Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention direct that a Formation Networking Team be established under the Office of the Presiding Bishop to serve as a networking referral hub for existing and specially-developed resources (online and otherwise) for the discernment of clergy and lay vocations, for clergy and lay formation, and for training clergy and lay leaders in matters such as evangelism, spiritual practices, discipleship, collaborative leadership, characteristics of small communities, relational and networking skills, raising up and empowering lay leadership, relating the Gospel to life, racial reconciliation, teaching and mentoring, and inspiring communities of faith; and be it further
Resolved, That the 79th General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $900,000 for the implementation of this resolution.
The findings of the Task Force consistently indicate that many dioceses, commissions on ministry, discernment committees and congregations find it difficult to identify and access suitable resources for training and guiding those responsible for vocational discernment and to identify and access effective resources for the formation and training of new clergy and lay leaders for small congregations.
To address these needs, the Task Force recommends that a Formation Networking Team be formed under the Office of the Presiding Bishop. The Formation Networking Team would be available by telephone and e-mail to individuals, Christian educators, clergy, commissions on ministry, discernment committees and congregations and dioceses that seek assistance in these areas. In due course, the Task Force expects that the Formation Networking Team would create a well-focused website of curated resources that allows users to evaluate the suitability of materials for their particular needs and contexts. In addition to making existing resources more readily available, the Formation Networking Team would help further collaboration by seeking to connect interested parties in the creation of new resources as necessary and helpful.
Questions regarding formation for ordination arise in a rapidly-changing landscape of programs and demands. The Formation Networking Team will enable timely responses to the pressing, time-sensitive needs of dioceses and congregations. A knowledgeable Team with a broad perspective of offerings across the Church will increase access to formation opportunities, especially for small congregations and dioceses.
Four (4) of the other resolutions proposed by the Task Force amplify the work that would be done by the Formation Networking Team.
The persons serving as the Formation Networking Team will need to be theologically trained so that they can properly evaluate resources which already exist in many forms and in many places. All members of the Formation Networking Team will need to be approachable and good listeners so they can direct persons to suitable resources. They will need to become familiar with the many resources currently available, and will need strong networking skills to promote sharing across the Church.
Having a Formation Networking Team will “level the playing field” so that congregations and dioceses with fewer financial and time resources can gain greater and faster access to what they need.
The members of the Formation Networking Team will need a small voluntary support committee to assist in evaluating and categorizing resources and making the Team aware of developing needs across the Church.
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