By Sue Cira

     The Home Life Network is here to support congregations in caring about each baptized child of God, as they seek to live out their faith.  Members are rostered clergy, deacons, and laypeople.  We welcome anyone who has a passion to provide resources to help with faith development. 

     As part of the monthly newsletter distributed by the synod, the group provides a page of information for parents, grandparents, teachers, or other faith-shapers.  Members of the group take turns writing the material for the newsletter.  It is always printed on pink paper which makes it easy to find and make copies to distribute to congregation members.   

See the December Living Faith @Home.

Some months we contribute a column on the pertinent holiday or season occurring that month.  This may contain an explanation or reason for that celebratory event.  Other items that are published in that issue consists of activities to reinforce the teaching moments of that event.  For example, the November issue was comprised of an article about Advent and giving thanks to God.  The activity included was about participating in a serving way each day of Advent.      

     Other months the contribution includes educational writing.  For example, the past July/August issue contained a module on the small catechism and how it was originally meant to be a primer to help equip parents in sharing faith at home around the dinner table.   This was a wonderful resource for embracing the purpose of the network in providing support for “faith at home” development.  
     Frequently the church has been expected to be the source of faith formation and teaching but with the use of the newsletters our group sends out, faith can be initiated at home.  Following the examples given in the newsletter, a single person or a family can read through the articles and engage in the activities.  By doing so, the family, or any other people around, can exhibit a strengthened faith being modeled.  Those who are present are able to see parents, grandparents or other people exhibit their faith and copy them.  This method of picking up on routinely practiced faith habits is emphasized by the network’s belief that faith is caught more than it is taught.   

Children are great imitators of both good and bad behaviors so supplying them the faith examples you want them to emulate will impart the foundation needed for their life.   

Many people imitate behaviors and practice what they see without realizing it’s becoming embedded in their memory and, therefore, contributes to their faith life.  Whose faith are you shaping on your life journey?

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Sue Cira is a TEEM leader serving at Immanuel Crane Creek, Lawler, and Zion, Alta Vista.  She is the Facilitator for the Northeastern Iowa Synod Home Life Network.

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.