Chair: Cathy Gradante
Members: Vicki Fulcher, Pam Holmes, Larry Doyle, Norm Long
Conference Minister – Youth: Cathy Russell Duggan
As part of our Mission we in the Bay of Quinte Conference have affirmed the following about Leadership, Education and Faith Formation:
Bay of Quinte Conference is called to be partner with Presbyteries in strengthening congregations as the body of Christ.
As such, Bay of Quinte Conference will:
- Encourage, with Presbyteries, all congregations to deepen spiritual roots and lived faith
- Provide opportunities for educational and training initiatives
Bay of Quinte Conference is an Affirming Conference. The Bay of Quinte Conference Leadership, Education and Faith Formation Committee is committed in all its programming to offer a safe place for all people.
In this section we will offer workshop resources that have been used and can be duplicated by you. The first tried and true program comes from Linda Saffrey, Blackstock-Nestleton Pastoral Charge.
Book Study: Made for Goodness, Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu, Harper One, 2010.
On the Blackstock-Nestleton Pastoral Charge we read the book over a six week period during Lent. At beginning of each 75-minute session, there was a group check-in, and prayer. Then we shared what spoke to us from our reading that week, what caught our attention, what caused us to question, and in what way those chapters connected with things going on in our lives and in the world.
Notes: At the end of each chapter there is a reflection that begins “But first turn with us into the stillness and listen to God speak with the voice of the heart.” This is a good way of closing your session. At the end of the book there is a discussion guide with 20 questions, some for each chapter. We found that many of these questions came up from our own responses to the material. We also viewed some interviews with the Tutus on YouTube or other internet sites. You can find some by googling the book title and/or their names.
Some suggestions for additional materials to include with your study.
Chapter One – themes that we are part of one human family and that our survival as a species and a planet depends on re-discovering our goodness.
-No Man is an Island, John Donne;
-Children Learn What They Live, Dorothy Law Nolte
-Genesis 1:1 – 2:25
Chapter Two – themes that God has a relationship with us even before we are born and that our falling short does not affect God’s love for us.
-Psalm 139; Luke 12: 6-7
Chapter Three – theme that perfection is not flawlessness or sinlessness, but rather – wholeness, which always includes more than ourselves.
-1 John 4: 7-12, 18; Matthew 5:48; Exodus 20: 1-17
Chapter Four – theme of God’s reverence for human autonomy and the gift of choice.
-Genesis 3: 1-13; Deuteronomy 30: 15-20
-Gandhi “We must be the change we want to see.”
Chapter Five – themes of evil learned in a series of small uncorrected steps, and the need to examine one’s conscience.
-This is a version of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius practiced.
1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
Chapter Six – theme of angry lament, when we can’t find God in the midst of suffering.
-Psalm 44: 23-24; Psalm 22
Chapter Seven – themes of getting our priorities straight, life in the interruptions, and the gift of failure.
-Luke 8:40-56; Mark 5:21-43; Matthew 9: 18-26
-The Lord’s Prayer
Chapter Eight – theme of God on our side, even when we sin
-Luke 15 – parables, lost sheep, lost coin, lost son
Chapter Nine – themes of turning and returning, healing and forgiveness
-Colossians 3: 12-13; Romans 12: 9-21
Chapter Ten – theme of prayer – holding things before God.
-Luke 11: 1-13; Romans 8: 26-30
Chapter 11 – themes of God’s acceptance of us and our journey of “becoming”
-Matthew 3: 13-17
A one-session program idea for the book Made for Goodness can be found in the February 2012 issue of Mandate , p.46.
There are many ways of engaging in spiritual practices, there is no one right way to nurture our relationship with God, but like all relationships, our relationship with God invites us to invest ourselves – our thoughts, feelings, questions, energy, and time – our very selves – body, mind and spirit – in the relationship.
Competence in nourishing the soul is like any other skill. It involves practice, it requires time. Practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect – engaging is what is important, seeking, desiring a deeper relationship with God.
Spiritual practices are often three-fold in nature; they include sacred space, one or more centring activities and prayer.
Creating Sacred Space
- All of life is lived in God’s presence, yet sometimes we need to set aside a space or time to centre our lives on God, who gives us life and longs for us and all creation to enjoy life abundant.
- You may wish to create a sacred space in your home or choose a place outdoors that nurtures your spirit
- The intent in finding or creating a sacred space is to help us to feel our connection with Spirit, and to remind us that all of life is holy – a gift from God to be cherished.
