There is an unwritten rule in the world of Faith Formation for Adults that all programs or series must be offered before Easter because after that date, no one is much interested in attending adult programming. My experience couldn’t be further from that “truth!” I have found that most parishioners are still thirsty for learning about their faith -- even in the summer. With a little fine-tuning I believe that adult faith events offered in the late spring and summer can be just as successful as those offered throughout the school year. Below are some ways that you too can engage parishioners in faith formation beyond Easter Sunday:
Spring is a great time for field trips. Take adult parishioners to a nature preserve and talk about the ways God cares for all of creation. Or walk through a downtown cathedral or basilica and share lunch after at an outdoor restaurant.
The casual pace of summer lends itself to learning about and discussing the faith in a more laid-back atmosphere. Invite parishioners to a series of “Lemonade Learning” where you could tackle such topics as the Sabbath as Holy Rest or Bringing your Faith Along on Summer Vacation.
- Start a summer book club. Include books that are fun and relatively easy-to-read with good discussion points about the Catholic Faith. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd or Scarlet Music: Hildegard of Bingen by Joan Ohanneson.
- Offer a Summer Scripture Institute at your parish and welcome parishioners from surrounding churches. Our Institute is an intensive week where we offer three classes during the same week (at different times) so participants are engaged in learning about different topics related to the Sacred Scriptures throughout the week. It usually draws about 100 participants each summer.
- If your parish or Catholic school hosts a spring carnival, offer to join in the planning this year. You can have Catholic reading material available for adults and families or set up an “Ask the Expert” booth where you or your pastor field any and all questions related to the Catholic faith.
- Plan a morning retreat for moms. With the kids at home in the summer, many moms who do not work outside the home could use a break from the day-to-day routine. Offer a morning of prayer, relaxation and learning with child-care available for mom’s with very young children. Offer a speaker on such topics as Mary or women’s spirituality.
These are just some suggestions for year-round adult faith formation. A little planning and forethought will most likely lead you to many other ways that your parish could welcome and engage adult parishioners in the spring and summer. Be creative, branch out and see where the Holy Spirit leads you!