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Episcopal Teacher

Episcopal Teacher is the newsletter of the Center for the Ministry of Teaching. Published quarterly, it features news, reviews, opinions, and other articles about faith formation in the Episcopal Church and beyond. It is edited by Dorothy Linthicum and Lisa Kimball.

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From Episcopal Teacher — Shutting down the Sunday school

FISH program logo from St. Andrew's.

1/14/2014

By Day Smith Pritchartt

What would you do if the families in your parish were exceptionally regular in their attendance at worship, but only a few were committed to church school; the well of prospective teachers was truly dry; you had a Vestry who was willing to take risks and try new things, and a Rector who had your back at all times and in all places; and the Center for the Ministry of Teaching’s Digital Missioner Kyle Oliver and Director Lisa Kimball dared you to try something different (and promised to help)?

What did we do? We shut down Sunday school. Let me clarify: We adopted a pilot program of online faith formation, and we suspended our Sunday morning classes. St. Andrew’s FISH program (Families Integrating Sunday and Home) began in September.

At the Forma Tapestry Conference in Albuquerque last winter, “The Church, Post-Sunday School” was a topic much discussed in workshops and after hours, including in my conversations with Kyle Oliver. Many of us struggled to discern whether the church school model had served its purpose in a changing church and world. I came home with a head full of ideas and the energy to try something new.

After attending the e-Formation Conference at Virginia Seminary last summer, I designed a website. Yes, you read that correctly; I’m middle-aged, amazing with email and Facebook, and that’s it. I set up my website using Weebly, with coaching from Kyle.

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