Throughout the latter half of 2018 and into 2019, formation leaders, staff, and clergy have been in an ongoing conversation about formation at St. Stephen’s with particular attention paid to youth and children’s formation. We are incredibly grateful for the patience and feedback of parents as we’ve taking the time this year to pray about, discuss, and consider formation for youth and children at St. Stephen’s. We are still praying and still discussing long term offerings to children, youth, and their families, but we have a formation plan for Lent and Easter.
During the season of Lent, we will gather for inter-generational formation focusing on Lenten themes and servant learning. Many parents who participated in the formation survey indicated a desire for their children and youth to have more opportunities to serve the Houston community. Our Lenten offerings will culminate in an inter-generational service opportunity both on campus and off campus through the help and leadership of our service committee.
On Easter day we will gather as a parish community to feast and celebrate the Resurrection with good food and, of course, the annual Easter egg hunt. Then, throughout the season of Easter, we will break into smaller groups based on age. Young children and their families will walk the Way of Love for Families, and youth (grade 4-12) will walk the Way of Love for youth. In this way we will share a common theme but each offering will focus on the needs that arise in our lives at different developmental stages. The Way of Love comes out of our national church and will be familiar to some adults in our parish who participate in the Way of Love Advent offering.
We will share plans for formation beyond the Easter season later this spring. For now, we invite you to engage our Lenten offerings and Easter offerings and give us feedback on your experience and that of the children or youth in your life. We also invite parents to pray and consider whether you might be called to step into the role of formation leader for a season or time at St. Stephen’s.