"Youth, young adult, and formation ministries are slashed about 90%, from about $3 million to $286,000. No more EYE or national Episcopal youth events. No more children and youth ministries, and on and on..."In a way, this might not be a bad thing as we have seen little good theology come out of the national headquarters of this organization. The declining numbers of Sunday worshippers and the falling numbers of youth in the Episcopal church is a testimony to the failure of previous spending efforts.
Do you think the church will consider the following low-budget suggestion? Bible study: no DVDs, no guest speakers, no "revisioning" of the Word of God, just the straight truth?
I doubt it.
Just what kind of "Faith Formation" is going on right now under the old budget in your neck of the woods? Let me tell you a little bit about the goings on in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina...
Recently I read in our parish newsletter a note encouraging people to look to Camp Gravatt as a place for "Faith Formation." Our newsletter blurb sounds so lovely:
"Camp Gravatt is a faith-based, co-ed, residential camp located in Aiken County,
South Carolina. Platform tents and cabins that make up the campers' living area
are nestled among 260 acres of beautiful pine trees and hard woods, lakes and
Camp Gravatt is an affirming, Christian community where campers of all backgrounds
and ages make friends, learn responsibility, become leaders, and grow in
their understanding of themselves, their community, and their God-given gifts. Specially selected and trained staff members work to nurture and develop campers' self-esteem, rather than competitive expertise in a particular sport or skill.
Activities include archery, arts and crafts, campfire, canoeing, challenge course, environmental education, faith formation, fishing, hiking, music, recreational sports, swimming, worship and more!"
Arts Academy in the Woods
Creating a Talisman with Mary How
Thursday, September 20 4 - 6:30 PM
"A talisman is an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune. Explore the act of creating meaningful art with intention. Learn to set a personal intention or goal, and create a talisman that can help you align with that intention. Bring 2 - 3 personal items that can be incorporated into your art. The $35 fee includes materials, instructor's fee, and a light supper".Talismans are a new age rediscovery of an age old human tendency: attributing supernatural powers to inanimate objects.
Does that bother you at all?
Do you think they can pass along some of that good fortune to the "Faith Formation" budget?
How about the request to bring 2-3 personal items that can be incorporated into your talisman? That sounds more like witchcraft than "arts and crafts." Well, maybe they should file it under "dark arts and crafts."
I remember seeing a lot of those talisman thingies in Greece,
Yep, the old evil eye.
One can only look at the news to see how these things have helped Greece.
After checking my Bible, I have to rank talismen right up there with sacred poles, and I can't say that I can find anything good to say about talismen. Other than to acknowledge that there is a sucker born every minute, and a tourist trap around every corner in Athens.
Could these lucky charms stop this Diocese from going the way of the ancient Hebrews who time and time again fell for such evils?
First came the labyrinths, next came Solstice worshipping Druids, then came the fairy gardens, and now talismen. What next?
"Well, either you're closing your eyes
To a situation you do not wish to acknowledge
Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated
By the presence of a
(Thank you Meredith Willson)
My advice to all of you in River City is this: stop the labyrinths before you get druids and talismen because they all spell "Trouble, trouble, trouble..."
They really ought to put warning labels on these things like, "DANGER, DANGER, WILL ROBINSON," DON'T GO THERE!