At the beginning of this year, I attended a formation conference with Joslyn Schaefer and Amy King. The conference, titled Do What Matters, and took place at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church. Those gathered for the conference represented many denominations. We were all there to unravel one thing: How can we form lifelong faith in our churches? We were introduced to a new term: “familying.” Familying denotes how we care for those in our world beyond our own nuclear families. “Familying” refers to how we participate in each other’s lives, how we encourage one other, how we support one another, and how we show up at crucial life moments. Familying used to happen in close-knit neighborhoods, civic organizations, and schools. But social research now shows that the only naturally occurring, inter-generational groups that consistently exist today are communities of faith. The only remaining place in my family’s world where my children encounter people of all ages and backgrounds is at church. We need each other. We are family.
This summer you have the chance to family during Vacation Bible School. Re-calibrate your thinking about VBS. It’s not the popsicle-stick, project-based VBS we all grew up with. This VBS centers around the study of saints’ lives as we travel around the world as pilgrims together. We all have much to learn about our faith. We all have much to learn about each other. Please join your family on August 3–7, 9:00 am–12:30 pm. Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to volunteer and for more information.
–Laurie Haynes Burling, Director of Children’s Formation