Whether you’re a part of a diocesan staff, church staff, a church leader or a layperson, you’ve likely spent some time and effort seeking engaging and dynamic faith formation resources. And while those resources are pretty easily accessed, (a simple Google search will bring up pages of options) once you start clicking, it’s easy to find yourself down a rabbit hole, lost in an abyss of options, some unreliable and many unaffordable. The Brothers at the Society of Saint John the Evangelist have long recognized that the lack of faith formation assets is an issue for faith leaders.
If you are familiar with the Brothers at SSJE, you know that for the past four years, each Lent they have collaborated with Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary to create deeply meaningful and thought-provoking faith formation resources for use beginning Ash Wednesday and carrying through until Easter. The holy season of Lent provided the perfect time frame and structure to offer the faithful, not a suggestion to ‘give up’ for Lent, but an opportunity to take something on, to endeavor to build up Christ’s body here on earth.
Each Lenten offering is a six-week reflection around a particular theme and includes insightful videos of the Brothers delivered daily to your email inbox along with corresponding printed materials for group or individual participation. Each six-week formation opportunity also includes rich facilitation materials to help group leaders inspire discussion and encourage participants to deepen their relationships with Christ.
The Brothers at SSJE realized that through their Lenten offerings they had tapped into a real and genuine need in our faith communities, and after four years of phenomenal offerings for Lent with participants from around the world including entire churches, small groups and individuals, they have worked to reorganize the materials and information into evergreen resources that can be used at any time.
Each faith formation resource allows you and your group to sign up to receive the daily emails from the Brothers simultaneously, as well as free downloadable print materials and videos for every participant (even if that’s just you). For those endeavoring to lead a group, there are robust and well-organized facilitator’s resources, as well as easy to download and print marketing and promotional materials to help get others from your church or organization involved.
You can nurture your Christian community using any of these four faith formation programs, free from SSJE. Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John will guide you into deeper intimacy with God by praying with the words of John the Evangelist. Five Marks of Love encourages us to reflect on how we should live, not what we should do. While exploring the monastic practice of writing and keeping a Rule of Life, each participant creates a unique ‘Garden Plot’ to sustain and expand beyond the class. And It’s Time to Stop, Pray, Work, Play and Love guides the faithful to recapture time as a gift from God.
Resource materials for each offering are created to support faith formation at almost any age and group size. Facilitators can access options for youth groups, seniors, large & small group sizes, and of course, any of the offerings can be used for individual formation.
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