it’s not my place to talk about this.” Some of you have grown children, and you may think your time as a teacher or leader is past. Some of you may have ideas, but you don’t know where to take them. Some of you may simply have given up. Some of you may have poured your heart and soul into these programs, and you’re waiting to see what might happen.
So let’s start talking. We are not going to make big changes this fall. David has ideas, and he needs to return and share his thoughts and plans. But we can start a conversation that gives him someplace to join in.
What is your vision for education and spiritual formation at St. David’s? What did you love about Sunday School and youth programs when you were young? What would you like our young people to have? What role are you willing to play in ensuring that they get it?
I hope we can have a meeting about this later in the fall, but don’t wait until then to start thinking and talking. Write me, talk to the teachers, the wardens, the Vestry – anyone! Please help me – help us – move from confession to action. God will be with us, if we step out in faith.