Today, I’m a priest in the Episcopal Church and the mother of middle schoolers. But not long ago, I was a lay Christian educator in the Episcopal Church and the mother of elementary schoolers.
I’ve worked in churches my entire adult life. I knew about curricula and programs. I could organize volunteer Sunday school teachers. But I hadn’t been raised as a Christian myself.
I knew what to do with kids on Sunday morning at church. But I didn’t know what Christian families did at home. My husband hadn’t been raised in church either. We did the best we could, but I always felt l like we were missing something.
Then I stumbled upon mom blogs that focused on celebrating the liturgical year at home. I read stories and found ideas I could implement in our family’s life. There were simple craft projects to do and there were meals to make.
Most important, there was a different way of life made evident in the stories these blogs told. They demonstrated that the Christian faith is a path of love.
The more I read, the more I longed for an unabashedly Episcopalian venue where I could reflect on how to practice my faith at home. I wanted recipes for our liturgical calendar and rhythms that reflected our prayerbook. I wanted stories from other Episcopalians about how they were doing things.
What Bible were they reading with their child? How did they reflect on being a role model for the younger people in their church? How did they talk about faith with their teenager? I wanted a place where Episcopalians could talk to one another — using the internet – about how they practiced their faith day to day. I dreamed of a group blog for Episcopalians to share stories about practicing their faith at home. I longed for real stories from real people.
Now, Grow Christians is trying to be that place. As a partnership between Forward Movement, a respected ministry of The Episcopal Church, and Plainsong Farm, a new farm-based ministry in the Diocese of Western Michigan, we’re piloting this space during Lent 2016. (Update: the first phase pilot was warmly embraced by the church. Grow Christians continued throughout 2016 and is ongoing.)
I’m so excited to read the writers that will be featured on the site over the next couple of months. I want to learn from the reflections of a young adult starting an intentional community and a young father reflecting on praying with small children. I want to see what happens when a young adult and his mom — both highly active in the Episcopal Church — reflect on what made faith stick in their family life. I want some recipes that help me celebrate the saints, and I want some ideas for creating a space for prayer.
Most of all, I want the world to see and know that the Christian faith is a way of love and of life. That following Jesus leads to life abundant — not only in the hereafter, but in the daily round.
I ask your prayers and your honesty about Grow Christians. Comment in the comment fields. Make requests. Give us your email address so we can ask you how it worked when our Lent experiment is done. And most of all, please pray that together we can glorify God, whose presence working in us can do more than we can ask or imagine. Pray for more disciples living more deeply into our call from God.