For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
This issue of Episcopal Teacher is focused on the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary, which began in 1984 with the vision and leadership of Locke Bowman and Dean Richard Reid. Over the years the work of the CMT was enriched and guided by those involved in Christian formation, from Sunday school teachers and youth ministry volunteers to leaders in the field such as John Westerhoff, Verna Dozier, and John Roberto.
The issue opens with a history of the CMT, written by George Kroupa, who worked and taught at VTS during the formative years of the Center. He gives us a snapshot of the history of Christian education and describes Bowman’s vision to create formation resources for people in churches near and far. The creation of the Episcopal Children’s Curriculum (ECC)and theEpiscopal Curriculum for Youth (ECY) proved to be pivotal points in the life and work of the CMT, along with the later development in 2013 of the eFormation learning community.
The middle portion of the issue includes two sections. The first section highlights educators and theologians whose ideas and theories continue to guide our thinking about Christian formation. The second section features vignettes of a diverse group of educators, theologians, and church leaders who contributed to the work of the CMT both directly and indirectly as colleagues, partners, and collaborators. We left off their titles to allow readers to know them as we have known them as children of God.
The final article by Lifelong Learning Director Lisa Kimball describes how the Christian Formation and Discipleship branch of Lifelong Learning will build on the legacy of our past. It will continue the work of the CMT and our belief that congregations, with God’s help, can form lives of meaning and purpose by identifying, embracing, and sustaining each person’s Christian vocation.
This is the last issue of Episcopal Teacher you will be receiving digitally or by mail. We invite you to visit our new website, EpiscopalTeacher.org, that will include featured articles that appeared in Episcopal Teacher from the past five years; reports about action research conducted by the Lifelong Learning team, such as the Confirmation Project and spirituality of aging.
The season for the name Center for the Ministry of Teaching, has passed. It will no longer be in use, but the spirit from which it was created will continue to guide and form members of the Lifelong Learning team. We continue to grow more ecumenical, and our commitment to Latino faith communities is increasing. This is consistent with the commitment that began almost 10 years ago to include reviews written in Spanish of resources for Latino churches.
I will be retired by the time this issue goes to press, but I am continuing my work in older adult ministry. Of special interest to me are the people who are the focus of our book Redeeming Dementia (Church Publishing, 2018), co-authored by VTS graduate Janice Hicks ‘17. Visit us at EpiscopalTeacher.org to discover other faces of Lifelong Learning!
This article first appeared in Episcopal Teacher: Winter 2019 Special Issue, page 3