Young adult faith formation series features Saint John’s Bible
By Sue Schulzetenberg-Gully
Video cameras are rolling at St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary in Collegeville with the filming of a new faith formation series geared toward young adults.
So far, the school has filmed most of the short videos for six sessions of the new series, Connect Young Adults. It plans to continue to film and write material for another 19 sessions.
“A great deal of work has gone into this,” said Taylor Morgan, program director for Connect Young Adults and formation and outreach project coordinator for St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary. “To see the pieces come together, to hear young adults sharing personal faith stories, to hear the theologians reflecting on those stories and the themes within them, it’s been a humbling experience.”
Connect Young Adults is designed to help people ages 18-39 to build relationships with each other, the church and Christ. Its lesson plans are flexible but include videos of young adults’ stories and lessons from scholars and “lectio divina” (prayerful meditation on Scripture) with The Saint John’s Bible. There are also ideas for additional prayer, discussion and hospitality.
“Most parishes know they need to reach out to young adults. They know you have to incorporate all age groups, but they don’t know how,” Morgan said. “This program can help you do that. It provides a structure and a conversation starter.”
Four groups — St. Andrew Parish in Elk River, St. Michael Parish in St. Cloud, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Ore., and Reclaiming Christ in Life in the Archdiocese of Chicago — plan to pilot the series this spring. They will host at least three sessions and provide feedback for the SOT. The school is open to more parishes participating in the pilot study.
By summer, material for six sessions should be available for the public, and the other sessions will be released on a rolling basis, Morgan said.
Connect Young Adults focuses on six themes: baptism, relationship with Christ, participation in community, faith learning, call of discipleship and transformation of the world.
The themes are based on the Roman Catholic General Directory on Catechesis, and the information is based on Christian tradition, church documents, scholarship, Scripture, Catholic social teaching and personal experience. SOT is also drawing on relationships within the church and other organizations, including the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association, which it is consulting with, Morgan said.
Connect Young Adult materials can be used in a variety of ways. Ideally, Morgan said, the study would be offered in a church because the atmosphere would connect participants to the church. But it can be used in other settings.
He said the program is designed to connect young adults to Christ, church, peers and the Gospel mission as encouraged in the “Sons and Daughters of the Light” document on young adult ministry by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Materials can be purchased and then downloaded through the Internet. Group leaders can print copies. Videos can be streamed during sessions or downloaded beforehand, and materials can be purchased by the session.
For information about Connect Young Adults, contact Morgan at 320-363-3841 or visitwww.connectyoungadults.com.
Photo Sue Schulzetenberg-Gully/The Visitor
Benedictine Father Columba Stewart and Taylor Morgan, formation and outreach project coordinator at St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary, prepare to film a video for the Connect Young Adults faith formation series March 6 in Collegeville.