by Christine Hides

This is the first of several posts on the value of CEF Communities of Practice (CoP’s). Communities are now forming in the member section of this website. Find yours today!

CEF membership and involvement in a Community of Practice impacts my life and ministry in significant ways. Over the past 5 years, connecting through CEF has provided me with support, encouragement, challenge, opportunities to partner in ministry, and faithful professional relationships. CEF feeds me! In addition, I have the honor of serving with our area CEF leadership team, exploring new ways to be a CoP, yet maintaining the personal connection as we treasure our time together to recharge, refuel and learn!!! 

As a Director of Christian Formation & Youth Ministry in a relatively large congregation with a small staff, the demands are many and I often feel isolated tending to the many details of weekly preparation not to mention long range planning. CEF connections offer a way to widen the pool of professionals who offer a plethora of best practices, creative ideas and an outlet to share the many concerns and questions that arise on any given day. I appreciate their deep commitment to the church and Christian Education/Youth Ministry.  I feel inspired by their hard work and faith not to mention a genuine desire to be life-long learners. We offer each other wise counsel and a sense of humor. Together, we generate wonderful ways to develop opportunities for faith formation across the generations. 

One opportunity (of many!), in particular, started almost 5 years ago pertaining to Confirmation. Several of my colleagues created an exciting retreat for confirmands and teenagers who had already been confirmed, but who could become leaders. The model was simple. The location would be a castle to generate curiosity. We developed our own theme and curriculum that was sparked by a speaker and scripture (Jeremiah 29:11) at the 2012 CEF conference in Green Lake, WI. 

I treasure CEF, its history, the people dedicated to the vision for Christian Education and prayer, and most of all, best practicesfor faith formation.

Catherine Inserra, CEF Member, Deaconess Candidate, and Children &Youth Director at Trinity UMC, Wilmette.