- Such a space needs to engage our senses and evoke emotion
- Some things you might wish to include in the sacred space are: a bible or bible story book; fresh flowers or a plant; a book of prayers, a candle, items from nature, a prayer journal, something that reminds you to wonder …
- rituals that help us to focus and be present in the moment
- include – Intention (Heart) – purpose of the ritual and Action (Hand) – what one does
- The goal of spiritual practices is to be fully present in the moment.
- Many rituals can lead us to the sacred.
- helps us to share our deepest thoughts/ feelings/ concerns/ issues with God and opening ourselves to God’s presence and guidance in our lives.
Please remember that a spiritual practice is intended to enrich your life not add another burden, be gentle with yourself. Begin slowly celebrating each moment you take to nurture and cherish your relationship with God and with God’s created world.
Meister Eckhart said that if the only prayer we ever said was thanks, it would suffice.
A rabbi once shared that every day a person should try to offer to God thanks for one hundred things, people, abilities that touch their lives. Now such a practice might seem daunting but consider beginning by offering thanks for one thing, person, ability each day. Or each morning give thanks for the day that is to unfold and each evening give thanks for the day that has been. Or consider keeping a gratitude journal; or begin a birthday gratitude practice, or be intentional about an end of year review.
• Gratitude Journal – A spiritual practice you might consider is at the end of each day to take time to think of five things, people, events … that have touched your life that day and for which you are thankful. Write these things, people, events in a journal and name these gratitudes before God and give thanks. This is a great way to end a day giving thanks for what has been, grounding our days in gratitude.
• Birthday – Consider on your birthday writing/naming the number of things you are thankful for – aim to make these at least equivalent to your years. A variation of this is that on the birthday celebration the members of the family list the things for which they are grateful for in the birthday person.
• End of Year Review – As you think back over the year that has been take time to remember and give thanks for the people, events and things that have touched your life. Remember the moments when your life has been graced by God’s presence and give thanks.
Gratitude can be more than an individual practice, some congregations have discovered ways to be intentional about sharing gratitude with one another. In one congregation they begin each board meeting with a time of gratitude – naming before one another the gifts that have been shared in that faith community since the last meeting. In another congregation letters of appreciation are sent out to all who give of their times, treasures, talents after each special event or occasion in the life of the faith community.
As part of the body of Christ, the Christian Church, we are invited to pray for each other and for our mission in the world.
The Bay of Quinte prayer cycle invites congregations and individuals to pray each week for a particular ministry within the conference and it’s work.
Our prayer cycle is complete once every four years.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
This is a ministry that has a variety of expressions. The intent is to gather people together who enjoy knitting/crocheting and who knit/crochet shawls that are distributed to people who are ill or in special need. The group begins and ends the time together with prayer. Sometimes a shawl is knitted/crocheted for a specific recipient and as the person knits/crochets they hold that person in their thoughts and prayers. At other times shawls are knitted/crocheted holding people in need in prayer, these shawls are kept so that there is a supply available to the minister or pastoral care team to take to someone who may be in need at a future date. After the shawls are completed a blessing / dedication is offered before the shawl is given away. All shawls are given away – none are sold.
Many congregations provide prayer shawls for all who are in hospital, for those who are grieving, for those who give birth, for those in nursing / long term care homes etc. One church has chosen to create prayer shawls for the women who are in the local women’s shelter. Another church creates large prayer shawls for students leaving home to go away to school. Another church gives each newly married couple a prayer shawl. We in the Bay of Quinte conference provide Prayer Shawls for all be ordained, commission or admitted to the United Church and all those retiring from active ordered ministry.
All prayer shawls are created to remind the recipient that they are held in God’s loving care and encompassed by God’s love, comfort and compassion and our thoughts and prayers.
A simple prayer shawl pattern is:
On 9mm needles cast on 57 stitches.
Each row, knit 3, purl 3 across the row ending on knit 3
Repeat the pattern till the shawl measures 60 inches.
Add a fringe.
A great site to visit is www.shawlministry.com for patterns, prayers, and background information on this ministry.
Spiritual gifts links
Spirit Given Gifts offers a questionnaire and supportive resources, developed by David Ewart a minister within the United Church of Canada.
Maritime Conference offers a number of resources to nurture faith formation, here are some links: