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Last month, Sharon Ely Pearson would have been the keynote speaker at the Diocese of Olympia’s annual faith formation mini-conference, Better Together. That event was cancelled, but thanks to Sharon and Zoom, we are able to share those remarks with you now through a recently recorded webinar.

Sharon Ely Pearson has worn many hats in the Episcopal Church, but you probably know her best as an author, blogger, educator, and faith formation cornerstone. Just retired as editor and Christian formation specialist with Church Publishing Incorporated, Sharon brings over 30 years of experience in Christian education for children, youth, and adults on the local, diocesan, and church-wide level.

In this presentation, Sharon uses her own family history over five generations to help explain how people’s needs for the church have changed and, symbiotically, how the church’s cultural and educational role has changed, all of which informs how we “form faith” today. She also introduces ideas for the future including the “VUCA World” model where the church plays a role in transforming volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity – much like we are experiencing at this very moment – into vision, understanding, clarity, and agility.

Please enjoy this thought-provoking presentation.

Sharon’s webinar was so wonderful to hear especially in these days of isolation. I am feeling grateful and hopeful having been included in this conversation. As a retired public school teacher, I really appreciated the historical aspect of Sharon’s presentation as it helped me understand where we are and how we got here. I know we have to “up our game” in terms of technology and social media to share the Good News, yet at the same time my heart desires to keep “church” as an oasis from all that “noise..”
Thank you for bringing this thoughtful conversation to us.

Suzanne Hierholzer, St. Andrew, Aberdeen

What was especially helpful for me was the last quarter of the presentation, especially in the current context we find ourselves. Saint Mark’s is already starting to plan for some of the ideas Sharon talked about (home altars, interactive Holy Week liturgies, etc.), and is was so good to hear her talk about those and affirm we are on the right track. I also really appreciated VUCA. Those feel so much like the right words to use right now as we name and reframe what this current context is. I’ll keep reflecting on those for a long time.

The Rev. Canon Cristi Chapman, Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle

Contact Valerie Reinke, Canon Mission for Faith Formation: 35 & Under, with any questions about this presentation.


Faith Formation in a Changing Church: A Better Together Webinar with Sharon Ely Pearson

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