Forma—the Network for Christian Formation is a ministry of the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF). Forma exists to celebrate, equip, support, and connect leaders who form followers of Jesus. For more than two decades, Forma has hosted an annual conference to gather, inspire, and equip Christian educators, Sunday school teachers, adult formation coordinators, youth group directors, and other leaders. Hosted in a number of cities throughout the country, these conferences are something the Forma membership celebrates and looks forward to from year to year.
Forma also partners with the Office of Lifelong Formation of the Episcopal Church to convene a cohort of students seeking a certificate in children’s and youth ministries. This year-long program includes reading, projects, webinars, and a week-long residential training. A dedicated faculty serve as teachers, trainers, and mentors to the fifteen to twenty students who commit to the process. Certificates are typically conferred during the annual Forma conference.
After considering a number of options in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ECF and Forma have decided to move the 2021 Forma conference online. Furthermore, the certificate in children’s and youth ministries program has been put on hiatus through the remainder of 2020. ECF, the Forma Council, the certificate faculty, and the Office of Lifelong Formation will consider options for a 2021 certificate program.
Melissa Rau, ECF’s Director of Partnerships and New Initiatives, offered, “These decisions were difficult to make. Forma values accessibility, and while we may be permitted to gather in January, many will be unwilling or unable to travel due to financial constraints, health considerations, and transportation restrictions. By pivoting now, we have the opportunity to plan a really great conference for January 26-28, 2021. It will feel different, but it’s going to be done with care and intentionality.”
Forma’s Council of Advice chair Roger Hutchison shared, “Forma is a network of creative and resourceful leaders. We like to be together and have fun together. Though Forma 2021 won’t be in one location, we still have the means to gather in new ways. And hopefully, we can gather in person in Albuquerque in 2022!”
ECF and Forma are committed to producing a highly engaging and meaningful online experience. The Forma conference planning team is working hard to plan this year’s theme of “Embodying Spiritual Practices.” Learn more about Forma and updates regarding both the certificate program and the annual conference on Forma’s website: https://www.forma.church.